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 will continue to regularly update this information.

PETOSEVIC GROUP OFFICES

Albania

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

Belarus

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 with the following countries has been restored: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Netherlands, Italy, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Germany, United Kingdom, Croatia, Serbia, Montenegro, Slovenia

Bulgaria

Our staff – most staff working from the office; for safety reasons, some staff members still working from home
PTO – electronic filings are preferred; delays in processing applications
Courts – resumed normal operations

Croatia

Our staff – slowly returning to work from 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

Hungary

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; deadlines for correcting irregularities or submitting comments / responses that fall on on March 31, 2020 or afterwards are automatically extended until June 2, 2020; deadlines defined by the Hungarian industrial property acts cannot be extended.
Courts – e-filing is preferred; in-person consultations are not possible; hearings to be conducted by means of electronic media

Kazakhstan

Our staff — started to work from 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, if possible, but documents can be accepted by the administration office; courier services not accepted; no official notification about the extension of procedural deadlines
Courts – no visitors allowed; most cases and hearings postponed until further notice or conducted via video conferencing if urgent; procedural deadlines extended; new filings and applications accepted online
Note: Delays with mail delivery are possible due to movement restrictions that are still in place.

Montenegro

Our staff – most staff returned to the office
PTO – electronic filings or by mail; expected to resume normal operations after June 1
Courts – open, receiving filings, expected to resume normal operations after June 1
Customs — open, receiving filings but issuing notifications electronically
Note: Most local courier services are not operating, because there are no flights in and out of the country. DHL should be used, but delays are possible.

North Macedonia

Our staff – slowly returning to the office, some employees still working from home
PTO — most communication goes by mail (we file and receive documents from 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; deadlines have been extended until the state of emergency is lifted
Customs – operating with delays; deadlines extended until the state of emergency is lifted
Courts — most hearings postponed until further notice; deadlines extended until the state of emergency is lifted; new filings accepted
Note: Our regular mail is usually delivered on Monday; courier shipments are delivered to our office on a regular basis

Romania

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.

Russia

Our staff – working from home without interruption; we can collect correspondence and receive the documents sent by courier mail (please contact us to check the address)
PTO – opened its receiving office on May 18. The Chamber of Patent Disputes is considering appeals online (using video services) until May 24, 2020, and offline starting from May 25, 2020; no automatic extension of deadlines has been announced.
Courts – slowly resuming normal operations and consideration of cases
Note: Moscow is under lockdown until May 31, 2020, but the non-working period has not been extended by the federal government, which means that officially the first working day in Russia was May 12, 2020.

Serbia

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

Slovenia

Our staff – resumed working in the office
PTO – resumed normal operations as of June 1, 2020; but certain restrictions on office visits remain; deadlines that expired during the provisional measures period will expire on June 9, 2020 and the deadlines that did not run will begin to run as of June 1, 2020.
Courts – As of June 1, 2020, the deadlines that were suspended during the provisional measures period will start to run and the deadlines that did not run will begin to run.

Ukraine

Our staff – some members of staff still working from home, but most staff returning to work from the office as usual
PTO – meetings with applicants/representatives cancelled until further notice; documents (including applications) to be filed either electronically or by mail; no decision regarding deadline extensions
Courts — communication by electronic means or by mail encouraged, but hearings started taking place

Uzbekistan

Our staff – working from home without interruption with one person always in the office; state of emergency extended until June 1, 2020.
PTO — applications and correspondence can be filed electronically; deadlines have not been postponed; Board of Appeal hearings postponed until further notice
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

AFFILIATED OFFICES

Armenia

PTO – closed to visitors; electronic filing possible; deadlines not postponed; receipt of all official documents (e.g. registration certificates and original extracts) postponed until further notice
Courts — not officially closed, but non-urgent hearings are postponed until further notice
Note: The state of emergency is in place until June 15, 2020 or until further notice.

Azerbaijan

PTO – closed until May 31 or until further notice; Appeal Council’s meetings have been postponed until after May 31, 2020
Courts – closed until May 31 or until further notice

Czech Republic

PTO – normal operations resumed, but electronic, postal or telephone communication strongly encouraged
Courts —  resumed normal operations; oral hearings conducted with appropriate safety measures in place

Estonia

PTO – closed to visitors until the end of May or until further notice; electronic filing and filing by mail; state of emergency until May 17, 2020; certain deadline extensions introduced; suspension and restoration of proceedings possible, still the general rule applies according to which restoration requests should be filed within two months from learning about the termination of proceedings and not later than six months after the due date of the action which was not performed
Courts – slowly returning to normal operations; deadlines still observed; electronic means of communication recommended; if possible, litigation matters to be handled in writing; non-urgent hearings are still postponed; urgent hearings are conducted remotely if possible

Georgia

PTO – electronic filing possible, official documents filed and received by e-mail and e-filing systems; scanned copies of original documents accepted; no deadline extensions
Courts — most communication by electronic means; hearings postponed until further notice
Note: While the state of emergency has ended, certain restrictions still remain in force

Kosovo (UNSCR 1244)

PTO – still working with reduced staff, but back to normal operations
Courts — working with reduced staff, but back to normal operations

Kyrgyzstan

PTO – state of emergency has ended, the office has resumed normal operations
Courts – courts accept new claims as usual, but some hearings are being postponed; time limits to be observed

Latvia

PTO — no visitors allowed unless necessary; communication only by e-mail, e-filing systems and regular mail; official fees are waived for extension and restoration of terms, as well as for further processing of applications during the state of emergency and four months after the end of the state of emergency, which ends on June 9, 2020
Courts — no visitors allowed; parties are asked to communicate with courts by electronic means; oral hearings are being postponed, but organized in urgent cases with preventive measures; more hearings are being scheduled for June

Lithuania

PTO – most staff working remotely; state of emergency until June 16, 2020; no visitors allowed; communication by e-mail and e-filing system; deadlines suspended until further notice
Courts –  oral hearings postponed until June 1, 2020, or conducted remotely; deadlines not extended — complaints can be submitted electronically; communication via e-filing system encouraged

Moldova

PTO – during the state of emergency (until May 15, 2020) visitors not permitted and all procedural deadlines suspended; filing of applications, responses and appeals can be done through the electronic filing system; documents can be submitted via e-mail
Courts – closed until further notice; civil cases and procedural deadlines suspended
Note: Courier and other postal services do not send/receive letters and packages

Poland

PTO – staff working remotely; all applications and requests should be filed electronically, via electronic platform or by mail; all hearings before the Adjudicative Board have been suspended from March 16 until mid-June or further notice; online hearings are possible. In the time period from March 8, 2020 to June 30, 2020, time limits for oppositions against trademark applications and validations have been interrupted or suspended — deadlines begin to run anew from July 1, 2020. Other administrative deadlines that have been suspended or that have not started running will continue or will start running from May 24, 2020. However, actions taken during this period have a legal effect.
Courts – starting from May 24, 2020 hearings can be conducted online; in all civil, criminal and administrative proceedings, time limits that stopped running or have been suspended will continue or will start running from May 24, 2020; other substantive legal time limits, in particular the limitation period for claims, have not been suspended or interrupted.

Slovak Republic

PTO – normal operations resumed, but electronic communication still strongly encouraged
Courts — gradual resumption of normal operations, oral hearings conducted in urgent or essential matters with appropriate anti-epidemic measures in place

Tajikistan

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

Turkmenistan

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

PETOSEVIC REPRESENTATIVE

Brussels

Representative – working from home without interruption
Benelux PTO (BOIP) — resumed regular operations on May 25, 2020. All new deadlines will apply as usual from May 25. Deadlines (including payment deadlines) set to expire between March 16 and June 24 inclusive, will expire on June 25, 2020. Deadlines currently running that expire on or after June 25 remain unchanged. If a deadline for filing an opposition against a trademark application expired or expires between March 16 and June 24, inclusive, the opposition may be filed until June 25 inclusive. As a result, it is possible that a trademark has been or will be registered in the register, while it is still possible to file an opposition against it. The applications in question were published between January 14 and April 24 inclusive. As usual, responses in opposition or cancellation proceedings filed before the deadline cause the set period to expire, unless that party explicitly states that it reserves the right to use the remaining period.

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