COVID-19 UPDATE: Deadline of May 18, 2020 fixed by the IP Office for all filings suspended
On May 11, 2020, the Delhi High Court suspended the deadline of May 18, 2020, fixed by the office of the Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trade Marks (CGPDTM) for all IP filings, completion of acts/ proceedings, payments, etc. Further, this suspension shall be applicable to all the cases with deadlines falling on March 15, 2020 or thereafter. No new deadline has been announced as of now by the Court or the IPO and we await further orders of the court / Intellectual Property Office regarding a fresh deadline.
A writ petition [W.P.(C) No.3059/2020] was filed by the Intellectual Property Attorneys Association (IPAA) before Delhi High Court against the public notice dated May 4, 2020, issued by the Office of CGPDTM, as it stated that the deadline for filing documents, completion of various acts/proceedings, filings, payment of fees, etc. for all matters falling between the lockdown period in India (i.e. from March 25, 2020- May 17, 2020) shall be May 18, 2020.
The grievances raised by the Petitioners were as follows:-
1. The period of limitation is to kick in from March 15, 2020 (i.e. the date stated by the Supreme Court in its earlier order dated March 23, 2020) and not March 25, 2020 (i.e. when the lockdown in the country actually began).
2. The cut-off date (i.e. May 18, 2020) fixed by the Office of the CGPDTM is against the earlier order of the Supreme court and imposes onerous burden both on the litigants as well as their advocates since there’s really no gap between the date on which the lockdown will be lifted and the filings are to be made.
The court considered both the grievances and in cognizance of the earlier order of the Supreme Court (wherein it was stated that the period of limitation shall stand extended w.e.f. March 15, 2020), provided a confirmation that the period of limitation shall be effective from March 15, 2020 and not March 25, 2020. The Court further agreed that a very narrow window has been provided by the Office of the CGPDTM for completion of various filings/ acts by the Litigants/ their Advocates, which should not have been done and thus, suspended the operation of the public notice dated May 4, 2020, which was issued by the Office of the CGPDTM.
We advise you to provide us with instructions and documents for any filings with the IPO as per your earliest convenience. We continue to serve clients in the usual manner as our teams are working remotely with 100% capacity and robust IT systems in place.
We are closely monitoring the situation and shall update you one we have further news on this.
Please feel free to contact us for any clarifications.