Covid-19: EPO extends opposition period for European patents
Up to nine months after publication of the mention that a European patent has been granted anyone may give the European Patent Office (EPO) notice of opposition to the patent. The nine-month opposition period, if expiring on or after 15 March 2020, has currently been extended until 02 June 2020 under the EPO Covid-19 extensions.
In view of the continued disruptions to public life caused by the Covid-19 outbreak, the EPO has published a notice extending time limits expiring on or after 15 March 2020 until 02 June 2020. If the disruption should continue after 02 June 2020, the EPO may publish another notice informing users about further extensions and remedies in respect of time limits.
Whilst there are some notable exceptions to time limits to be aware of (including filing divisional applications and written submissions ahead of scheduled oral proceedings), the nine-month opposition period for any European patent, if expiring on or after 15 March 2020, remains open as long as the EPO notice is extended.
Accordingly, if you have rights under a European patent where the nine-month opposition period expired on or after 15 March 2020, you may wish to consider holding back on any action which could put a potential infringer on “notice”, to ensure that the potential infringer does not oppose the patent.
On the other hand, if you were unable to oppose a European patent of interest by the original opposition deadline, now may be the time to reconsider filing a notice of opposition.
Please contact your usual D Young & Co representative if you have any questions regarding oppositions or the EPO Covid-19 extensions.
The latest EPO information regarding Covid-19 can be found here: https://www.epo.org/news-events/covid-19.html