The COVID-19 pandemic affects the conduct of the court and administrative proceedings before Polish courts and public authorities. This also applies to the proceedings conducted by the Polish Patent Office, which are subject to specific provisions introduced by an amendment to the special law on preventing, preventing, and combating COVID-19. This includes Article 31j of the amendment according to which in the period from 8 March to 30 June 2020, deadlines set for:
do not start and if started shall be interrupted.
Deadlines for taking these actions will, therefore, start again on 1 July 2020. This does not mean, however, that these actions cannot be taken within the specified period (i.e. from 8 March to 30 June 2020). They can and, if they are, they will be considered valid and effective.
Additionally, the proceedings conducted before the Polish Patent Office are subject to the general provisions of the said amendment providing changes to the limitation periods and deadlines set by the law for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic (Article 15zzr sec. 1 and 5 and Article 15zzs sec. 1 point 1 and 6). Under these provisions, for the duration of the epidemic/state of emergency announced by the Polish government due to COVID-19, the material, and procedural deadlines do not start to run and if started shall be suspended for that period.
This means that, unlike the deadlines for filing the opposition against a trademark application and validating the European patent, other deadlines specified in the industrial property law (such as the deadline for payment of a relevant fee, the deadline for remedying defects of the submitted application, or the deadline for submission of a proof of priority) running upon the entry into force of the amendment to the special law re. COVID-19 (i.e. on 31 March 2020) were not interrupted, but suspended for a duration of the epidemic/state of emergency related to COVID-19. And when it comes to the deadlines that had not begun to run before 31 March 2020, the rule is the same as in the case of the opposition and validation. Namely, these deadlines were halted. However, this happened not for a given prescribed period (i.e. from 8 March to 30 June 2020), but for an unspecified duration during which the COVID-19-related-epidemic/state of emergency will be announced in Poland.
Moreover, the work of the disputable issues’ boards operating in the Polish Patent Office has been suspended until further notice.
For more detailed information or legal assistance, please contact a DT lawyer.