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Patent Office Updates You Need to Know (October 26, 2020)

As part of our dedication to helping our clients stay up-to-date on the ever-changing landscape as it relates to the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve compiled the following highlights of changes to patent, trademark, and copyright operations around the world.  

As always, a complete list of countries may be found in our Google Document.

Update Highlights

  • The Supreme Court will hear all oral arguments beginning at 10 a.m. for the November and December sessions via telephone conference.  On days when multiple cases will be heard, there will be a three minute break between arguments.  The live audio feed of the arguments will be provided to ABC News, the Associated Press, and C-Span. 

  • The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has restricted access to the National Courts Building through November 22. Requests for access by members of the public will be decided on a case-by-case basis and must be submitted in writing at least 24 hours ahead of time.  

  • The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has announced the release of a new tool to pursue intellectual property protection in other countries. The USPTO website will now provide information about pursuing intellectual property (IP) protection internationally.

  • The German IP Office (DPMA) has announced that, as of October 19, 2020, it will not be scheduling hearings or oral proceedings in IP procedures in view of rising COVID-19 cases. However, any hearings or oral proceedings in which summons have already been sent will take place if all parties agree to continue. For those that do go ahead, the DPMA clarified that any visitors "with acute respiratory symptoms" will not be able to enter the building.

  • The Japan Patent Office (JPO) has confirmed that an employee at one of its office buildings recently tested positive with coronavirus. According to the JPO, the employee originally had a fever on September 22, 2020, their last work day was on September 29, and the infection was subsequently confirmed on October 6.

  • The Australian IP Office has extended its modified office operations through November 30. Fees for some extensions of time that are requested through November 30 in response to the COVID-19 Pandemic will be waived.

  • The Boards of Appeal of the European Patent Office (EPO) have revised the safety measures for conducting oral proceedings before the Boards. The Boards of Appeal for the EPO has released revised measures for conducting oral proceedings before the Boards.  The measures include restricting attendance to two people per party; staggered meeting times where necessary; and the use of videoconferencing technology.  The full order and modified measures can be accessed here.

  • The Indian Patent Office released a memo outlining the amendments to the 2003 patent rules, available here.

  • Other general closures & deadline extensions have been added to the document.

If you have any patent or trademark questions during this time, do not hesitate to contact us.


Vorys COVID-19 Task Force

Vorys attorneys and professionals are counseling our clients in the myriad issues related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.  We have also established a comprehensive Coronavirus Task Force, which includes attorneys with deep experience in the niche disciplines that we have been and expect to continue receiving questions regarding coronavirus. Learn more and see the latest updates from the task force at

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