Last updated: Monday 4th May 2020
On Friday 1 May 2020 the EPO published a further notice to confirm that all periods expiring on or after 15 March 2020 are extended to 2 June 2020. The EPO may further extend this period upon publication of a further notice.
However, do note that this does not apply to all deadlines under the EPC.
Does this extension start right now?
Yes. We have had email confirmation from the EPO that the "publication" is the online publication of the notice on 15 March 2020, i.e. not the subsequent date of publication in the EPO Official Journal.
Does this mean that all deadlines under the EPC are extended?
No. It is important to understand that this does not apply to all deadlines under the EPC. This only applies to periods set under the EPC. For example, for pending patent applications these include periods set under the following provisions:
- Art 94(3) (Examination report)
- Rule 58 (Correction of deficiencies in the application documents)
- Rule70 (Request for examination)
- Rule 70a (Response to the extended European search report)
- Rule 70b (Request for a copy of search results)
- Rule 71(3) (Request to approve the papers for grant and pay grant and printing fees)
Is the deadline for filing a divisional application extended?
No. Rule 36(1) EPC says that "(1) The applicant may file a divisional application relating to any pending earlier European patent application." Therefore, Rule 36(1) EPC sets a condition for filing a divisional application, and not a period for filing the application (see e.g. decision J 0019/10 at Reasons 7). Therefore, you still need to get divisional applications filed before the date of grant of the parent application.
If you need specific assistance with filing a divisional application then please contact us. For example, it is possible to file divisional applications without payment of official fees and without claims - this can be helpful when you do not have final instructions to file the divisional application or where you do not know which invention/claims to pursue.
Is the deadline for payment of renewal fees extended?
Yes. Both the initial deadline for payment of the renewal fee, as well as the six-month grace period, are extended until 2 June 2020. The EPO has also announced that, from 1 June 2020, surcharges payable on renewals in the six-month grace period will be waived until 31 August 2020.
Rule 51 EPC sets the provisions for payment of renewal fees, including the deadline for payment. Although a deadline is set, it is the end of a period (decision J 0004/91 at Reasons 3.2; J 0020/00 at Reasons 5.1). Therefore, it is extended under this notice from the EPO.
Is the deadline for filing Euro(PCT) applications extended?
Yes. The 31 month deadline for filing Euro(PCT) applications is the end of a 31 month period (Rule 159 EPC), and so is extended under this notice from the EPO.
Although most EPO deadlines are extended by this current notice, it does not apply to all deadlines set by the EPO. If you have any questions then please get in touch with your usual Wynne-Jones contact.
The best intentions
Banksy can draw. We know that.
He can also lose. In his book, Wall and Piece, Banksy famously said that “copyright is for losers” because of the difficulties he has experienced trying to enforcing copyright in his works.
But does he know how to win? Apparently not, given his losing streak in recent, well publicised trade mark cases...
Wynne-Jones IP launch a team dedicated to helping designers
Full-service intellectual property law firm, Wynne-Jones IP, has formed a new, dedicated Designs Team to help designers, content creators and innovators get expert advice in an often overlooked and much under-used area of intellectual property.
Wynne-Jones IP supports Mental Health Awareness Week
Wynne- Jones IP are proud to support Mental Health Awareness Week which takes place from Monday 10th May to Sunday 16th May 2021.
The Coronavirus pandemic has created new global challenges with many people suffering from increased stress and anxiety. Wynne-Jones IP are making a real effort to ensure staff feel supported and making both physical and mental wellness a priority.
Two salesman, a start-up company and the greatest medical invention of all time
The history of the now commonplace device is a rich tapestry of scientific minds, a desire to explore the unknown and relieve human suffering, an architect, and a drunken dog. But it was two salesman and a start-up company that made the greatest medical invention of all time accessible to the masses and paved the way for vaccination programmes, like the one we see in the fight against Covid-19 today, to be rolled out in large scales.