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COVID-19: Intellectual Property Office of Singapore extends filing deadlines

7 April 2020

This article is produced by CMS Holborn Asia, a Formal Law Alliance between CMS Singapore and Holborn Law LLC.

Correct as of 09:00 am, 05 May. This article is being maintained.

Extended filing deadlines at IPOS

In view of the COVID-19 situation and the nation-wide effort on COVID-19 announced by the Singapore government, all non-essential businesses, including the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (“IPOS”), are required to close physical operations and work from home from 7 April 2020 (“COVID-19 circuit breaker measures”).

On 28 April 2020, IPOS issued the Registries Practice Direction No. 2 of 2020 and announced that it will extend all filing deadlines to 5 June 2020 for those required to respond between 7 April 2020 to 4 June 2020. This extended deadline applies to patents, trade marks, registered designs, plant varieties protection and geographical indications, as well as to cases under the IPOS Hearings and Mediation Department.

What happens after 4 June 2020?

For deadlines that currently fall after 4 June 2020, parties who require more time beyond existing deadlines, due to the circumstances of the COVID-19 situation, may file the relevant form to request for an extension of time. If parties are unable to file for an extension of time, they can write to IPOS at [email protected]. For such deadlines falling after 4 June 2020, there is presently no automatic or blanket extension as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, if the Singapore government should extend the COVID-19 circuit breaker measures, it is likely that IPOS will similarly grant a further extension of filing deadlines.

Other relief measures for COVID-19

Even though the physical office of IPOS will be closed, the online services of IPOS will remain available (namely the IP2SG online portal www.ip2.sg and mobile app IPOS Go). As such, parties can continue to use such online services for their submissions.

All e-appointments will be conducted via telephone calls and/or email while all business and legal clinics will be conducted via tele-conferencing. IPOS will also suspend all face-to-face consultations until further notice.

For hearings before the IPOS Hearings and Mediation Department, IPOS may consider the use of appropriate video-conferencing options if there are sufficient administrative and technical facilities agreed upon by both partiesto the proceedings and if none of the parties would be unfairly prejudiced if video-conferencing was allowed.

Commentary

The extended filing deadlines and other relief measures by IPOS are in line with the Singapore government’s holistic efforts in balancing the well-being of individuals (including the employees, customers and stakeholders of IPOS) as well as the need to ensure the continuity of operations and services.

The extension of IPOS deadlines between 7 April 2020 to 4 June 2020 may be especially helpful for parties experiencing disruptions because of the unprecedented circumstances. This will afford affected parties some “breathing space” in relation to their intellectual property matters in Singapore.

If you would like to be kept updated or discuss any relief measures or other legal developments in response to the evolving COVID-19 situation in Singapore, please do not hesitate to approach the key contacts listed below.

Authors

Sheena Jacob
Sheena Jacob
Director
Singapore
Denise Loh
Denise Loh
Associate
Singapore
Marcus Chui
Marcus Chui
Associate
Singapore