- Published: 16 April 2020
Update! All intellectual property deadlines have been re-established as of July 16, 2020.
Dear Clients and Friends,
Due to the sanitary emergency caused by COVID-19, the Ecuadorian government declared a total lockdown, meaning that all courts and government agencies, including the IP Office, closed indefinitely and the deadlines suspended. Nevertheless, work continues remotely, and agencies will slowly start reopening services.
At BERMEO & BERMEO our main priority is the health of our team, the society and our clients. Since we have the software and capability to do most of our work remotely, we have developed a COVID-19 contingency plan in order to actively and continuously attend to all your requirements, guaranteeing business continuity and quality service:
- The IP Office will end the suspension of deadlines and the new dates will start to be recalculated as from July 16, 2020.
- Deadlines that are counted in business days will resume counting.
- Deadlines that are counted in months, years were interrupted and will now resume counting. In some matters it is currently unclear whether the suspended months count toward the deadline, or the deadline is just pushed to July 16.
- In general terms, we suggest complying with the regular deadlines with plenty of time unless there is an extraordinary delay. We expect heavy traffic on the first day and key dates at the IP Office.
- Trademark clearance and knockout searches are being done in our proprietary software since the IP Office does not have an online database.
- Some files are very old and there is the need to access the physical files at the IP Office, these will be suspended until they reopen.
- Design searches. These searches may be done in private databases as access to the files continues to be restricted. Reliability of the results is limited.
- New filing instructions are received and processed normally online but not all the procedure is electronic, so we are working in batches to minimize the mandatory visits to the bank.
- Power of Attorney: A PoA may be filed belated within 60 days of the IP Office request. The deadlines have now resumed, and will be calculated from July 16, 2020.
- Considering the large number of deadlines, if documents are not received when the deadline approaches, we will automatically request an extension free of charge.
- Priorities: Priorities that lapsed during the suspension will be due on July 16, 2020. Deadlines to file the physical priority documents are now reestablished.
- These deadlines are counted in business days. The days from from March, 15 to July, 15 are NOT considered business days.
- If deadlines approach, we have waived our fees to request extensions, so we will request them automatically.
- The publication of the Official IP Gazette has been resumed.
- Registration certificates are being issued electronically.
- Corrections need to be filed on paper and may be done when the IP Office resumes its physical activities.
- There is a regular grace period of 6 months after the expiration of the mark. If the expiration of the mark expired during the suspension, the grace period will start running from July 16, 2020.
- It is still unclear what happens for grace period that expired during the suspension, so we strongly suggest filing the applications by July 16.
UPDATES OF OWNERSHIP
- Applications to record Changes of name, address or assignments may be also be filed electronically, and the PoA belated.
- These deadlines are counted in business days. The days from from March, 15 to July, 15 are NOT considered business days. If we do not receive instructions, we may request extensions at NO additional cost.
- Renewal and recordal certificates are still being issued on paper. There was a strong delay before the emergency, this is something the IP Office may progress while working remotely so we are coordinating to accelerate this process.
OPPOSITIONS & LITIGATION: New Opposition Deadlines!
- Opposition deadlines have been reestablished as from May 26, 2020. You may see the updated list of deadlines for the gazettes that had their deadlines suspended below:
- While these are the new final deadlines, we will need your instructions well in advance in order to prepare all the paperwork.
- Oppositions, evidence, arguments and appeals are filed online. Once the IP reopens, we will file a paper confirmation before the extended deadline to make sure that the paper file is accurate since the decision is issued based on the physical files.
- Scanned documentation is still accepted, however all the originals must be submitted when we resume normal activity.
- Appeals: Deadlines for appeals are counted in business days, counting will resume on July 16.
- Infringement actions: These actions may be filed online; however, we expect long delays before these are served on the other parties or the inspections are granted.
- Most deadlines are counted in business days. Courts have partially resumed activities from June 15,2020. Online filings are now available.
While this is a summary for general information purposes, each matter needs to be reviewed on a case by case basis, this is not intended to be and should not be taken as legal advice.
All matters are receiving our attention, and we will personally make sure that urgent and special matters are dealt with the highest priority.
Finally, we know that distancing ourselves today is the best way to take care of each other, however our commitment is to work day by day so that you can feel us closer.