Today the EUIPO announced an end to the automatic extension of time limits in light of COVID19, meaning a number of deadlines will now fall on Monday 18 May 2020.
Whilst most UKIPO deadlines remain suspended, the EUIPO's decision reflects the general shift towards businesses resuming closer to normal activities, although a return to life before the pandemic remains some way off. The UKIPO will offer two weeks’ notice before bringing their period of automatic extension to an end but the EUIPO’s decision is more sudden. Whilst it was known that deadlines were only extended until 18 May, with the ongoing lockdown many may have expected, or hoped, further time to have been allowed.
If this announcement causes difficulties in meeting deadlines, it may be possible to request an extension of time. Generally the EUIPO will grant the first request for an extension. Further extensions beyond this would normally have been refused but the EUIPO have offered a ray of light. The EUIPO's announcement indicates that a second extension to a time limit may be permissible in certain circumstances and specifically states that difficulties arising from COVID-19 do constitute exceptional circumstances.
For any IP deadlines, it is always worth checking whether it has been automatically extended before expiry, and still to meet that original deadline where possible to keep matters moving.
Please do contact us if you would like further advice.
On 18 May 2020, the exceptional extensions granted to users by two decisions of the Executive Director of the EUIPO (Decision No EX-20-3 and Decision No EX-20-4) come to an end.