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: 28 Oct 2020, 2.45 p.m. (+8 GMT)
IP office updates across the Asia-Pacific – Click below to expand
An extension of time of up to 3 months is available at no official fee (except for renewal fees) for patent, design, and trade mark rights, if the extension is required due to the disruptive effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Applicant. Originally, the request must be filed between 22 April and 31 July 2020, however with the pandemic continuing to affect many customers, the free extensions of time will continue until 21 January 2021.
Where extensions longer than 3 months are required, an extension of time may still 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.
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
New fee exemption powers
As part of IP Australia’s response to COVID-19, changes to the Intellectual Property Laws Amendment (Fee Exemptions) Regulations 2020, have been made. Following approval at the Executive Council meeting on 11 June 2020, these Regulations were registered 12 June 2020.
The Regulations amend the Plant Breeder’s Rights Regulations 1994 and the Trade Marks Regulations 1995 to provide new exemption powers for IP Australia to exercise greater discretion and flexibility to exempt specified classes of persons from fees.
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
With effect from 4 September 2020, the Hong Kong Intellectual Property Department (HK IPD) is providing the following services as usual:
- Online search;
- E-filing and submission of documents by post;
- Publication of the Hong Kong Intellectual Property Journal; and
- Public Service Counter hours (open Monday to Friday from 0900 to 1745 hours); and
- Enquiry Hotline (open Monday to Friday from 0900 to 1745 hours).
Further to the Movement Control Order (MCO) since 18 March 2020, the Malaysia government has imposed Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) from 4 May 2020 to 9 June 2020 nationwide to allow all economics and social activities to be resumed but the standard operating procedure (SOP) set by the Health Ministry must be observed. The CMCO is now replaced by a recovery MCO, to run from June 10 to Aug 31.
The IP Office has previously advised the operations as below but we will update should there be any changes.
- The IP Office will be open daily from 8.30 a.m. to 4.30 p.m., starting from 9 June 2020. 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 accepted although encouraged to file on the 10 June 2020 (in accordance with Art 4 (C) (3), the Paris Convention – “the first following working day” with regards to the extension of the Priority Date Claim).
- All appeals, opposition and payment due during the affected period is extended to 16 June 2020.
- International filing of trade marks through the Madrid system is deferred until end of CMCO.
- 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 16 June 2020.
- Renewals of trade marks that expire from 27 December 2019 through 15 June 2020 will be extended to 16 June 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.
The IP office in New Zealand is 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 New Zealand.
The Government of Pakistan decided to lift the lockdown in phases with effect from 9 May 2020. The three IP offices, the Patent Office, the Trade Marks Registry and the Copyright Office will re-open for public dealing with effect from Monday, 11 May 2020.
- All cases in which deadline for filing documents/requests had expired during the lockdown period from 24 March 2020 to 9 May 2020 will be accepted on the opening date as filed within prescribed time in view of the Order passed by the High Court of Sindh in CP No. D-2176/2020 between PIPRA (the association of IP Practitioners in Pakistan) and IPO-Pakistan.
- All hearings relating to trade mark and copyright matters scheduled from 25 March 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 email@example.com.
- 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.
- E-filing services will continue to operate.
Please be advised that the National Intellectual Property Office (NIPO) has been closed since 16th March 2020 due to the COVID19 preventive measures adopted by the Government of Sri Lanka including the curfew imposed in the Western Province.However NIPO has adopted a procedure permitting the online payment of fees through Bank transfer in respect of urgent matters and to submit the relevant documentation by way of email to designated email address of the NIPO.
Electronic submission of documents and online payment of Official Fees can be made for the following for trademark, patent, and design applications:
- New applications
- Renewal & Annuity
- Publication and Registration
- Recordals of assignment, name and address change, etc.
The official receipts in respect of such payments would be issued upon the resumption of functions by the NIPO and allocation of the numbers in respect of any new applications would be made according to the order of receipt of payment into the NIPO Account. The original signed application and all the supporting documents will be submitted after the Registry re-opens.
DIP has announced the updated procedure on Late-filing document submission during COVID-19 outbreak on 27 May 2020, and accordingly requested to be acted upon on 1 July 2020. The content and actual process are as follows:-
- If the applicants cannot submit the late filing documents within deadlines, DIP requires the applicants to submit an extension request which consists of (1) a statement and a DIP form and (2) evidences before 90-day deadline of late filing. Such evidences can be:
- a copy of passport
- a copy of medical certificate
- evidences showing applicants’ residence area has been affected by the outbreak
- evidences showing applicants’ were disease infected patients, people in contact with the patients or people traveled back form disease infected countries
- evidences showing applicants’ were affected by COVID-19 outbreak
Please note that evidences must be submitted in English. Documents in other languages must be submitted with their English translation.
When DIP has considered that the evidences are sufficient, they will issue an allowance notification for the applicants to submit all their late filing documents within 90 days after the late filing deadlines. In summary, the applicants have 180 days in total from application filing dates to prepare all their late filing documents. Please note that DIP will accept the complete sets of documents only, even though other documents are available.
However, if the evidences have been considered to be insufficient, the applications will be returned after the deadline has passed and the applicant can file the appeal within 15 days after receiving the notification.
- If the applicants fail to submit any documents within late filing deadlines, the applications will be returned after the deadline has passed and the applicants can file the appeal within 15 days after receiving the notification.
If the appeal has overcome the refusal, the late filing can be submitted within 60 days after receiving the notification.
- Bangladesh: Bangladeshi authorities have declared a nationwide public holiday March 26 to April 25th and further extended to May 30th. Government offices open from May 31st.
- Cambodia: IP office closes from 11 – 19 April or until further notice.
- Laos: IP office has been shutdown from 1 April till 19 April or until further notice.
- Myanmar: IP office closes from 11 – 19 April or until further notice.
- Solomon Islands: accepting instructions by email and scanned supporting documents until the end of June.
The following Pacific Island Registries are open and they have agreed to accept scanned copies for filing purposes on the basis that originals will be provided once the pandemic is controlled.
The IP offices listed in the following jurisdictions are operating as business as usual. Should there be any changes, we will update accordingly.
- Macau SAR