In the current situation, it can be a challenge for applicants and rights holders to observe a time limit. In view of this, we would like to draw your attention to the fact that you can have a time limit, which has been set by the IPI, extended up to three times. If you have missed a time limit, you can also request further processing in certain cases. You can find out more about this in our leaflet Information on extending time limits and further processing.
Please note that we can only grant a third time limit extension in exceptional cases. In opposition and cancellation proceedings concerning trade marks, the consent of the other party is also required. The rule under section 18.104.22.168 of our Trade Mark Guidelines (available in German, French and Italian) remains reserved.
If you are affected by health policy measures such as a lockdown at your place of business or residence, you can request a longer period for the first extension. In this case, provided that the reasons given justify a longer time limit, we can grant you an initial extension of up to four months, and in opposition and cancellation proceedings concerning a trade mark, an extension of up to two months. The second and third time limit extensions remain unchanged.
If you have not observed a time limit, you have the following options:
Request for further processing (trade mark, patent and design procedures):
The request must be filed within two months of receiving notification of the expiry of the time limit, and at the latest within six months of the expiry of the time limit. In addition, you must carry out the omitted action and pay the necessary fees.
You can find the detailed requirements in the relevant provisions:
- Designs: Art. 31 DesA
Request for reinstatement (only in trade mark and design procedures):
The request must be filed within 30 days of the removal of the cause of non-compliance with the time limit. You must state the reasons why you were prevented from acting within the time limit through no fault on your part. In addition, you must carry out the omitted act.
The detailed requirements are set out in Art. 24 APA.
Request for re-establishment of rights (only in patent procedures):
The request must be filed within two months of the removal of the cause of non-compliance with the time limit, at the latest within one year of the expiry of the unobserved time limit. You must provide prima facie evidence that you have been prevented, through no fault on your part, from observing the time limit. In addition, you must carry out the omitted act.
The detailed requirements are set out in Art. 47 PatA and Art. 15 PatO (in German, French and Italian).
You can find more information in our fact sheet on extending time limits and further processing.
As a result of the Federal Council's decision of 20 March 2020 to extend legal holidays in civil and administrative procedures, the majority of time limits for procedures before the IPI were suspended from 21 March until 19 April 2020.
Details of the suspension
- Time limits set by the IPI with a specific end date between 21 March and 19 April 2020 expired on 20 April 2020.
- Time limits for the payment of renewal fees and annual fees with a specific end date between 21 March and 19 April 2020 also expired on 20 April 2020.
- Statutory time limits or those set by the IPI that are stipulated in days were suspended until 19 April 2020 and continue to run from 20 April 2020. This also applied to time limits for appeals.
The following time limits were not affected by the suspension:
- Time limits determined by months or years (e.g. priority periods, the time limit for filing an opposition or for the payment of the opposition fee) are not affected by the suspension.
- Time limits with a specific end date after 19 April 2020.
- Time limits for international procedures (PCT, EPC, the Madrid System, the Hague System).
The suspension had no influence on the period of validity of IP rights. IP rights that expired between 21 March and 19 April 2020 were therefore not extended as a result of the suspension.
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