In this article, we discuss the impact on the COVID-19 outbreak on intellectual property.
Intellectual property ("IP") contracts
Legal proceedings on IP
All Dutch courts will be closed from 17 March 2020 onward. Urgent cases will continue; however, it is presumed that most if not all intellectual property procedures will not qualify as urgent. It is therefore safe to assume that most if not all court hearings and requests in infringement cases will be postponed and/or scheduled on a later date during the COVID-19 outbreak.
For deadlines in IP proceedings before Dutch Courts we refer to the Litigation COVID-19 update. (uploaded soon)
Deadlines in proceedings before IP Offices
The relevant European offices for trademarks, designs and patent registrations have announced to extend deadlines regarding proceedings for parties and their representatives. Below, the updated deadlines are outlined for the Benelux Office for Intellectual Property ("BOIP"), the European Union Intellectual Property Office ("EUIPO") and the European Patent Office ("EPO").
The BOIP will not withdraw any requests or proceedings because a given deadline was not respected. Furthermore, after the social restrictions have been lifted in the Benelux countries, an additional period of one month shall be given for expired deadlines, or deadlines of less than one month. BOIP will in due course set a date for the one-month additional period.
The EUIPO has communicated a decision in which it extends all deadlines of parties in proceedings before the EUIPO that expire between 9 March 2020 and 30 April 2020 inclusive. The deadlines are extended until 1 May 2020.
The EPO has announced that deadlines that expire on or after 15 March 2020 will be extended until 17 April 2020. This also applies to international patent applications under the Patent Cooperation Treaty.