UPDATE: IPONZ and IP Australia services during COVID-19

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The Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand (IPONZ) and IP Australia both provide online services which will continue to be available during the COVID-19 lockdown. Each office’s core services such as filing correspondence and applications are continuing as normal.

IPONZ

IPONZ has advised that its existing commitment to flexible working means that its staff members already have the tools needed to work remotely. Members of the legal profession and the public will be able to deal with the office as usual.

If circumstances related to COVID-19 have affected the ability to meet a deadline, an extension of time may be requested. IPONZ have advised that it will treat any such request favourably.

IPONZ are closely monitoring incoming requests and dealing with any time-sensitive matters. IPONZ has given assurance that although responses related to these matters may experience delays, deadlines will be treated as having been conditionally met and IPONZ processing delays will be taken into account if further action is required.

Nonetheless we recommend that if a delay is indeed due to Covid-19, explanation regarding that should be provided and it not merely be assumed that mentioning Covid-19 will give you the extension of time you desire.

Further updates from IPONZ regarding COVID-19 can be accessed on its website here.

IP Australia

IP Australia has committed to processing requests and responding to enquiries as usual during this time. Changes to working arrangements have been adopted to ensure the safety of staff and ensure compliance with COVID-19 restrictions.

IP Australia recognises that the ability of applicants and their representatives to process applications may be impacted. If circumstances related to COVID-19 have affected the applicant’s ability to meet a deadline, an extension of time may be requested. The request must be accompanied by a declaration stating how the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak have interfered with the applicant meeting the deadline. Requests for waiver or refund of the fee for the extension of time will be considered on a case by case basis.

Hearings will be conducted by video conference, telephone or written submission. Parties who have scheduled face-to-face hearings will be contacted by IP Australia regarding these options.  We are already seeing hearings being scheduled by video conference and it would appear that hearings will go ahead if they can.

Further updates from IP Australia regarding COVID-19 can be accessed on its website here.

James & Wells is closely monitoring any developments and notifications from both IPONZ and IP Australia and will provided updates where necessary. Please get in touch with us if we can be of any assistance during the lockdown.