If you have a pending trade mark, patent or design registration application, IP Australia has announced on 22 April 2020 that they are:
- waiving fees for extensions of time; and
- granting time extensions for up to 3 months, provided the reason is… COVID-19.
The request for an extension of time must state that the reason is due to the disruptive effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
For start-ups and early stage companies holding with intellectual property assets like pending trade mark or patent applications, this is a valuable concession. The practical effect is that, if your business cannot presently afford to pay an attorney or lawyer to draft a response to a [patent or trade mark] examiner then this concession will give you an extra 3 months AND still reserve your IP rights. Do not let your IP rights lapse simply because of COVID-induced cash flow difficulties!
If you want to take advantage of this, the window is short. You must apply for the time extension and the fee waiver before 31 May 2020. It is not automatic, although the process is streamlined. Contact Aperion if you need help.
Unfortunately, the current round of concessions from IP Australia does not include extensions of time for payment of renewal fees. The six-month grace period for renewals remain in place if applicants need to defer these fees, but the usual late fees will still apply.
Extensions continue to be available on a case-by-case basis for anything not covered by the streamlined extensions (where available under existing legislation).
More information here: https://www.ipaustralia.gov.au/covid-19-trade-marks-and-designs-faqs