Spruson & Ferguson is closely monitoring the IP landscape and responding to the outbreak across the Asia-Pacific region. As a firm, we have implemented measures to ensure that we are able to continue to provide quality service without interruption during this time, while keeping the health and safety of our employees and communities a priority.
This page was last updated: 7 April 2020, 10.45 a.m. (+8 GMT)
IP office updates across the Asia-Pacific – Click below to expand
Australia & New Zealand
- The IP offices in Australia and New Zealand are currently operating as usual but we will update should there be any changes.
- Where an applicant cannot carry out an action within time due to the COVID-19 outbreak an extension of time may be available and will be considered on a case by case basis as per the current practice. Applicants should note that some time periods cannot be extended. Please contact us to check if an extension of time is possible for your application in Australia or New Zealand.
- Australian office hearings will not be held in person (unless rescheduled for later in the year). For the duration of the COVID-19 situation, there will only be hearings by video conference, telephone or written submissions.
Status update of the National Intellectual Property Administration of People’s Republic of China (CNIPA):
- CNIPA has resumed operations as of 3 February 2020 with reduced staff numbers for trade marks but most staff (including examiners) for patents returning to work . They anticipate increasing the trade mark team to 80% in April.
- Filing and payment matters are able to be handled electronically
- Hearings appear to be delayed or moved to written proceedings (no policy announcement)
- For court proceedings formal documents are still required to be notarized by a local notary public and sent to the Chinese embassy/consulate in the home country of the applicant
Hong Kong SAR
Updated special work arrangements were announced for the Hong Kong Intellectual Property Department (HK IPD) on 4 April 2020 (extending the previous ones implemented from 23 March – 5 April).
With effect from 6 – 9 April 2020, the HK IPD will maintain the following limited services:
- Online search;
- E-filing and submission of documents by post;
- Publication of the Hong Kong Intellectual Property Journal; and
- Limited Public Service Counter hours (opens on 6 and 9 April, from 13:00pm to 17:45pm); and
- Enquiry Hotline.
The HK IPD will contact parties with hearings scheduled during the period of 6 – 9 April 2020 to make appropriate arrangements.
Any documents or other things with deadlines that fall due in the period of 27 March – 9 April, will have their deadline automatically extended to 14 April 2020 (10 and 13 April are public holidays in Hong Kong).
The Government of India has announced a countrywide lock-down of 21 days to combat the spread of COVID-19, beginning 25 March 2020 and the IPO has announced extension of deadlines to 15 April 2020.
In view the above, the due dates of times-lines/periods prescribed under different IP Acts and Rules administered by the O/o CGPDTM with respect to completion of various acts/activities, filing of any reply/document, payment of fees, etc. regarding any IP applications filed with the offices under the administrative control of the O/o CGPDTM shall be the date on which the offices will re-open.
Previously the Indian Patent Office has advised the following:
All in person hearings in Patents and Designs matters scheduled on or before 15 April 2020 will be done via Video Conferencing (VC). Wherever the applicant is unable to agree for the VC hearing, the Controller will adjourn such hearing for a date later than 15 April 2020.
All the hearings in the Patent Office through VC scheduled between 23 March 2020 and 31 March 2020 stands cancelled. Rescheduled hearing dates will be communicated shortly. Due to the closure until 15 April 2020 this will also apply to hearings scheduled between 1 April and 15 April 2020.
All hearings relating to trade mark matters scheduled between 17 March 2020 to 15 April 2020 have been adjourned and will be rescheduled in due course of time. Hearings scheduled after April 15, 2020 remain unchanged at the moment. The Trade mark Registry announce that an Applicant can, now or after situation becomes normal, file a request for extension of time for submission of documents. [as per Section 131 of the Trade Marks Act, 1999 and Rules 109 & 110 of Trade Marks Rules, 2017]. The Registrar will consider such a request and decide on the allowance of the same on a case by case basis.
The DGIP has advised the following:
- Closure of the customer service centre extended until the 21 April;
- All applications can be filed online;
- DGIP accepts late filing for any documents due in March and April 2020;
- All consultation services can be done via livechat (www.dgip.go.id) but this Live chat is for administrative requests, not substantial questions or requests. Our team are keeping in touch with the examiners also but there is an expected delay in their response.
The Malaysia government has imposed a 14-day Movement Control Order (MCO) from 18 – 31 March 2020 nationwide to curb the spread of the Covid-19 virus in Malaysia. The MCO is now extended to 14 April 2020.
The IP Office has previously advised the operations as below but we will update should there be any changes.
- The IP Office will be closed but e-filing is still operating as usual for forms relating to patents and designs, and only new filings are allowed for trade marks. All manual filings with priority deadlines due within the affected period are extended to 1 April 2020.
- All appeals, opposition and payment due during the affected period is extended to 30 April 2020.
- International filing of trade marks through the Madrid system is deferred until March 31, 2020. Filings can be made starting April 1, 2020.
- Requests for certified true copies of documents will not be carried out during the movement control order.
- The expiry date for the extension of patent renewal and industrial design will be extended to April 1, 2020.
- Renewals of trade marks that expire from December 27, 2019 through March 27, 2020 will be extended to April 30, 2020 and payments can be made from April 1, 2020.
- Hearing sessions for trade marks, patents, and industrial designs that have been scheduled during the period of movement control orders have been postponed and will be rescheduled.
- Submission and receipt of letters and physical documents will not take effect within the duration of the movement control order.
Nepal entered lock-down on 24 March 2020, the IP office is closed until 4 April 2020 and all deadlines will be extended to 5 April 2020.
In light of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Trade Marks Registry, Patent and Design Office and the Copyright Office will remain closed for public dealings with immediate effect until further notice.
- All documents having deadlines (including those relating to responses, opposition, rectification and application matters) falling within this closure period will be filed once the offices reopen.
- All hearings relating to trade mark and copyright matters scheduled from 25 March onwards have been adjourned and these cases will be rescheduled in due course of time.
Papua New Guinea
On 22 March 2020, the Intellectual Property Office of Papua New Guinea has established and announced the following measures in relation to its daily operations with clients:
- Temporary shutdown of the Office for 14 days as of Tuesday 24 March 2020.
The Office will not accept lodgements over the counter at the Office. However, clients can continue to do lodgements by sending documents via email to the email address: IPOLodgements@ipa.gov.pg. (Please do not copy any other officers’ email address whilst doing your lodgement via email.)
- Temporary cease to Walk-in Client Appointments and Client Face to Face interactions
The Office will further advise after a period of 1 month from the date of this notice when this service will resume. As such, all client enquiries must be done via telephone on 308 4432 or via email to the firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Early cease to collection of Notices via pigeonholes
Although, collection of Notices via pigeonholes will cease as at 1st April 2020, the Office has began rolling out this process as of the date of this notice. As such, the Office is no longer issuing notices via pigeonholes.
- Temporary cease to meetings, workshops, seminars and similar kind of events.
The office as and when required, will use email communications, telephone conferencing and where necessary, video conferencing to provide input and contribution to these meetings. The Office will not be hosting meetings within its premises during this time unless the Investment Promotion Authority considers of high priority and subject to approval it.
UPDATE: Scanned copies for filing purposes accepted
At present all Pacific Island Registries are open. Papua New Guinea; Fiji; Tonga; Tuvalu; and Vanuatu have agreed to accept scanned copies for filing purposes on the basis that originals will be provided once the pandemic is controlled.
- Temporary shutdown of the Office for 14 days as of Tuesday 24 March 2020.
In order to contain the spread of Covid-19, the Philippine government has placed Metro Manila under community quarantine from 15 March – 14 April 2020. Metro Manila has also been placed under curfew from 8pm to 5am during this period. As a result, the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) has issued a memorandum outlining an extension of various due dates and the provision of limited services until 15 April when the community quarantine ends.
Patent and Trademark Filings and Administrative Actions before the IPOPHL
- Work is suspended at the IPOPHL from 16 March 2020 until 14 April 2020. However a skeletal workforce will be maintained to ensure continued delivery of services;
- New applications for patents, utility models, industrial designs, trademarks and trademark related documents may be filed online via the electronic filing system. To avoid any potential issues with the electronic filing system, we request that you send us all filing instructions at least one day before the due date;
- Responses to official actions, declarations, and other documents including motions for extension of the period to file oppositions, answers, position papers, and appeals that fall due during the quarantine period must be filed on 15 April 2020, and will be considered as having been filed on their due dates;
- Payments that are due during the quarantine period must be paid on 15 April 2020;
- No manual filings will be accepted during the quarantine period;
- Requests for certified true copies of documents will not be accepted during the quarantine period;
- All scheduled hearings and mediations before the IPOPHL are suspended.
IP Cases before the Regular Courts
- Court hearings have been suspended from 13 – 18 March 2020;
- Court services have not been suspended. Pleadings and other motions must still be filed and attended to as they fall due;
- The Philippines Supreme Court will issue guidelines as deemed necessary.
We will continue to monitor the situation in the Philippines and will provide updates as necessary.
- As of Monday 6th April the IPOS physical office will be closed, but their teams will continue to work remotely as are our own Singapore team. Please contact us should you have any questions.
- E-filing services will continue to operate.
- All filing deadlines are extended to 8 May 2020, for those required to respond between 7 April 2020 to 7 May 2020 inclusive. This extended deadline also applies to cases under our Hearings and Mediation Department.
Sri Lankan authorities have declared to extend the holiday for all nonessential public and private entities through at least 27 March 2020. However, as per the usual practice if a deadline falls on a public holiday, the right holder is allowed to file such application on the next working day without affecting the rights of such right holder. In these special circumstances it is presumed that NIPO will follow the usual practice and allow applicants to file Amended Claims on the first working day once the holiday is over without affecting the rights to enter national phase.
Based on “The Thai Department of Intellectual Property announcement: Request for an extension of time due to the COVID-19 situation”, the applicant/agent may request for an extension period of 30 days for the deadlines that fall within the outbreak period. To request for such an extension, an applicant/agent needs to submit evidence which proves that the applicant/agent is affected by the situation (i.e., medical certificate / evidence that shows pandemic spread / official lock-down statement) within 15 days after the situation has normalized.
Late filing submission: The Patent office requires a statement explaining the reason they cannot provide documents [i.e., notarized POA, DOA or legalized document] before the deadline. After the situation is over, the request for extension and the supporting evidence must be submitted within 15 days.
- If the patent office issues the allowance notification, the complete late filing documents must be submitted within 30 days after receiving the notification.
- If it is not approved, the appeal must be filed within 15 days after receiving the notification
New application filing: The above action is not applicable and must be filed within deadlines.
OA Response: Further clarification will be provided shortly as we confirm with the patent office.
Please note that each department of the DIP has different document practices. We will update as soon as we receive any communications from the DIP. Also, If you have any question/concerns regarding this, please feel free to contact us.
IP Vietnam has issued notification concerning the effects caused by COVID-19. The main points are summarized as follows:
- All procedures relating to the establishment of IP rights (e.g. priority claim, submitting documents, response to notification, renewal, maintenance, fee payment, complaint) having deadlines falling between 30 March 2020 and 30 April 2020 are automatically extended to 30 May 2020. In other cases, if the applicants are still affected by COVID-19, the applicants can request application of force majeure provisions.
- PPH requests based on PPH agreement with the JPO are to start from 4 May 2020 instead of 1 April 2020.
- From 1 April 2020, transactions between IP Vietnam and applicants can only be conducted via post or electronic medium until further notice. Fee payment can be made by post or fund transfer to IP Vietnam’s account at the Treasury until further notice.
The IP offices listed in the following jurisdictions are operating as business as usual. Should there be any changes, we will update accordingly.
- Bangladesh: Bangladeshi authorities have declared a nationwide public holiday March 26 to April 4th
- Macau SAR
At present all Pacific Island Registries are open. The following countries have agreed to accept scanned copies for filing purposes on the basis that originals will be provided once the pandemic is controlled.