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.

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 is being restored with many countries

Bulgaria

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

Croatia

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

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
Courts – e-filing is preferred; in-person consultations are not possible; hearings to be conducted by means of electronic media
Note: Postal service to many countries is operational with delays; postal service to certain countries is still suspended.

Kazakhstan

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, 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 – documents are accepted by mail, 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 or by mail.

Montenegro

Our staff – back to working in the office
PTO – resumed normal operations; electronic filings only for the time being, until all the filings received during the pandemic are processed and filing receipts issued
Courts – resumed normal operations
Customs — resumed normal operations
Note: Local courier and postal services resumed normal operations.

North Macedonia

Our staff – most staff returned 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) but delays are possible; 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

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 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

Serbia

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

Slovenia

Our staff – working in the office
PTO – resumed normal operations as of June 1, 2020; deadlines that should have expired during the provisional measures period expired on June 9, 2020 and the deadlines that did not run began to run on June 1, 2020; filings by email not allowed anymore
Courts – On June 1, 2020, the deadlines that were suspended during the provisional measures period started to run and the deadlines that did not run began to run.

Ukraine

Our staff – returned to working 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; the quarantine has been extended until Aug 1, 2020
PTO — applications and correspondence can be filed electronically; 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

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 July 13, 2020.

Azerbaijan

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

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 – open to visitors; consultations are provided, but pre-registration is required; filing of applications and other documents in person at the reception desk, using the PTO’s mailbox, as well as electronic filing and filing by mail
Courts – slowly returning to normal operations and starting to conduct hearings; court offices open during normal working hours; deadlines observed; electronic means of communication recommended

Georgia

PTO – PTO’s Service Center for Citizens re-opened on June 8, 2020; 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: Although the state of emergency has ended, certain restrictions still remain in force

Kosovo (UNSCR 1244)

PTO – resumed normal operations; no e-filing, only hard copies of applications are accepted
Courts — resumed 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 — visitors allowed with preventive measures; communication and filing in person, by e-mail, e-filing systems and regular mail; if applicants indicate COVID-19-related circumstances which made it difficult or impossible to comply with deadlines in their requests for extension and renewal of rights and for continuation of proceedings until October 9, 2020, official fees may be waived
Courts — no visitors allowed; 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, but written form is preferred if possible

Lithuania

PTO – most staff working remotely; state of emergency until June 17, 2020; no visitors allowed; communication by e-mail and e-filing system; suspended deadlines began to run on June 1, 2020
Courts –  oral hearings started taking place on June 1, 2020; deadlines not extended — complaints can be submitted electronically; communication via e-filing system encouraged

Moldova

PTO – started resuming normal operations; documents are accepted both electronically and physically; some staff still working from home
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.

Poland

PTO – part of 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; 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  — deadlines begin to run anew from July 1, 2020. Other administrative deadlines that have been suspended or that have not started running continued or started running from May 24, 2020. However, actions taken during this period have a legal effect.
Courts – courts may resume work and hold hearings, also in cases that are not urgent; in all civil, criminal and administrative proceedings, time limits that stopped running or have been suspended continued or started 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 apply as usual from May 25. Deadlines (including payment deadlines) set to expire between March 16 and June 24 inclusive, expired 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.
Courts — business as usual in all relevant national courts in Benelux countries

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