2s-ip on your side amid COVID-19 – Update May 7, 2020

2s-ip supports you in time of crisis also – Update May 7, 2020

Since March 21, 2020, limitations are in effect in Bavaria because of COVID-19 pandemia, which have been extended to all of Germany on March 23, 2020. Those restrictions have been reduced in part on May 6, 2020 but are still in force at least until June and may be extended further. Offices and courts, being important for intellectual property protection, are affected also (see below for details).

In order to protect our employees and our clients, we will conduct no physical meetings in our office for the time being. Also in order to reduce the infection risk and at the same time to increase the stability of operation, we did split our team into two groups, whereas just one of the groups is present in the office physically, whereas the other group works from home office. We are equipped technically in a way so that this is easily possible.

This means for our clients that we can be reached as usual – not always in the office, but unchanged via email, telefax or postal service as well as under the known telephone numbers via phone. We are used to file briefs and requests to courts and patent offices online already for a long time (as far as that is possible). Therefore, all necessary equipment is set up and in use already so that you won’t recognize any difference here.

In addition, the official side also contributes some measures in order to relax the situation a little bit. For example the German Patent and Trademark Office (DPMA), the European Patent Office (EPO) and the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) have extended all terms across-the-board and decided that there will be no disadvantages for applicants and users by ‘missing’ terms in the next days and weeks. More specifically, the following regulations are in place (status: May 7, 2020):

DPMA (I): Terms set by the office have been automatically prolonged until May 4, 2020 without any request needed. There is no information about any further extension available so that one has to assume that all terms run and expire normally without further extensions. Nevertheless, there will be no oral proceedings before the Office (at least) until June 30, 2020 (details).

DPMA (II): Terms set by law cannot be extended. In so far, the German Patent and Trademark Office refers to the possibility of reinstatement (details). Please connect with us.

EPO: All terms expiring on or after March 15, 2020, will automatically be extended until June 2, 2020.  By applying Rule 134 (2) EPC, all terms are extended, including those set by law – other than before the German Patent and Trademark Office. (details).

EUIPO: All terms expiring between March 9 and April 30, 2020, will automatically be extended until May 18, 2020. As before the EPO and other than before the German Patent and Trademark Office, all terms are extended, including those set by law. (details).

BPatG: The Federal Patent Court (BPatG) has resumed operations and is hearing cases again. Nevertheless, some restrictions apply, mainly as it has to be ensured that all people involved are able to maintain a distance of at least 1,5m to each other (details – German only).

Regional Court (LG) and Higher Regional Court Munich (OLG): No limitations, but the public is asked to avoid unnecessary visits (details LG and OLG – German only). Visitors have to complete and sign a declaration with respect to COVID-19 before being allowed to enter the Court.

Federal Supreme Court (BGH): the Federal Supreme Court is still hearing patent cases but the number of participants and the number of attorneys being (physically) present is limited. Nevertheless, the Supreme Court is offering to participate online in the proceedings. It is possible to split participation so that some members of a party may participate physically and some others online. This is possible and allowed from abroad also so that travel of foreign parties can be avoided. As access to the court buliding will be denied if a person from abroad is less than 14 days in Germany already, this will be the method of choice for most foreign clients.

We will keep you informed about future measures continuously.

MS/24.03.2020/updated May 07, 2020