Measures of IP 5 in Wake of Coronavirus Crisis

China Intellectual Property Magazine,[Patent]

 

Facing with the Covid-19 pandemic, services and systems of global IP offices are continuing mainly online and remote work are prioritized. China IP collates the recent measures and policies of WIPO, CNIPA, EUIPO, USPTO, KIPO and JPO.
 
WIPO
 
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, WIPO's operations have continued at near-full capacity even as staff move to remote work. To help the public understand the effects of the pandemic on WIPO’s operations, the Organization unveiled a new dashboard that allows member state representatives and other stakeholders to view the evolution of WIPO’s global IP services and its financial performance on a month‑by‑month basis.
The Organization has also launched a new search functionality for its global patent database, PATENTSCOPE, to facilitate the location and retrieval of information contained in published patent documents that may be useful for innovators developing new technologies to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
WIPO on May 5 launched a new tool that tracks COVID-19 related intellectual property (IP) policy changes or other measures being implemented by WIPO member states in their response to the global pandemic. This is the latest in a series of measures taken by the Organization in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The COVID-19 IP Policy Tracker is an information repository that will help all stakeholders navigate changes implemented by the worldwide IP community as it adjusts to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said WIPO Director General Francis Gurry.
Many national and regional IP offices are implementing measures to assist applicants and owners of IP rights, for example by providing extensions of time or grace periods for fee payments.
In addition, a number of member states have or are considering special measures such as compulsory licenses, should potentially relevant products and technologies be identified. Many in the private sector are implementing voluntary measures to assist and a multitude of technology and projects are ongoing.
With an initial group of a dozen countries, the COVID-19 IP Policy Tracker will be updated regularly. It is freely accessible through a database interface.
 
CNIPA
 
On February 6, CNIPA published the Answers to Matters Concerning the Time Limits for Trademark Business Handling Due to the Novel Coronavirus Outbreak (hereinafter referred to as the Answers) on its website, specifying related matters for clients.
The Answers specifies that, for trademark-related businesses like trademark supplement and correction, reply to examination comments, trademark fee payment, provision of proof for use for applications on the same day and reply of negotiation, provision of proof for cancellation of registered trademark for non-use for three consecutive years, application, reply and additional evidence for trademark oppositions, retrial of refused trademark and retrial of invalidation, and trademark-related matters like reply to request for invalidation and additional evidence, if the client fails to do them within the legal or specified time limit due to the epidemic, related time limit shall be suspended since the date when client begins to be hospitalized or isolated after being infected with the novel coronavirus pneumonia or the date when trademark businesses can’t be handled normally in the place where the client is located due to the prevention and control measures, until the date when the infected client is discharged from hospital or the isolation ends, or the date when the local place resumes work and management and control on people ends.
The Answers also specifies that, when handling the above trademark businesses, clients shall also submit the written application for the suspension of the applicable time limit, which is supposed to specify the place where the client is located during the epidemic, barrier to exercise of right and date of elimination, with corresponding evidentiary materials being attached. The evidentiary materials shall include the time limit of infection and treatment, isolation or control, except the public notice on postponement of resuming work issued by local government. To lighten the burden of clients affected by the epidemic, for multiple similar applications for suspension of time limit for the same reason, only one copy of the evidentiary materials needs to be submitted, and it shall be submitted together with one of the cases. And for other cases, only the application number of the case to which the evidentiary materials are enclosed needs to be indicated in the application for suspension of the applicable time limit.  
In a bid to boost scientific research on epidemic prevention and control and provide sophisticated and timely information service for users from home and abroad, under the guidance of China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA) organized its affiliated China Patent Information Center (CNPAT) and Patent Examination Cooperation (Beijing) Center of the Patent Office in developing the English version of the information-sharing platform for patents on epidemic prevention against COVID-19 (website: https://ncp.patentstar.cn/en/) based on the original one. The English version was launched on April 20.
 
EUIPO
 
The EUIPO is committed to supporting its users during the COVID-19 pandemic, both here in the EU and around the world. The Office remains open for business, and continues to receive and process trademark and design applications and work as normally as possible during the current situation.
Cooperation work with national and regional EU IP offices, international partners, stakeholders and other partners also continues at this time.
The Executive Director of the EUIPO authorised the activation of the Office’s business continuity protocol, with the effect that as and from Monday 16 March, all EUIPO staff will work from home. This is done to protect the health and safety of staff, stakeholders and the wider community.
Measures have been implemented to ensure an uninterrupted service for users; as far as possible under the circumstances, business at the EUIPO continues as usual. Trademark and design applications will continue to be received, examined and published, and the Office will continue to send communications and set deadlines. Bulletins will continue to be published as usual.
On 18 May 2020, the exceptional extensions granted to users by two decisions of the Executive Director of the EUIPO (Decision No EX-20-3 and Decision No EX-20-4) come to an end.
The extensions began on 9 March, to support users during the COVID-19 pandemic, and covered all procedural deadlines, irrespective of whether they had been set by the Office or were stipulated in the Regulations. The extensions had automatic effect.
Although the scope of both Decisions ends on 18 May, the Office has provided users with further guidance on the regular means of coping with time limits stipulated in the applicable Regulations, in case they still face operational difficulties in view of the pandemic arising from measures taken by public authorities against the pandemic, or sickness of the party and / or their representative, etc.
 
USPTO
 
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) today announced extensions to the time allowed to file certain patent and trademark-related documents and to pay certain required fees. These actions are an exercise of temporary authority provided to the USPTO by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) signed by President Trump on March 27.
Pursuant to Subsection 12004(a) of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and 37 C.F.R. § 1.183, and in response to the requests from stakeholders, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is extending the time period for petitioning for certain rights of priority or benefit in a patent application and waiving the associated petition fee.
The relief extends the two-month time-period for restoring the right of priority to or benefit of a foreign or provisional application for any nonprovisional application due to be filed on or after March 27, 2020, but on or before July 30, 2020.
 
KIPO
 
KIPO provides support measures for applicants affected by Covid-19
Joining a nationwide effort to limit the spread and impact of the Covid-19, the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO) announced measures to support its applicants and users in South Korea affected by the Covid-19.
According to the announcement, the measures include a grant of deadline extension for applicants who have failed to comply with the statutory time limits for submitting documents or paying fees to KIPO, for any reasons relating to the coronavirus. Affected applicants will be asked to submit a relief measure request or a statement of payment, together with an explanatory statement and evidential materials.
Specifically, the registry is offering to financially support companies affected by the virus and those helping to tackle it (through vaccine development, prevention and diagnosis). On top of that, the registry has pledged to “improve the examination and review process of patents, trademarks, and designs” and especially conduct “prompt examination” of any patents linked to the coronavirus. Finally, the KIPO is conducting “emergency monitoring” on counterfeit goods that could impede the recovery and health of citizens at risk of the virus. “These measures are what the patent office can take right now to respond to CO-19,” commented KIPO president Won Joo Park. “We will concentrate all our capabilities to protect the health and safety of our citizens and minimise the damage to our companies.”
KIPO also asks its customers to use its online services and phone interviews and avoid making physical visits to examiners and/or administrative judges, to prevent a possible spread of the coronavirus.
 
JPO
 
Japan Patent Office (JPO) remains open for all procedures, including electronic filings.
As preventive measures of COVID-19 at our office, alcohol disinfectant is placed at the reception desk, and our staff members wear masks.
For all the visitors, we ask for your understanding and cooperation in preventing the spread of COVID-19 by washing your hands frequently and observing coughing manners.
 
Applications and Trials/Appeals Pending at the JPO:
I. Designated Time Limits
If you are not able to carry out procedures for applications or trials/appeals pending at the JPO within the designated time limits due to the COVID-19 coronavirus, please attach a document explaining the circumstances that prevented you from carrying out the procedures. By doing so, the procedures will be considered to be valid even after the designated time limits expired if it is found to be necessary.
II. Statuary Time Limits
If you are unable to carry out certain procedures due to the COVID-19 coronavirus within the procedural periods specified by laws or governmental and ministerial ordinances, you can carry out the procedures only within the relief period.
In conducting the procedures, please attach a document explaining the circumstances that prevented you from conducting the procedures due to the COVID-19 coronavirus. When the JPO recognizes the necessity, the procedures will be considered to be valid.
1. Procedures to which relief measures can be applied by carrying out procedures within 14 days
It mainly involves the application of the application for the loss of novelty exception, the submission of priority documents, the submission of divisions, the request for extension of the patent period, the rejection of the request for review and the payment of the registration fee.
2. Procedures to which relief measures can be applied when conducting prescribed procedures within two months
It mainly involves the submission of Japanese translations, substantive examination requests and trademark renewal.
3. Priority claim
Please be sure to carry out procedures within two months from the expiration of the period you can file an application with a priority claim.
4. International applications under the Patent Cooperation Treaty
Please carry out procedures as soon as it becomes available. Please note, however, that this is limited to within six months after the lapse of the prescribed period.

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