COVID-19 - a note to our clients

In light of the global situation surrounding novel coronavirus (COVID-19), Dehns acknowledges the increasing disruptions and anxiety caused by the outbreak.  We extend our gratitude to those working to mitigate the effects of the virus and our sympathies to all who are being personally affected.

We wish to reassure you that Dehns remains fully operational and will continue to provide our full range of services.  The vast majority of our staff are now working remotely, in line with the most recent advice of the UK and German governments, while maintaining the same levels of professional services and availability at all times.  We have robust IT systems and all our files are held electronically on replicated databases at multiple locations.  We therefore do not anticipate any disruption to our services.

For any correspondence that cannot be sent to us by email (e.g. original documents), please contact your usual Dehns attorney to seek guidance on where to deliver that correspondence.

Our relationship with our clients is very important to us and we are keen to keep in regular contact.  As well as using email correspondence we are happy to talk by telephone or video conference.

We do not anticipate any difficulties in dealing with any of the national or regional patent and trademark offices to secure clients’ intellectual property rights.  As the situation develops we will continue to adopt a flexible approach in response to the changing environment and the needs of our clients.

Several national and regional patent and trademark offices have issued changes to their practice in light of the disruption caused by the coronavirus.  In particular, in many cases deadlines are being extended. 

The UK Intellectual Property Office (UK IPO) update:

The UK IPO has made a declaration of a period of interrupted days and has declared 24 March 2020 and subsequent days until further notice to be interrupted days. This declaration means that any deadlines for patents, trade marks, designs and supplementary protection certificates (SPCs), and applications for these rights, which fall on an interrupted day will be extended to the next non-interrupted day.

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 UK IPO staff.

It does not apply to time periods set out under the various international IP treaties, for example, the Patent Cooperation Treaty, European Patent Convention, or the Madrid system for International Registration of Trade Marks, where the UK IPO  may be acting as a Receiving Office. 

This period of interruption does not affect filing dates of patent, trade mark, design or SPC applications which are filed at the UK IPO and do not claim priority from a previous application. 

The UK IPO will review the situation again on 17 April 2020, at which time they will either continue with the period of interruption or announce that the period will end after a further two weeks.

The most relevant updates that affect filings in Europe include the following:

The EPO has confirmed an extension of time through to 17 April 2020 for all time limits (deadlines) set by the EPO (including those for international applications) expiring on or after 15 March 2020. In addition, all hearings before the EPO scheduled before 17 April 2020, which are not already confirmed to take place by video conferencing, have been cancelled.

A decision has been made by the EUIPO to extend all time limits (deadlines) expiring between 9 March 2020 and 30 April 2020, to 1 May 2020.

Please be advised we will continue working to current deadlines and advise all clients to do the same as long as it is possible to do so.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding our business continuity plans or any of your cases, please contact your usual Dehns attorney or mail us at mail@dehns.com.