As a response to the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in late March, the UK Intellectual Property Office declared a period of ‘interrupted days’, to help support businesses who had filed trade mark applications. This move relaxed the requirements for individuals and businesses to act by certain deadlines. Trademark applications in the publication stage have been affected the most.
Under normal circumstances, an IPO examiner reviews a trade mark application and provided they have no objections, the application is published in the trade marks journal for two months. During this two-month period, anyone can oppose the mark. If the application is not opposed during this period, the mark then proceeds to registration.
As result of the period of interrupted days, the IPO has extended the deadline for opposition to trade mark applications. This means that many marks have had their publication period extended by several months, and no applications have been registered since 24 March.
The IPO has confirmed that the period of interrupted days will end on 29 July. From this date, they will start to register trade marks again. As long as applications do not have any opposition, they will be registered in August. It’s worth noting that oppositions to delayed applications can actually be filed until 30 July.
Trade marks will be registered in chronological order, with the oldest applications first. Trade mark certificates are usually issued by post, but to speed up the process, the UKIPO plans to issue registration certificates by email.
Many businesses will be relieved to see their marks registered over the next six weeks. Other parties may take advantage of the next fortnight to oppose the application for marks that, under ordinary circumstances, would already be registered.
The end of the interrupted days will be welcomed by many in the business community: both those eagerly awaiting the registration of their marks, as well as those keen to express their opposition to applications that would normally have been registered by now.
If you're looking for legal advice on filing or opposing a trade mark application, get in touch with our intellectual property team.