We hope this message finds you in good health. We previously informed you about the precautionary measures that we introduced in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. As a consequence, our office now operates in ’home-office mode’.
This means that most of our staff members are working from home, where they have fast and secure remote connections to V.O.’s network. Some colleagues occasionally visit the office to process physical mail, while following strict health regulations. Please rest assured that we will do everything possible to ensure ‘business as usual’ and that we continue to duly serve your IP matters and interests.
Extension of EPO terms
In view of the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 outbreak, the European Patent Office (EPO) has officially announced that several terms expiring on or after 15 March have been extended until 17 April 2020. Note that not all terms have been automatically extended; for instance, the terms for filing a divisional application and a response in preparation of oral proceedings are not extended. Moreover, filing further applications claiming priority of an earlier application should be done within the original priority term in order to avoid the risk of losing the priority date in any jurisdictions. The extension provided by the European Patent Office should thus be seen as an additional safety net in case it becomes impossible to meet a deadline due to exceptional circumstances. Therefore, it is our policy to adhere to the original deadlines to avoid future issues / bottlenecks.
If you are facing challenges in providing us with timely instructions, please contact your V.O. patent attorney. We can also advise you about possible extensions and remedies available from patent offices outside Europe.
In a recent decision by the German Constitutional Court, it was held that the UPC agreement cannot be ratified without a 2/3 majority of the German Parliament. This ruling, following the earlier decision of the United Kingdom to refrain from participating in the UPC, creates further uncertainly as to the future of the UPC and will in any event delay its introduction. Read more about the new European Patent System in our UP-UPC dossier.
Wishing you all the best,