covid-19 outbreakOn the 16th of April the European Patent Office (EPO) issued a further notice  concerning the disruptions due to the COVID-19 outbreak informing the users about the following:

As the state in which the European Patent Office is located, the Federal Republic of Germany, like many other Contracting States, is experiencing restrictions on the movement and circulation of persons, as well as on certain services, exchanges and public life in general, which can be qualified as a general dislocation within the meaning of Rule 134(2) EPC. Periods expiring on or after 15 March 2020 are extended for all parties and their representatives to 4 May 2020[ 2 ]. In accordance with Article 150(2) EPC this applies also for international applications under the PCT. 

Pursuant to Rule 134(5) EPC, any document received late will be deemed to have been received in due time if the person concerned offers evidence that on any of the ten days preceding the day of expiry of a period, it was not possible to observe the time limit due to this exceptional occurrence and that the mailing or the transmission was effected at the latest on the fifth day after the end of the disruption.

Further with the first notice from 15th of March –  the list of high-risk areas pointed out by the EPO contained: Austria, federal state of Tyrol; China, Hubei province (incl. the city of Wuhan); France, region of Grand Est (this region includes Alsace, Lorraine and Champagne-Ardenne); Germany: the Landkreis Heinsberg in North Rhine-Westphalia; Iran; Italy; South Korea, Gyeongsangbuk-do province (north Gyeongsang); Spain, Madrid.

As of 10 April 2020 countries and regions are no longer classified as international risk areas. Due to pandemic spread, there is a global risk of acquiring COVID-19.

For further information: https://www.epo.org/law-practice/legal-texts/official-journal/information-epo/archive/20200416.html

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