IP/IT & data protection

/IP/IT & data protection

1. Intellectual Property

European Union trademarks and designs:

EUIPO extension of all time limits due to expire between 9 March and 30 April 2020 to 4 May 2020. All time limits expiring between 1 May 2020 and 17 May 2020 are then extended until 18 May 2020.

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). For the sake of clarity, this expression covers:

  • Time limits set by any instance of the Office, in any proceeding before the EUIPO, including its Boards of Appeal
  • Time limits imposed directly by the EUTMR, the EUTMIR or the EUTMDR as well as CDR and CDIR

– including those originating from the Paris Convention or other International Treaties, and

– regardless of whether they are excluded from restitutio in integrum within the meaning of Article 104 (5) EUTMR and Article 67(5) CDR

– in particular, the following statutory time limits are covered by the extension: payment of the application fee, right of priority, exhibition priority, opposition period, payment of the opposition fee, request for renewal, filing of an appeal and of the statement of grounds, payment of the appeal fee, conversion, deferment of publication of design

However, the reference in the Decision to “proceedings before the Office” means that time limits that related to proceedings before other authorities are not covered by the extension, even if mentioned in the Regulation. This is in particular the case regarding the time limit for:

  • Bringing an action before the General Court against decisions of the Boards of Appel

French trademarks, designs and patents:

Order No. 2020-306 of 25 March 2020 relating to the extension of time limits during the period of public health emergency and the adaptation of procedures during the same period:

  • Postponement of all deadlines occurring in the period between 12 March 2020 and one month after the end of the state of public health emergency (i) to one month after the end of this period if the initial deadline was one month and (ii) to two months after the end of this period if the initial deadline was two months or more
  • Application of the order to all the time limits provided for in the Intellectual Property Code apart from those resulting from international agreements or European texts

– this postponement therefore concerns the deadlines for: opposing a trademark, paying a patent annuity, renewing a trademark or extending a design and to benefit from the corresponding grace period, filing an administrative or judicial appeal before the INPI, making observations from third parties or responding to a notification from the INPI.

– it does not concern the time limits: of priority for an international extension, of payment for the filing of a patent, for filing a supplementary protection certificate (supra-national rule)

  • Maintenance of the services provided by the Offices EUIPO and INPI (filings, registrations, renewals, oppositions) via their online services with strong invitation to do so to avoid bottlenecks at the end of the health emergency procedure

2. Technologies – Data protection

  • Personal data: an employer may invite its employees/agents to inform it of a suspicion of exposure to the virus and process the information collected with a view, in particular, to transmission to the health authorities. The employees/agents must inform their employer in case of suspicion. On the other hand, the employer cannot set up a systematic and generalized collection (prohibition of compulsory daily body temperature readings and collection of medical sheets or questionnaires from all employees/agents)
  • Cookies: postponement of the publication of the final version of the CNIL’s recommendations on cookies for advertising. The publication of the final version of this document, which was supposed to initiate a 6-month compliance period before the CNIL began its controls on the new rules of consent to cookies and other tracers, was initially scheduled for early April.
  • E-commerce: specific withdrawal periods provided for by the amending Order 2020-427 of 15 April 2020, derogating from the extension of the expired periods provided for by the Order of 25 March 2020

The time limit for withdrawal remains 14 days from receipt of the product. This 14-day period allowing the customer to withdraw is not affected in the event of late delivery.

The time limit for returning the product is covered by the extension of time limits. Taking into account the difficulties that consumers may encounter in returning products, due to traffic restrictions imposed by the containment, the customer has a period of 1 month and 14 days after the end of the period of sanitary emergency, to return the product. This date having been set on 23 May 2020, the customer will therefore have until 6 July 2020 to return the product. Provided, however, that the customer has notified his withdrawal within 14 days of receipt of the product.

Finally, the time limit to reimburse the customer remains 14 days from the notification of withdrawal. However, it should be possible for the seller to invoke the current rule according to which reimbursement can be deferred until receipt of the product or proof of return of the product. Refunds may therefore in some cases be made after 6 July.

3. Media – Entertainment

  • Cinema : application for distribution of a film that was scheduled for theatrical release during the period of containment related to the COVID-19 epidemic: possibility of broadcasting films scheduled for release after the closure of theatres on video-on-demand on a pay-per-view basis. Producers and distributors who wish to broadcast these films on video-on-demand on a pay-per-view basis for the first time are exempt from paying back “cinema” financial assistance as they would normally be required to do. A request must be addressed to the CNC via a form.