26 March, 2011

Assistance for Japanese Applicants in Australia

Assistance for Japanese Applicants in Australia

On Wednesday this week, the governmental agency IP Australia expressed its support for the Japanese people in the wake of the recent earthquake and tsunami disasters, and reminded the public of existing extension of time provisions that are available for applicants affected by circumstances such as natural disasters.

We too extend our sympathies and best wishes to those clients, associates and friends in Japan who have been affected by these disasters.

We bring to your attention that the Australian Patents, Trade Marks and Designs Acts all have extension of time provisions for doing a “relevant act” that cannot or could not have been done within the necessary time on account of “circumstances beyond the control of the applicant”.

More particularly, if there was an intention that a relevant act/step (e.g., filing a new application, or taking some other step during the application process that would otherwise result in the application lapsing), and that act/step was not done in time due to the disaster, then the deadline can be extended. The relevant “circumstances” can also catch the applicant’s Japanese attorneys similarly being affected.

We expect that the Australian Patent Office will be generous in granting such extensions of time, although the relevant official fees still need to be paid.

Please note, however, that the extension of time provisions do not apply to a limited number of acts/steps under the Patents, Trade Marks and Designs Acts.

Lastly, we point out that it is important to contact us without delay once becoming aware of any deadline being missed.

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