- Published: 16 April 2020
Update! Opposition deadlines have been re-established as of May 26, 2020. Please see below.
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:
- Deadlines that are counted in business days are suspended. Counting the days will resume as soon as the IP Office opens.
- Deadlines that are counted in months, years or to an exact date are pushed until the next business day. i.e. the first day the IP Office resumes its activities.
- In general terms, we suggest complying with the regular deadlines unless there is an extraordinary delay as we expect a heavy traffic on the first day of 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.
- 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. Since deadlines are currently suspended, we estimate that we will have plenty of additional time to file the original document legalized with Apostille. In any case, due to the emergency we have waived our fees to request extensions.
- Priorities: Since the filings are online, priority applications must be filed timely. Deadlines to file the physical priority documents are suspended.
- These deadlines are counted in business days, so they are suspended during the lockdown. We may still respond to the Office actions online.
We have waived our fees to request extensions.
- The publication of the Official IP Gazette is currently suspended and will resume as soon as the IP Office reorganizes their remote work.
- Registration certificates are being issued electronically.
- Corrections need to be filed on paper and may be done when the IP Office resumes its activities.
- There is a regular grace period of 6 months after the expiration of the mark. If the expiration of the grace period falls during the lockdown, it will expire the next business day. Renewal applications may be filed online and the PoA may be filed belated.
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, and thus, suspended. 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 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 accepted for now, however all the originals must be submitted when we resume normal activity.
- Appeals: Deadlines for appeals are counted in business days and continue suspended.
- 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 do not offer online filing, so we need to prepare the filings and be ready to act as soon as they reopen.
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.