The coronavirus pandemic is having a significant impact on our personal lives, our countries and our economies! Canada's Intellectual Property Office is no exception. While the Canadian Intellectual Property Office ("CIPO") currently remains open and in operation, significant delays in all CIPO services should be expected.
More importantly, CIPO has, on account of the unforeseen circumstances resulting from COVID-19, recently announced that for now March 16, 2020 to March 31, 2020 inclusive will be considered "designated days" under the applicable Canadian intellectual property legislation. This means that if a CIPO deadline under the Patent Act, Trademarks Act and/or Industrial Design Act falls on any of these "designated days", the time period to respond will be extended to the next business day (e.g. April 1, 2020). CIPO has also indicated that, if the circumstances that led to this designation continues, CIPO may decide to extend the applicable time period. CIPO's decision coincides with fee, rule and procedural accommodations by other intellectual property offices, including the EU Intellectual Property Office and the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
While the above noted designation by CIPO applies to due dates that originate with CIPO, it is likely that any obligations under international treaties and/or conventions, such as the Paris Convention and the Patent Cooperation Treaty, would still apply and must be complied with accordingly. As such, any action(s) required to be taken in Canada pursuant to such international treaties and/or conventions between March 16th and 31st, should be taken on or before the applicable date in order to ensure all rights in Canada and abroad are maintained.
Fasken's Intellectual Property ("IP") group is taking steps to ensure continuity of our services to our clients over this period, largely by working remotely. As CIPO's online solutions are available 24/7 and from anywhere, we are available to continue to assist our clients during this period.
Fasken has also established a Coronavirus (COVID-19) Knowledge Centre. Given the number of cases of COVID-19 in North America, and continued uncertainty around the world, organizations must plan to manage the impact on their operations and workforces, as well as protect their employees, their families and communities. Ensuring the health and safety of our people, clients and business partners is Fasken's top priority.
Please don't hesitate to reach out, should you need assistance. In the meantime, we will continue to keep you informed of any IP and other developments as they occur.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.