COVID-19: Update from Our Offices, PTOs, Courts

Mar 20 2020 - 09:00

Our offices as well as the PTOs, courts and related authorities around the region have taken measures to adapt to the situation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Below is an overview of important developments in jurisdictions where we are active (our own and affiliated offices). We continue to regularly update this information.



Our staff – working in the office without interruption
PTO – resumed normal operations
Courts – resumed normal operations
Note: Ordinary/registered mail as well as DHL/other couriers are operational, but delays are possible


Our staff – working from home without interruption, one person in the office
PTO – restrictions on office visits; a drop-off box available outside the PTO premises
Customs — no changes, business as usual
Courts – no changes, business as usual

Bosnia & Herzegovina

Our staff – resumed working in the office as usual
PTO – open with shorter hours; working with agents only from 10-11am
Courts — normal activities are being restored, according to each court’s capacities
Note: Postal service is being restored with many countries


Our staff – staff working from the office
PTO – electronic filings are preferred; delays in processing applications
Courts – resumed normal operations


Our staff – working in the office
PTO – slight delays in processing of applications, requests and motions can be expected
Courts – slight delays in processing of applications, requests and motions can be expected


Our staff — some members of staff working from home, some working in the office
PTO — e-filing and by mail; personal visits only in exceptional situations
Courts – both e-filing and in-person filings are possible; hearings to be conducted by means of electronic media, if justified by epidemiological measures
Note: Postal service to many countries is operational with delays; postal service to certain countries is still suspended.


Our staff — back to working in the office
PTO – staff is still working remotely, no visitors allowed; online applications accepted, searches can be conducted and ordered online and maintenance fees and renewal fees can be paid online; all communication conducted by electronic means; documents are accepted by mail; no official notification about the extension of procedural deadlines
Courts – documents are accepted by mail, no visitors allowed; online hearings conducted; new filings and applications accepted online or by mail; deadlines not extended.


Our staff – working from home without interruption, one person in the office
PTO – electronic filings only
Courts – open, receiving filings
Customs – open, receiving filings

North Macedonia

Our staff – most staff returned to the office, some employees still working from home
PTO — operating with delays; we file most of the documents to the PTO by registered mail; as of May 27, the PTO is also open for filings and receipt of documents each day from 1-2pm
Customs – operating with delays
Courts — resumed normal operations as of May 29, 2020
Note: Our regular mail is usually delivered on Monday; courier shipments are delivered to our office on a regular basis


Our staff – some working from home, some in the office
PTO – returned to normal activities; open to public as of May 15, 2020, with protective measures in place; deadlines are running normally.
Courts – returned to normal activities as of May 15, 2020, with protective measures, including limited access to court premises for activities other than attending hearings. Deadlines are running normally.


Our staff – working in the office
PTO – opened its receiving office on May 18; the Chamber of Patent Disputes is considering appeals online and offline (starting from May 25, 2020); time limits have been extended, including official fee payments; all time limits expiring between March 30 and November 30, 2020 will be extended until December 31, 2020, upon applicant’s request. The request should be filed no later than one month after the expiration of the time limit or after the date of publication of the Order (June 22, 2020), depending on of which date comes later.
Courts – slowly resuming normal operations and consideration of cases


Our staff – resumed working from the office
PTO – resumed normal operations; electronic filings are preferred
Courts – resumed normal operations


Our staff – working in the office
PTO – working without major interruptions; officially the deadlines run as usual
Courts – from November 20, 2020 until January 31, 2021, the deadlines for exercising the rights in court proceedings set by the law do not run; physical access to courts is restricted; hearings only in urgent cases; work is slowed down due to the state of epidemic.


Our staff – some work from the office, some work from home
PTO – meetings with applicants/representatives cancelled until further notice; documents (including applications) to be filed either electronically, physically, or by mail
Courts — communication by electronic means or by mail encouraged; hearings are taking place


Our staff – working from home without interruption with one person always in the office
PTO — applications and correspondence can only be filed electronically (the PTO does not require hard copies of any patent application materials); deadlines have not been postponed; Board of Appeal hearings postponed until further notice; the PTO will not issue, send or receive original documents during the state of emergency
Courts — face-to-face hearings are being scheduled starting from May 15; deadlines have not been postponed; all correspondence to be sent by mail.
Courier services – only DHL is fully operational; other couriers are still not fully functional, especially for mail going outside the country



PTO – closed to visitors; electronic filing possible; deadlines not postponed; all official documents (e.g. registration certificates and original extracts) are provided in due time
Courts — normal operations resumed, but hearings may be postponed until further notice
Note: The state of emergency is in place until January 13, 2021


PTO – resumed normal operations as of May 31; Appeal Council’s meetings have been postponed until further notice
Courts – resumed normal operations as of May 31

Czech Republic

PTO – normal operations resumed, but electronic, postal or telephone communication strongly encouraged; no official suspension of time limits, but the PTO has been more lenient with restoration requests based on omission of a time limit related to the pandemic; the PTO has started to accept electronic copies of PoAs and of other documents relating to recordations. Such electronic documents can contain either wet or digital signature.
Courts —  resumed normal operations; oral hearings conducted with appropriate safety measures in place


PTO – applications and other documents can be filed in person at the reception desk or using the PTO’s mailbox, as well as electronically and by mail; patent applicants can submit an application for extension of time limits before the expiration of the due date; proceedings can be suspended and resumed in certain cases upon applicant’s request and payment of relevant official fees; restoration of time limits possible; extension of legal protection possible within six months after the expiration of the term of validity, upon payment of relevant fees
Courts – court offices open during normal working hours; deadlines observed; electronic means of communication recommended


PTO – from November 28, 2020 to January 31, 2021, the PTO will switch to distance work regime; electronic filing is possible and encouraged, official documents can be filed and received by e-mail and e-filing systems; scanned copies of original documents accepted; no deadline extensions; January 3-15, 2021 is a non-working period for state as well as private institutions
Courts — most communication by electronic means; some hearings postponed until further notice

Kosovo (UNSCR 1244)

PTO – resumed normal operations; no e-filing, only hard copies of applications are accepted
Courts — resumed normal operations


PTO – resumed normal operations; some employees work from home, no changes in procedures
Courts – courts accept new claims as usual, but some hearings are being postponed; time limits to be observed


PTO — communication and filing available in person, by e-mail, e-filing systems and regular mail; from October 12 until further notice, reception of visitors and on-site customer service available only by prior appointment; although there was no formal notification of availability of accelerated examination for COVID-19 related patent applications in Latvia, a request for accelerated examination can be filed with the PTO and it is likely it will be approved.
Courts — visitors allowed by prior appointment only; parties are asked to communicate and file documents by electronic means or by leaving them in a special document box near the entrance; oral hearings are taking place when necessary, with preventive measures


PTO – most staff working remotely; most communication by e-mail and e-filing system; suspended deadlines began to run on June 1, 2020
Courts –  from October 30, 2020 until further notice, it is recommended for oral hearings to be held remotely via approved communication apps/programs; deadlines have not been extended; complaints can be submitted electronically; communication via e-filing system encouraged.


PTO – resumed normal operations; documents are accepted both electronically and physically; staff is working in shifts (2 weeks in the office and 2 weeks remotely)
Courts – resumed normal operations
Note: The state of emergency ended in Moldova on May 15, 2020. Courier services operate as usual. Postal services are available, but delays may be possible, depending on the country.


PTO – resumed normal operations, although some staff working remotely; all forms of correspondence, including paper, accepted; regular hearings take place.
Courts — resumed normal operations

Slovak Republic

PTO – normal operations resumed, but electronic communication still strongly encouraged; there has been no official suspension of time limits for the period of lockdown; the PTO has started to accept electronic copies of PoAa and of documents relating to recordations. Such electronic documents can contain either wet or digital signature.
Courts — gradual resumption of normal operations, oral hearings conducted in urgent or essential matters with appropriate anti-epidemic measures in place


PTO – no changes, business as usual
Courts – no changes, business as usual
Note: Flights in and out of the country are restricted; delays possible with postal and courier services


PTO – business as usual; color copies of documents are accepted (with the exception of assignment and license recordals)
Courts – no changes, business as usual
Note: Turkmenistan’s government has allegedly banned the use of the word “coronavirus” in official documents and in the media, thus suppressing information about the pandemic; airmail service has been suspended, delivery of international mail is currently not available



Representative – working from home without interruption
Benelux PTO (BOIP) — resumed regular operations on May 25, 2020, but the measures taken by the Benelux IPO that were imposed in March 2020 got back in force on July 23, 2020, until further notice. Currently it is possible to visit the office by appointment only. BOIP’s online services are operating as usual and the Information Centre is available during office hours to answer questions by e-mail and phone. To deliver legal documents, bailiffs may make an appointment with one of their lawyers by sending a written request to Since most of BOIP’s staff works remotely without major interruptions, there are no waivers concerning deadlines.
Courts — a minimum level of service is granted and human presence is limited. The e-Deposit web portal allows citizens, companies and lawyers to remotely submit preliminary procedural documents and files to a court. Lawyers can also register via DPA-Deposit. A QR code has been introduced to authenticate extracts from criminal records. Criminal record excerpts sent to individuals include a QR code and an internet address, which is available for a period of three months. They enable the recipient to authenticate the document — the QR code is scanned with a smartphone connected to the internet or a URL address is entered. The recipient is automatically redirected to the source, the electronic version of the extract.

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