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Anjum Shabbir
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16th March 2020
Consumer, Health & Environment Covid-19 Data, Tech & IP

EU Intellectual Property Office: measures to deal with coronavirus outbreak

Another EU Agency, the EU Intellectual Property Office, has also announced changes to its working practices as a result of the international pandemic caused by the coronavirus outbreak.

The EUIPO is based in Alicante, Spain, where a nationwide ‘state of alarm’ or ‘state of emergency’ has been imposed by Royal Decree 463/2020. The decree came into effect recently on Saturday 14 March 2020 and prohibits Spanish citizens and residents from leaving their homes, unless they are travelling to buy food, medicine, or go to work.

In consideration of the circumstances, the Executive Director of the EUIPO has authorised all staff to telework from today onwards, has cancelled all scheduled events that were to take place at its premises, and has closed its headquarters until further notice.

Apart from those measures, the EUIPO announces that business will continue as usual: trademark and design applications can still be sent to the EUIPO and will be received, examined, and published. The EUIPO will also continue to send communications and set deadlines, and publish Bulletins. The Information Centre and Second Line will continue to operate as normal to receive queries by phone or email.

However, recognising that the international pandemic is an ‘exceptional occurrence’ under Article 101(4) of the Trademark Regulation, that ‘interrupts or interferes with proper communication’ between parties to proceedings and the EUIPO, it has made one exception to that ‘business as usual’ approach: ‘all time limits expiring between 9 March 2020 and 30 April 2020 inclusive …. are extended to 1 May 2020’. The decision of the Executive Director extending time limits can be viewed here.

Like the Community Plant Variety Office, the EUIPO has a monitoring committee that is closely following the situation in consultation with the relevant bodies and authorities, including the European Commission and EU agencies.

Read the press release here.

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