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16 March 2020
The EPO has issued a courtesy advance notice stating that it expects to extend EPO deadlines falling due from 15 March to 16 April 2020 inclusive until 17 April 2020 (because of the COVID-19 pandemic). We understand that this will not apply to Paris Convention cases filed with the EPO, or possibly divisional deadlines, but will apply to EP Regional Phase entries and other EPO-specific deadlines. We intend to send you individual emails on existing affected cases.
So for example, we expect that independent of any actual COVID-19 issues, if an applicant misses a deadline such as an examination response deadline falling in the period from 15 March to 16 April 2020, the deadline will automatically extend to 17 April 2020.
As you may imagine, it will be important not to leave work until the cut-off date of 17 April 2020 to ensure smooth processing of your instructions. Therefore please endeavour to provide your instructions as soon as feasible and well before this cut-off date if you can. We are continuing to work to and docket the original deadlines unless an extension is specially required on a case-by-case basis.
Please get in touch with your usual Withers & Rogers contact if there are any specific cases that you would like to discuss regarding the applicability of the extension.
Withers & Rogers is operating on a business as usual basis, we are actioning plans enabling us to operate remotely and do not anticipate any notable change in service to our clients.