Impact of COVID-19 on IP

As the governments of almost all the countries scramble to prevent and control the worsening trend of COVID- 19 crisis, we are left to sit and speculate as to what extent industries, sectors will suffer and turn up to measures to combat it and thus, talking about Industries and sectors The intellectual property has not been spared either. To respond to this worsening situation, intellectual property offices have taken steps to reduce the impact of work from home orders may have on Intellectual Property operations, functioning as well as on Intellectual Property Practitioners. These steps comprise of Extension of deadlines with regards to prosecution of patents, trademarks, and copyrights.

IMPACT ON PATENTS AND TRADEMARKS: 

  • On March 31, 2020, the USPTO issued two new directives, Firstly, a Notice of Waiver of Patent-Related Timing Deadlines under the CARES Act and Secondly, a Notice of Waiver of Trademark-Related Timing Deadlines under the CARES Act. Practitioners should not assume these Waivers will apply to their matters as the danger of losing one’s IP rights still lurks in the details.
  • All relaxations provided by the USPTO is available only to parties who are materially affected by the outbreak with regards to timely filing or payment. The USPTO has published and released guidelines explaining that it consists of situations where the filer, attorney or other person associated with the filing is “personally affected” by the outbreak, which includes, but is not limited to, “office closures, cash flow interruptions, inaccessibility of files or other materials, travel delays, personal or family illness, or similar circumstances.
  • Apart from reliefs provided to the people being materially impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak, several IP deadlines remain unchanged Such as the statutory one-year bar to patentability under 35 U.S.C. § 102 remains fully in force. This also includes deadlines to claim priority to a foreign patent application through the Patent Cooperation Treaty, remain unaffected.

IMPACT ON COPYRIGHT:

  • It permitted the three-month window after the first publication to seek and recover statutory damages and attorney fees may be extended on showing and reasoning that the deadline would have been met “but for the national emergency.” Besides, due to the closure of building’s, physical deposits may be temporarily examined electronically.

STEPS TAKEN IN INDIA:

  • On 23rd March 2020, the CGPDTM has issued the following notification relating to extensions for filings related to trademarks.
  • The Controller General of Patents, Design and Trade Marks, has issued that all hearings relating to trademarks matters scheduled between 17/03/2020 to 15/04/2020 have been adjourned and these cases will be rescheduled in due course of time.
  • It may further be noted that hearing scheduled after 15 April 2020 will remain as it is
  • With the notification by Government of India, the hearing, particularly of Patents and Trademark, have been converted from Personal Hearings to Video conference Hearings.

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