Consequences of COVID – 19 on offices and courts

18.03.2020 |

The current global pandemic and the countermeasures it has entailed have far reaching consequences that also affect intellectual property law. Concrete ramifications may especially arise with the national and international patent offices. As of today (03/18/2020) the situation presents itself as follows:


German Patent and Trademark Office (DPMA)


The service counters, information centers and research rooms remain closed until further notice.

Fundamentally, the DPMA is still working and processing all requests and submissions.

The current situation will be taken into account when considering all IP procedures before the DPMA. This applies especially to granting time extensions on deadlines set by the DPMA. However, the DPMA cannot grant extensions on deadlines specified by law.

The option for re-establishment of rights after a missed deadline is still available. Any person who misses a deadline due to the current public-health situation and through no fault of their own can have their procedure reestablished upon request.


European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO)


The EUIPO has activated its business continuity protocol. All EUIPO staff currently works from home.

As far as possible, business at the EUIPO will nonetheless continue uninterrupted. All submissions will continue to be processed.

The Executive Director has enacted an extension for deadlines that affect all parties before the office between 09 March 2020 and 30 April 2020 until 01 May 2020. In practice, this means that all deadlines have been extended until 04 May 2020, since Friday 01 May is a public holiday.


World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)


Access to the Geneva headquarters of the WIPO has been restricted to essential personnel. All other personnel now work from home according to the WIPO’s business continuity protocol.

So far, business continues as usual with all submissions and applications being processed.


German Courts


The German Courts currently have no uniform practice to deal with the situation. Some courts have restricted visitor access or reduced their hours. It is advisable to inform yourself shortly before any potential court proceedings and, if necessary, to contact the specific court or judge directly.


Your HPR Team