The Australian Patent and Trade Marks Office (IP Australia) has sent out a notification to Australian attorneys that they fully recognise the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak which may impact the ability of intellectual property owners (in Australia and overseas) and their attorneys in meeting legislative deadlines.
The update from IP Australia states that:
“Where an applicant cannot carry out an action within time due to the COVID-19 outbreak an extension of time may be available. Requests for extensions of time will need to be made in the normal way, accompanied where required by a declaration setting out how the COVID-19 outbreak interfered with responding in time. Requests for waiver or refund of the fee for the extension of time will be considered on a case by case basis as per our current practice.”
For patent applicants, an extension of time can be requested under Section 223 of the Patents Act (Cth) to extend a relevant deadline. Similarly, for trade mark applicants, (as prescribed under Reg 21.28 of the Trade Mark Regulations 119 and under Section 224 of the Trade Marks Act 1995), an extension of time may be sought for prescribed acts. It appears that if the applicant has been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak then this is likely to be considered as a suitable ground upon which an extension may be requested by the applicant. Interestingly, IP Australia is also offering to consider requests for waiver or refund of fees.
Some requests for extensions of time need to be accompanied by suitable declaratory evidence. If you require any assistance in seeking such extensions then please contact one of our attorneys at firstname.lastname@example.org.