Latest update: 14 March 2020
We hereby inform respected clients that, as a consequence of the emergency situation caused by the worldwide COVID-19 outbreak, the procedures before the domestic courts, the Hungarian Intellectual Property Office, EUIPO, EPO and the WIPO will temporarily change as follows.
Regarding court proceedings, Art 1 of Government Decree 5/2020 (III.14.) announced extraordinary judicial pause in Hungary as of 15th March, 2020.
As opposed to regular, summer and winter judicial pauses there are no provisions in the Code of Civil Procedure relating to the extraordinary judicial pause, hence during this period we can rely on the legal instruments issued by the Government as well as the instructions and information of the judicial bodies, which we constantly monitor and keep our clients informed about.
Based on order No 35.SZ/2020. (III. 15.) OBHE of the President of the National Office for the Judiciary, during the extraordinary judicial pause courts hold no preparatory hearing, main hearing and public sessions. Urgent procedural events that require personal attendance must be held remotely, to the extent possible.
Order No. 37.SZ/2020. (III. 17.) OBHE provide detailed rules on the tasks courts continue to perform during the extraordinary judicial pause (e.g. writing down decisions, studying submissions, examining petitions and deciding on rejection where applicable, etc.).
Importantly, the above orders do not cover deadlines running or expiring during the term of the extraordinary judicial pause, since according to order 39/2020. (III.18.) OBHE a separate piece of normative provisions is under preparation and will be announced shortly. In the meantime, in the view of our colleagues, the effective rules of the Code of Civil Procedure are applicable on running and expiring deadlines. We will of course inform those clients who are affected by such deadlines, without delay, once the respective legal provisions become available.
At the moment, in practice – as long as there is no effective legal provision to the contrary – the following are the most important information regarding intellectual property court proceedings, also taking into account our colleagues’ latest experiences with the courts’ orders in ongoing cases:
- Electronic communication with the Hungarian Courts is undisturbed, it remains fully possible to submit and receive court briefs and we continue of course to do so. Paper based filing with the courts are available through postal service and a collecting box at the courts’ premises.
- Deadlines given by the courts or following from procedural rules (e.g. appeal deadlines) are running normally, as long as there is no normative ruling to the contrary. In individual cases the court may decide on extending deadlines or announcing the interruption of the proceeding (which interrupts deadlines as well).
- All procedural acts that do not require a hearing or personal presence may and must be performed respectively, including e.g. preliminary injunction proceedings related to the infringement of trademarks or patents.
Hungarian Intellectual Property Office (HIPO)
From March 18th the HIPO is only reachable by email or phone
The administration is presently primarily advised to be made electronically (https://ugyintezes.sztnh.gov.hu/eBej2/step1) or by mail (1438 Budapest, Pf. 415.). The automatic terminal for the submission of documents is continuously available at the central building at 7, II. János Pál Pápa square and personal submission is also available here, with restricted opening: 10:00-12:00 on workdays.
The concerning notice of the HIPO is available here:
At the time of the publication of this notice, no decision has been taken to extend the time limits in proceedings pending before the Office. We will duly inform you herein once such decision is made.
European Patent Office (EPO)
On March 15, 2020, the EPO announced that time limits expiring on or after the date of the publication of said notice are extended to April 17, 2020. It was further announced that oral proceedings are either canceled or held via video conference. The continuously updated concerning Official EPO notices are available here:
European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO)
Based on the Decision No EX-20-3 of the Executive Director of the EUIPO of 16 March 2020 concerning the extension of time limits in the context of the COVID-19 emergency situation, all time limits expiring between 9 March and 30 April 2020 that affect all parties in proceedings before the Office is extended until May 1 which is practically May 4, Monday, since May 1 is a public holiday followed by a weekend).
The guidelines concerning the Executive Director’s Decision available at the EUIPO’s official website clarifies that the extension not only concerns the time limits set by the Office but also time limits provided by the EU Trade Mark Regulation and the Community Design Regulation and the respective implementing regulations (e.g. deadlines for oppositions, appeals, payments of official fees, renewals etc.), and even the 6 months priority deadline defined by the Paris Convention.
For more detailed information:
World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO)
In its Communication of 19 March 2020, WIPO drew the attention of users to changes in the regulation of the Madrid system concerning time limits as a consequence of the COVID-19 emergency situation (https://www.wipo.int/madrid/en/news/2020/news_0007.html), enabling the rectification of certain missed time limits. Offices of contracting states should inform the International Bureau of WIPO of the fact if they are not open to the public. A time limit that would expire on a day on which an Office is not open to the public expires on the first day after said Office is reopened.
The International Bureau of WIPO urges its clients to primarily use electronic communication in this special situation.
Further information is available here.
If you need any further information concerning the above, please contact us.