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Olivier Vrins

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Updated on Thursday 4 June 2020 -8pm

On 16 March 2020, the Executive Director of the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) issued Decision No EX-20-3 extending all time limits expiring between 9 March 2020 and 30 April 2020, that affect all parties before the Office, to 1 May 2020. On 29 April 2020, he issued Decision No EX-20-4 extending all time limits expiring between 1 May 2020 and 17 May 2020 until 18 May 2020.

This extension applies to all “procedural deadlines irrespective of whet-her they have been set by the Office or are statutory in nature”, thus including the opposition term, filing of appeals, renewal requests and rights of priority. The terms of the Decision have been clarified by the EUIPO on a dedicated page.

The extension does not apply to the time limits for appealing decisions of the Boards of Appeal to the General Court!

The new deadlines will not be communicated to the parties on a case-by-case basis.

This exceptional measure has been taken under Article 101(4) of Regulation (EU) 2017/1001 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 June 2017 on the European Union trade mark (EUTMR) and Article 58(4) of Commission Regulation (EC) 2245/2002 of 21 October 2002 implementing Council Regulation (EC) 6/2002 of 12 December 2001 on Community Designs (as amended). It is based on the recognition of the coronavirus virus outbreak as a pandemic by the World Health Organization, which constitutes an exceptional occurrence that has disrupted proper communication between the EUIPO and parties worldwide.  

The EUIPO had previously extended deadlines for Chinese parties.

On 15 May 2020, the EUIPO has published a Guidance note on the end of the extension of time limits as from 19 May 2020. The comprehensive note covers:

  • The extension of time limits in ex parte and inter partes proceedings (Article 68 EUTMDR and Article 57 CDIR)
  • The suspension of proceedings (Article 71 EUTMDR)
  • The continuation of proceedings (Article 105 EUTMR)
  • The Restitutio in Integrum (Article 104 EUTMR and Article 67 CDR).

The EUIPO will also publish updates on its COVID-19 web page on a regular basis.

Do not hesitate to contact Olivier Vrins for further information.

The above information is merely intended as comment on relevant issues of Belgian law and is not intended as legal advice. Before taking action or relying on the comments and the information given, please seek specific advice on the matters that are of concern to you.

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