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Coronavirus important update on IPO services

Following government advice on coronavirus, we have limited access to IPO buildings. We have strong plans in place to maintain services for customers.

Covid 19

The majority of our services remain unaffected. Rights holders and IP professionals should continue to file using our online services where possible. Please allow additional time for the information you file with us to be dealt with.

We recognise the current challenges faced by many. So, in order to support businesses, rights holders and IP professionals, the following service changes are in place.

Interrupted days

The period of interrupted days that we declared on 24 March, ended on 29 July. An ‘interrupted day’ is a day in which the normal course of business at the IPO is not possible.

This meant that most deadlines for

  • patents,
  • supplementary protection certificates,
  • trade marks,
  • designs,

and applications for these rights, which fell on an interrupted day were extended.

The first normal day of operation when all interrupted days deadlines expired was Thursday 30 July. Here is the certificate ending the period of interruption (PDF, 32.8KB, 1 page).

Temporary fee changes

We know many businesses are in a challenging situation and will look to the IPO for flexibility and support, to maintain their IP and progress their pending applications. Deadlines will once again need to be met and fees paid.

To support those businesses, the following temporary fee changes apply from 30 July 2020 to 31 March 2021 in relation to patents, supplementary protection certificates (SPCs), trade marks and registered designs:

  • fees for extensions of time will be zero
  • there will be no surcharge for payment of a patent application fee after the date of filing
  • fees to apply for reinstatement and restoration will be zero
  • for patents and designs, there will be no surcharge for payment of a renewal fee late
  • for trade marks, the surcharge for payment of a renewal fee late will be £1
  • there will be no additional fee for late payment of SPC fees

The deadlines for completing actions, requesting extensions of time and paying fees are not affected by these fee changes and must still be complied with.

Renewals

The period of interruption for patents extended all time periods mentioned in the Patents Act and Rules. This wasn’t the case for all registered designs and trade marks. This renewals deadlines table (RTF, 69.7KB) should answer any queries you have regarding your renewal deadline.

We will continue delivering patent correspondence by email until we can provide an enhanced digital solution. We will only send paper documents where we are unable to deliver them by email or where we cannot identify a suitable email address

Filing with us

Customers should use online services and communicate with us digitally. We will continue sending and receiving documents and notifications by email wherever possible.

Forms or correspondence may still be filed with us by post or hand delivered to one of our offices. However, they will take longer than usual to process while access to our offices remains limited.

Our fax service has been turned off so we can no longer receive documents through this channel.

Please use our forms@ipo.gov.uk inbox to file any forms that can’t be filed online. The only exception is that patent applications made subject to directions under section 22 (“national security”) must still be filed by post.

To avoid processing delays

  • in the subject line of your email, enter the form number, the IP rights number and (optionally) your own reference. Provide these in the format: FORM NUMBER-IP RIGHTS NUMBER-YOUR REFERENCE for example: TM16-UK00002345678-T1234GBAW
  • if you are attaching a document other than a form, for instance a response to an examiner, enter ‘OTHER’ instead of the form number in the subject line
  • attach all files as PDF and attach any supporting documents required to the same email as your form. Include the IP right number in all attachments
  • if you have more than one form to file, use a separate email for each form
  • do not send copies of your email to any other IPO mailboxes as this will cause duplicate processing, delays and could mean multiple payments being taken
  • do not use the forms@ipo.gov.uk inbox for anything other than filing forms and documents. Email other enquiries to information@ipo.gov.uk

We are currently unable to accept payment by cheque.

Do not send copies of your email to any other IPO mailboxes; this causes duplicate processing, may result in you paying fees twice and will result in delays.

Patent related correspondence both before and after publication of the patent application continues to be emailed. The only exception is to patent applications made subject to directions under section 22 (‘national security’) and to applications where we don’t have an email address.

It also covers correspondence relating to supplementary protection certificates and certified office copies of documents. We will use the email address provided on the forms submitted with the particular application or otherwise communicated to the IPO. Any queries on this should be sent to information@ipo.gov.uk

We will accept electronic signatures on forms and other documents.

Certified Office Copies (COCs)

We can issue COCs by email if you give consent to receive them digitally. You should use one of the following forms to request a COC:

  • Patent form 23
  • Trade Mark TM31R
  • Design DF23

For patent COCs, customers should use WIPO’s online Priority Document Access Service (PDAS) where possible. This can be selected when filing an application online or requested via our contingency email address.

If you order a COC by email and you also require a paper copy, request this by email to the examiner named in the covering letter issued with your COC, quoting the relevant patent/trade mark/design number. Only request this if you need it, for instance to support a priority claim at an IP office that will not accept an electronic COC. We will issue the paper copy by post when we return to normal operations.

Uncertified copies of documents are available for delivery by email only. Request an uncertified copy of a document from the Sales Team by emailing your request to sales@ipo.gov.uk and giving your consent to receive it digitally. There is a flat fee of £5 per copy.

Copies are only available for files that are available electronically.

We will continue to update this page with any changes to services, as well as providing more details as they develop.

Further information on alterations to services for specific rights:

Published 27 March 2020
Last updated 9 November 2020 + show all updates
  1. Information about the new email address forms@ipo.gov.uk to replace paperformcontingency@ipo.gov.uk added.

  2. Updated because the period of interruption has now ended

  3. updated with the latest position on posting documents

  4. extra clarity on when the POI will end

  5. Updates to the renewals deadlines table and certificate ending the period of interruption added.

  6. Temporary fee changes added.

  7. Change to the renewals section to clarify that it is patent letters which aren't being issued

  8. Update to let customers know the end date for interrupted days

  9. Update to the period of interrupted days

  10. Addition of information about printing and posting documents.

  11. inclusion of some further information about emailing documents out instead of posting

  12. We reviewed interrupted days on 7 May and have decided to continue with the period of interruption. We will review again on 28 May. We will give customers advance notice (at least 2 weeks) to plan prior to the end of interrupted days.

  13. Information on Certified Office Copies (COCs) and payments and refunds added.

  14. We have confirmed the continuation of our Interrupted Days period. We have also confirmed the suspension of posting out of documents and notifications.

  15. We have confirmed the switching off of our fax service.

  16. Information on requests under section 23 (permission to file patent applications abroad) or for section 22 applications in general added.

  17. First published.