Impact of COVID – 19 on holders of intellectual property rights and litigants in France and in the EU – Time limits, extensions and operation of courts and intellectual property offices – Intellectual property


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En France, le gouvernement a déclaré un État national de

public health emergency for a period beginning on March 24 and ending
May 24. The measures taken by the French government include a
Order extending numerous statutory time limits from March 12 to the end of
the health emergency period.

These measures do not apply to the European Union or to
Intellectual property offices (EUIPO, EPO, WIPO) or the EU
Court of Justice (CJEU), which each provided their own

Even though courts and intellectual property offices have granted extensions,
suspensions and adjournments, IP holders and litigants should
possible to proceed diligently at all necessary stages and
the measures they would normally take to avoid any risk
Procedural bottlenecks after the pandemic and the state of the public
end of emergency.


In France, the postponement mechanism provides that any act or
formality required by law or regulation under penalty of
invalidity, sanction, forfeiture, foreclosure, prescription,
unenforceability or inadmissibility which should have been brought
between March 12 and the end of the state of emergency in
France is deemed to have been carried out over time if the act or the
formality is carried out within a period not exceeding, from
the end of the state of emergency, the time legally authorized to wear
the act or formality, up to a maximum of two months.

Deadlines, acts and legal formalities expired or due
before March 12, or will expire or become due after the end of the period
the state of emergency remains unchanged.

Paris courts have been closed to the public since March 16
and have significantly reduced their activity. Summary hearings
that had already been scheduled have been canceled since March 16,
and postponed decisions. Only absolute civil emergencies will be
heard by the courts in a context that prevents the spread of
the virus. In matters of IP, judges will not deal with requests for
seized for patent, trademark or copyright infringement or
preliminary injunction procedure.

  • Paris Court of First Instance: since March
    16, the hearings, including the status conferences, were
    canceled and scheduled decisions have been postponed. No phone
    or a physical reception is provided except for emergencies and
    legal formalities and procedures and messages sent by lawyers
    using the RPVA online platform are not processed by the
  • Paris Court of Appeal: only hearings
    in essential litigation and urgent cases continue. Cases
    with oral argument scheduled until April 30, 2020, have been stayed
    with status conferences scheduled from September 28, 2020 for
    set new hearing dates.

  • French Supreme Court: procedure
    before the Court of Cassation have been suspended until further notice

  • French patent and trademark
    Office (INPI)

Since April 1, 2020, cancellation of brands and patents
objections before the INPI go ahead and the procedure can
be filed electronically. The INPI has also published a
specific notification which provides that the deadlines which had not been
expired on March 16 have been extended by 4 months, except for
deadlines for filing trademark oppositions.

European Union

  • Court of Justice
    European Union (CJEU) and EU Court

The CJEU and the EU Court deal with pending non-urgent cases
case. Since March 16, the CJEU and the General Court of the European Union have
rendered 86 decisions and entered 52 new cases in court

Deadlines for pending procedures, except urgent cases
accelerated procedure and summary procedure
the injunctions have been extended until April 19, 2020. The deadlines will be fixed by
from that date the registry of the Court was extended by
month. Hearings before the CJEU and the EU Court scheduled
between March 16 and, respectively, April 30 and May 15 were

  • European Union intellectual
    Property Office (EUIPO)

Deadlines relating in particular to priority rights,
opposition periods, renewal requests, calls and conversions
expiring between March 9 and April 30, 2020 are extended to May
4 2020, with the exception of time limits for appeals to the EU
Court against decisions of the EUIPO Boards of Appeal.

International Intellectual Property Office

  • European Patent Office

All deadlines expiring on or after March 15, 2020 have been
extended until April 17, 2020. This also applies to
applications filed under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT).

Oral proceedings before the examination and opposition divisions
the hearings scheduled until April 30, 2020 have been postponed,
unless it has been confirmed that they take place by means of
videoconference with the consent of the applicant. Other
the activities of the examination and opposition divisions continue but
are slowed down. No oral proceedings will take place before the Chambers of the EPO
until April 30, 2020.

  • Global intellectual property
    Office (WIPO)

Services are maintained, including online filing of requests
(WIPO, PCT, Madrid and The Hague Systems), as well as the administration of
intellectual property and related systems, including WIPO
Arbitration and mediation center.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general overview
guide on the subject. Ask the advice of a specialist
on your specific circumstances.


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