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Intellectual property and coronavirus

In this section you'll find information and updates related to coronavirus that are relevant to the law on intellectual property.

The UK's response to coronavirus is changing regularly and often very quickly. While we'll continue to make every effort to keep this page up to date, there may be short periods where what you read here is not the latest information available. Where possible we've tried to provide links to official sources, so you can check the current situation.

Timescale changes

The IPO has declared that, until 29 July 2020, all days from 24 March 2020 onwards will be considered 'interrupted days'.

This means that any deadlines that fall on an interrupted day will be extended until 30 July 2020. This includes:

  • Patents
  • Supplementary protection certificates
  • Trade marks and designs, and
  • Applications for these rights.

This applies to all time periods set out in the various relevant UK Acts and rules, and to all non-statutory periods that have been specified by staff.

It does not apply to time periods set out under the various international IP treaties, e.g. the Patent Cooperation Treaty, European Patent Convention, or the Madrid system.

This period of interruption does not affect filing dates of IP applications that are filed at the IPO and do not claim priority from a previous application. These will be assigned a filing date under the usual rules.

This page also includes information about other alterations to the IPO's services, including links to information on alterations to services for specific rights.

In March 2020, the Executive Director of the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) issued an automatic extension of all EU trade mark and Community design time limits expiring between 9 March and 20 April 2020, until 1 May 2020. This deadline was subsequently extended to 18 May 2020. Following the expiry of the automatic extension, EUIPO has published guidance on how it'll deal with requests for extensions.

What is the law guide

The Desktop Lawyer law guide aims to present the law to you in a comprehensive yet jargon-free and easy-to-read format. Our law guide is constantly kept up to date with changes in business and family law by our team of in house solicitors, and includes information across all the legal jurisdictions in the UK.

Our law guide is free to use. Where we provide documents related to this area of law, or where they may help you with any legal issue in this area, they will be listed to the right of this message.