Responding to COVID-19 | Global intellectual property update

19 March 2020

This article was updated on April 6, 2020

As COVID-19 continues to take a significant toll on the entire world, the intellectual property offices and courts in many of the jurisdictions in which Gowling WLG has offices have relaxed deadlines and limited hearings.  With a view to helping our global clientele navigate this challenging time, below we provide brief status updates on the IP regulatory bodies in these areas:



  • Canada:  As reported in our recent alert on March 27, the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) announced a further extension and now all deadline falling between March 16 and April 30 have been automatically extended until May 1, 2020.  The Federal Court, which hears most IP cases in Canada, has adjourned all hearings until May 15, except for in cases of exceptional or urgent matters. Parties must contact the Judicial Administrator or their Case Management Judge (for case managed matters) regarding the rescheduling of adjourned matters. See our full report here.
  • France:  All civil hearings have been postponed indefinitely.  The matters that were to be heard during this time have been or will be rescheduled.  All deadlines of the French bailiff services between March 9 and April 30 will fall back to May 4.  Learn more about these developments here.
  • Germany:  The German Patent and Trademark Office (DPMA) has announced that it will take the circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic into consideration when considering requests for extensions of time.   Arbitration Board hearings have been extended to May 15.  Although the German courts have not responded uniformly to the pandemic,  several hearings before various courts have been postponed and we expect to hear of further limitations in the future. Read our full update here.
  • UAE:  As things stand, all deadlines in the UAEA IP offices must be adhered to.  The Opposition division has moved all appointed hearings to written submissions. We are watching carefully to see how the office handles requirements for notarised and legalised Powers of Attorney (PoA) given that our clients may be facing growing difficulties in finalising such PoAs.  All non-urgent matters before the Dubai courts are adjourned until April 16.  For more information about these developments see our latest alert here.
  • UK:  For intellectual property disputes, the High Court of England and Wales and the appellate courts remain open for business, managing communications and filings remotely.  New rules, guidance and practice have led to a significant increase in remote hearings.  The UK Intellectual Property Office has announced an interruption to most deadlines; the situation will be reviewed on April 17th 2020 at which point UKIPO will provide another announcement.  Deadlines under international treaties are not impacted by the interruption.  Learn more here.
  • Russia: On March 18, 2020, the Presidium of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation and Presidium of the Judges Council of the Russian Federation suspended most of the hearings in the Russian courts.  The restriction covers the arbitration (commercial) courts, which includes the Intellectual Property Court, as well as the courts of general jurisdiction. The decree becomes effective as of March 19, 2020 and remains in force until April 10, 2020 inclusively. Learn more here. At the time of writing, the intellectual property office in Russia (Rospatent) operates business as usual .  As in all jurisdictions, we are in constant contact with relevant bodies and will provide updates as they arise.
  • China:  We are pleased to report that the intellectual property office and the courts hearing IP matters are all back to business as usual throughout China.
  • Singapore: The Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) has indicated a business as usual stance, as have the courts.

Should you have concerns or questions about how specific precautionary measures may affect your IP rights in any of the above-mentioned jurisdictions – or, indeed, throughout the world – please contact your Gowling WLG professional. While working remotely in many countries, our Global IP Team remains fully available to address your legal needs throughout these extraordinary times. We continue to actively monitor and adapt to the situation as it unfolds, and are taking all measures to ensure that deadlines are met and IP rights are protected. 

As a full service firm, we have brought our expertise together to create a COVID-19 resource hub that contains information to guide you through various complex legal issues, as well as a list of key contacts who can provide advice on these issues.


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