On March 31, 2020, the KIPO announced that due to the devastating impact of COVID-19 worldwide, the deadline for submitting some documents relating to prosecution of pending applications for patent, utility model, trademark or design will be extended to April 30, 2020 by the ex officio authority. This is a precautionary measure to prevent applications from being invalid or rejected for failure to file required documents, such as responses to office actions issued by the KIPO, in a timely manner due to the direct or indirect impact of COVID-19 to the applicants or agents worldwide. This extension will be applied to all applications having a deadline between March 31, 2020 and April 29, 2020 and will extend, for example, the deadline for responding to notices for correction required by the KIPO, the deadline for responding to an Office Action, and the deadline for submitting a brief regarding an opposition of a trademark registration. In addition, it is not necessary to file a separate request for the extension, and there will be no official fees associated with this extension.
However, some deadlines explicitly prescribed under the Patent, Utility Model, Trademark and Design protection Acts or which may impact or give a rise to a dispute for the involved parties are not subject to the aforesaid extension. Specifically, the deadline for entering the national phase for a PCT international application, requesting examination, requesting continued examination or appealing a Final Rejection, filing an opposition against a trademark application, or responding to an Office Action of an International trademark registration through the Madrid System and deadlines related to an appeal against the IPTAB’s decision are excluded from the extension granted by the ex officio authority.
In addition, KIPO announced that if the applicant or the agent additionally requests for the extension of the deadline, such an extension will be accepted if the applicant or the agent demonstrates that it is requested due to the impact of COVID-19.