HGF continues to remain fully operational at this time, with the majority of staff working remotely due to the ongoing situation regarding the COVID-19 outbreak.

The status of our offices can be found here and is updated on a daily basis. Please do not send any documents by post at this time as our UK offices continue to remain physically closed and we do not have guaranteed access to documents and correspondence sent by post. For all matters, please contact us by email or telephone. When sending us instructions always send a copy by email to docketing@hgf.com and ensure you receive a personal acknowledgement of receipt.

Official Intellectual Property offices in the jurisdictions in which HGF operates continue to remain fully operational at this time, but some are offering extensions to deadlines in order to support applicants and their attorneys who have been affected by the pandemic. We have provided an updated list of the specific situations below.

Therefore, if you are unable to provide us with your instructions as a result of the current COVID-19 pandemic please let us know as soon as possible - we can then advise on the possibility of an extension. Please contact us to check the deadline of any specific time limit you may need to extend as different rules are applied in each jurisdiction and it is possible there are some legal exceptions.


Situation on 20th May 2020


Many time limits expiring on or after 15 March 2020 are currently extended 2 June 2020. If the disruption should continue after this, the EPO may publish another notice informing users about further extensions and remedies in respect of time limits. Please contact us for specific advice and do not assume that every EPO time limit is automatically extended. For example, the deadline for filing a divisional application and the final date for making written submissions in preparation for oral proceedings are not extended. The EPO's FAQ regarding disruptions due to the COVID-19 pandemic: remedies in case of non-observance of periods can be found here.

The EPO has been trialling increased use of videoconferencing in oral proceedings for examination and opposition. The EPO Boards of Appeal plan to resume the holding of oral proceedings, to a limited extent, at their premises in Haar from 18 May 2020. Parties will be contacted accordingly by communication.

Where extensions are automatic affected parties are not required to file a request for the extension of the time limit to take effect.

All online services remain operational.


On 18 May 2020 the exceptional extensions granted to users came to an end.

All online services remain operational.


The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) is continuing operations under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), the Madrid System for the International Registration of Marks, the Hague System for the International Registration of Industrial Designs, the Lisbon System for the International Registration of Geographical Indications as well as administering other intellectual property (IP) and related systems.

All online services remain operational.



Due to the unprecedented disruption and to support rights holders, businesses and IP professionals at this time UKIPO have decided to declare 24 March, and subsequent days, "interrupted days". The situation will be next reviewed on 28 May.

This means that any deadlines for

  • patents
  • supplementary protection certificates
  • trade marks
  • designs

and applications for these rights, which fall on an interrupted day will be extended until the IPO notifies the end of the interrupted days period. UKIPO will provide a minimum of 2 weeks' notice before ending the interrupted days period. However, "interrupted days" have been introduced as a safety net where the normal course of business is not possible. Furthermore, applicants are strongly encouraged to make priority applications for trade marks and designs within the 6 month priority window. This is because the interrupted days provision does not apply to these deadlines.

Where a failure to meet a time period has resulted in a loss of rights, those rights may be reinstated or restored in certain circumstances. Such legal provisions depend on the nature of the late response and the circumstances of the delay and need to be applied for on a case by case basis, which HGF can advise on.

All online services remain operational.



The extended time limits set in pending IP procedures until 4 May 2020.

The following policies apply in connection with hearings and oral proceedings concerning all IP procedures at the German Patent and Trade Mark Office until 30 June 2020:

  • Summons to appear in hearings or oral proceedings will not be issued, whether the proceedings are unilateral or multilateral.
  • Hearings and oral proceedings that have been scheduled will not take place and are cancelled ex officio. Cancellation ex officio will be notified in writing.

Other time limits are applying as normal; in exceptional circumstance, there may be an option of re-establishment of rights which HGF can advise on.

All online services remain operational.



The Netherlands Patents Office will treat time limits with as much understanding as possible and will apply the maximum amount of room laid down in the Netherlands Patents Act where possible. In many cases, applicant may rely on the possibility of a request for restoration of rights, taking the special circumstances caused by COVID-19 into account.

All online services remain operational.



Currently, all new deadlines will apply in the usual way from 25 May. All deadlines that were to expire between 16 March and 25 May 2020 have been extended until 25 June. FAQ - Extension of current deadlines & BAU date

All online services remain operational.



All online services remain operational.



The Intellectual Property Office of Ireland, is now physically closed until 2 June 2020 inclusive. As a result of this closure, these days are to be considered "excluded days" for all purposes. Therefore any official office deadlines which fall within these dates, shall now fall "on the first day which is not an excluded day next following such excluded day(s)"; Wednesday 3 June 2020.

All online services remain operational.

Courts Proceedings

Many courts are adjusting practices and taking steps to minimise any risk to the judiciary, staff, professional and public users, including justice partners.

Any changes to individual hearings will be communicated directly to us, usually by email and/or phone. We will make best possible use of the equipment currently available for any hearings that can be conducted remotely.

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.