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IP Australia is providing free extensions of time of up to three months if a deadline cannot be met due to the effects of COVID-19. The period for requesting such an extension has been extended until 28 February 2021. Depending on the ongoing impact of the pandemic, both in Australia and overseas, this period could be extended further.
Whilst the maximum length of extension that can be requested at one time is three months, additional extensions of time of up to three months are available if needed.
IP Australia has implemented a streamlined process for requesting an extension of time of up to three months when an IP Rights holder is unable to meet a deadline due to the disruptive effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. No declaratory evidence or fee is required; all that is needed is to check the relevant box on IP Australia’s eServices system to declare that the deadline cannot be met due to disruptions from the pandemic.
However, these COVID-19 extension provisions are not a simple free-for-all (see our earlier article here: https://shelstonip.com/insights/briefings/ip-australias-covid-19-extensions-of-time-a-word-of-caution/). An element of discretion does apply and, if asked, a requestor must be able to provide genuine reasons and evidence to justify the grant of the extension. The timing of the request can be of significance too. In addition, IP Australia warns that a false declaration could put the validity of an IP right at risk.
Many deadlines for patents, trade marks and designs are covered by the streamlined extensions of time, including deadlines associated with oppositions and hearings processes (such as periods to file evidence). However, there are some exceptions. For example: these extensions of time do not apply to deadlines for payment of renewal fees for patents, trade mark and designs, for which the usual 6 month grace period applies. For trade marks, these extensions are also unavailable for filing of divisional applications.
For more information, or if you have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and require assistance with your IP Rights, please contact us.
Authored by Serena White, DPhil and Gareth Dixon, PhD