Feeling Good: The EPO discounts fees for micro-entities
The European Patent Office has announced a new scheme that reduces fees for ‘micro-entities’.
Two months since the EPO and EUIPO exercised their powers to extend deadlines due to the disruption caused by the COVID-19 virus outbreak in Europe, we bring you an update on the extensions that are available.
On 15 May 2020, the EPO announced that periods expiring on or after 15 March 2020 are further extended until 2 June 2020.
This also applies to certain deadlines in respect of international patent applications under the PCT.
It is worth noting that the wording of the Notice in the EPO Official Journal refers to ‘periods expiring’. Under the EPC, some deadlines are not considered to be periods, such as for example, the deadline to file a divisional patent application which must be filed prior to grant of the parent. Therefore, whilst ‘periods’ will be extended, certain deadlines for actions will not be extended.
Actions required before national offices in relation to European patents, such as validation, may be extended under the respective national laws, but these may vary from country to country.
This period may be extended further if the situation remains ongoing. If this is to occur a further notification will be published.
Oral proceedings before examining divisions are to be held by videoconference. Oral proceedings in opposition will be postponed until 2 June 2020 unless they have already been rescheduled as video conferences. The EPO is piloting the ability to conduct oral proceedings by video conference to opposition proceedings. However, any party that wishes to utilise video conferencing for opposition proceedings will need to file a specific request in each individual case.
On 18 May 2020, the extension of time limits for all deadlines from 9 March 2020 to 17 May 2020 ended. However, extensions of time may still be available under existing rules and we can advise on a case by case basis.
Please contact us if you have any concerns relating to any deadline before the EPO or EUIPO.