The Intellectual Property Office (IPO) has ended its 'interrupted days' provisions and is now working to its usual deadlines. The IPO introduced extended deadlines, known as interrupted days, on 24 March 2020 as a result of the Coronavirus outbreak. An 'interrupted day' is defined as a day in which the normal course of business at the IPO is not possible. This meant that most deadlines for patents, supplementary protection certificates, trademarks, designs and applications for these rights, which fell on an interrupted day were extended.
Following the IPO’s latest review, the first normal day of operation when all interrupted days deadlines expire was 30 July 2020. The IPO has also announced that it is working on measures to ease burdens on business following the end of the period of interruption.
This includes the following temporary fee changes from 30 July 2020 to 31 March 2021 in relation to patents, Supplementary Protection Certificates (SPCs), trademarks and registered designs:
- fees for extensions of time will be zero
- there will be no surcharge for payment of a patent application fee after the date of filing
- fees to apply for reinstatement and restoration will be zero
- for patents and designs, there will be no surcharge for payment of a late renewal fee
- for trademarks, the surcharge for payment of a late renewal fee will be £1
- there will be no additional fee for late payment of SPC fees
The deadlines for completing actions, requesting extensions of time and paying fees are not affected by these fee changes and must still be complied with. There will also be continued alterations to hearings and Company Names Tribunal’s services.