Changes related to the administration before the domestic courts, HIPO, EUIPO, EPO and the WIPO

Latest information as of 5 May 2020, 5pm

We hereby inform you that in view of the epidemiological situation caused by the Covid-19 virus, the administration before the domestic courts, the Hungarian Intellectual Property Office, EUIPO, EPO and the WIPO will change as follows.

Hungarian courts

Pursuant to the Government Decree no. 74/2020 (III. 31.) on certain procedural law measures during the period of emergency, which entered into force at 3 pm on March 31, 2020, the courts operate continuously during the period of the emergency, the extraordinary court break has been terminated. The courts therefore operate during the emergency, but measures to protect the health of court staff and clients in the epidemiological situation shall continue to be complied with. Based on the above, clients are still not allowed to enter the court buildings as a general rule and personal client reception is also suspended at the management offices. The court shall, as far as possible, conduct the proceedings by means of an electronic communications network or other means capable of transmitting electronic images and sound.

The Government decree no. 74/2020 (III.31.) on certain procedural measures applicable during the emergency situation regulates in detail among many other procedural issues the rules governing civil litigation and judicial out-of-court proceedings. According to this, the deadlines are not affected by the emergency. The case initiation shall be conducted without a case initiation hearing, while the substantive hearing shall, as far as possible, be conducted by means of an electronic communications network or other means appropriate for transmission of electronic images and sound. If the conditions for doing so are not met, the court shall obtain the statements to be presented at a hearing in writing.

In litigation proceedings, the proceeding may be stayed in an unlimited number upon mutual request of the parties. If the court orders provisional measures before the lawsuit is commenced, the time-limit for initiating a lawsuit shall start on the day after the end of the emergency situation. The court may request only written submissions from the parties while adjudging the provisional measure.

In appeal and review procedures, the parties may not request a hearing, and the court may decide to adjudge the case outside a hearing even if a hearing was already set out upon an earlier submitted request.

The decree also states, with regard to out-of-court notarial proceedings, that the time-limits are not affected by the emergency situation, unless the decree provides otherwise. The notary may postpone any procedural act requiring personal attendance during the time of the emergency situation and the notary shall inform the persons concerned thereof. During the emergency situation the notarial deed, except of notarial deeds including testamentary disposition, may be read by a means of telecommunication capable of maintaining a continuous voice and video connection. In probate proceedings no hearing may be set ou during the emergency situation.

With respect to the order for payment procedures the payment order shall not be served until the end of the emergency situation and the time-limit for delivery begins to run again on the day following the end of the emergency situation.

In the case of administrative court proceedings, the time-limits are not affected by the emergency situation. Where a personal hearing is required, the declaration shall be obtained in writing. During the emergency, the court shall act without holding hearings.

The Government Decree shall also apply to proceedings already pending at the date of its entry into force. In civil and out-of-court proceedings as well as in administrative litigation and out-of-court proceedings and other administrative judicial proceedings, if the time-limit expires before the 15th day following the entry into force of this decree, the time-limit shall be extended until the 30th day following the entry into force of this decree.

Where, in civil and out-of-court proceedings, administrative and non-judicial proceedings and other administrative judicial proceedings, if the interruption of the proceedings was declared with reference to the extraordinary judicial break, the interruption of proceedings shall cease upon the entry into force of this decree. After the entry into force of this decree, a decision on interruption may be taken in accordance with the legal provisions applied with the derogations of this decree.

For more information please check the below links (information in Hungarian)

Government decree no. 74/2020. (III. 31.) on certain procedural measures applicable during an emergency situation

Customer information

Hungarian Journal, Official Gazette

Hungarian Intellectual Property Office

The Hungarian Intellectual Property Office suspended its in person customer service from 18 March 2020 on (1054 Budapest, Akadémia utca 21.). From 16 March 2020 on for an indefinite period of time the in person consultations with the officials / examiners are also suspended; HIPO's colleagues are only available via email or telephone.

Any administration is advised to be made electronically (https://ugyintezes.sztnh.gov.hu/eBej2/step1) or by post (1438 Budapest, Pf. 415.). The automatic terminal for the submission of documents is still available at the central building at II. János Pál Pápa square 7 and personal submission is also available at the central building.

The time limits which were set by HIPO to rectify irregularities and/or submit comments and which expire on 31 March 2020, the date of entry into force of Government Decree 74/2020 (31 March) on certain procedural measures applicable during the period of state of danger, or following that date, will be automatically extended until 2 June 2020 without any individual measure or notification to that effect. Up to this point in time the Office will not apply any sanctions for failure to comply with the aforementioned time limits.This measure does not affect time limits which expire after 2 June 2020.

At the same time, it is important to emphasize that the HIPO does not have the possibility to extend the time-limits set by the laws on industrial property rights. In case of failure to meet these deadlines, an application for excuse may be submitted. Please note that in case of requests for alteration this extension of deadlines is not valid, so the 30-day legal deadline shall apply.

You can find more information about the emergency measure taken at HIPO due to the coronavirus here (in English) and about the deadlines here (in Hungarian).

European Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO)

In its decision of March 16, 2020, EUIPO ordered the extension of all deadlines between March 9, 2020 and April 30, 2020 until May 1, 2020.

On 29 April 2020, in Decision No EX-20-4, the Office’s Executive Director further extended until 18 May all time limits expiring between 1 May 2020 and 17 May 2020.

For further information please click here.

In its second press release EUIPO clarified that 1 May 2020 means 4 May 2020 in practice, since 1 May is a public holiday, followed by a weekend, and that the reference to ‘all time limits’ is to be read literally and encompasses all procedural deadlines, irrespective of whether they have been set by the Office or are statutory in nature (i.e. are stipulated directly in the Regulations). EUIPO pointed out as well that the expression ‘proceedings before the Office’ only relates to trade mark and design matters, which means that time limits related to subjects not dealt with by the EUTMR or the CDR.

European Patent Office (EPO)

On March 15, 2020, the EPO announced in a formal announcement that periods expiring on or after the date of the publication of this notice are extended for all parties and their representatives to 17 April 2020. The above period may be further extended by the publication of another Notice in case the dislocation extends beyond the aforementioned date.

For further information please visit the official webpage of EPO.

World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO)

In its Communication of 19 March 2020, WIPO drew the attention of users to the regulation of the Madrid system on time limits.

The users of the Madrid System who have failed to meet a timelimit for a communication addressed to the International Bureau of WIPO may be excused if they send that communication within five days after regaining access to mail or delivery services or to electronic communication.In any event, the International Bureau of WIPO must receive the communication no later than six months from the date on which the timelimit concerned expired.

Holders or applicants who have failed to meet certain timelimits may request that the International Bureau of WIPO continue processing the international application, subsequent designation, payment or request concerned.They may request continued processing without giving any reason or providing any evidence.

Offices of Contracting Parties should inform the International Bureau of WIPO of the fact that they are not open to the public. A period that expires on a day on which an Office is not open to the public would expire on the first subsequent day on which that Office reopened.

The International Bureau of WIPO strongly encourages applicants, holders, their representatives and Offices, to use electronic communication.

For further information please click here.

If you need any further information, please contact us.