On 22 April 2020, IP Australia introduced a new streamlined process for extension of time requests for Applicants impacted by COVID-19. The new extension of time is available to extend most Patents, Trade Marks, and Designs deadlines.
The extension is:
- for up to three months;
- includes evidence deadlines in opposition matters;
- free of charge; and
- available until at least 31 May 2020
The extensions are not available for all deadlines. Notably the streamlined free extension does not apply to extensions of time for payment of renewal fees.
The only supporting documentation required is a simple declaration stating that the reason the existing deadline cannot be met is ‘due to the disruptive effects of the COVID-19 pandemic’.
Because Plant breeder’s rights (PBR) do not have extension of time provisions like the other Intellectual Property rights, PBR are being handled differently, and often on a case-by-case basis.
This is a significant change for oppositions given that the 2013 Raising the Bar reforms introduced a tough new regime on extensions, making extensions very difficult.
Further information on the extensions is available at IP Australia