EPO extends deadlines until 4 May 2020 in response to COVID-19

The EPO has announced an extension of the extraordinary measures it previously put in place in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Last month, the EPO announced that all deadlines would be extended to 17 April 2020 (IPKat here). In view of the continuing crisis, the EPO has now issued a Notice that deadlines falling after 15 March 2020 will be extended until 4 May 2020 (Rule 134 EPC).

Kat in lock-down
The Notice acknowledges that "since the general dislocation due to the pandemic continues in the Federal Republic of Germany, there is a need to further extend the periods". The previous Notice identified regions that the EPO considered "high risk" with respect to COVID-19. The most recent Notice acknowledges that the crisis now has no borders: "As of 10 April 2020 countries and regions are no longer classified as international risk areas. Due to pandemic spread, there is a global risk of acquiring COVID-19".

Following the previous Notice, there were reports that the extension would not apply to the deadline for paying renewal fees. The EPO issued a clarifying notice on 30 March 2020 that the extension does apply to renewal fee due dates (point 5). However, the clarification also confirmed that some critical deadlines are not extended by the Notice, in particular the deadlines for filing a divisional application (Article 76 EPC) and for making a written submission before oral proceedings (Rule 116 EPC).

Oral proceedings held at the Boards of Appeal have been suspended until 30 April 2020, as have all Examining Division and Opposition Division oral proceedings unless previously confirmed to have been converted to oral proceedings via video-conference (Decision of the EPO President). It seems likely that these suspensions will also be extended.

The EPO has a continually updating page for all EPO COVID-19 news.

Image credit: Val D’Aquila
EPO extends deadlines until 4 May 2020 in response to COVID-19 EPO extends deadlines until 4 May 2020 in response to COVID-19 Reviewed by Rose Hughes on Friday, April 17, 2020 Rating: 5

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