On April 9, the WIPO International Bureau issued a statement that interprets the current circumstance of global COVID-19 disruption as falling under PCT Rule 82quater.1 providing for excuse of delay in meeting PCT time limits (which may relate to the submission of documents and/or the payment of fees) due to reasons of force majeure. Namely, the current global pandemic should be considered to be a “natural calamity …. or other like reason”. The International Bureau of WIPO urges all PCT Offices and Authorities to likewise adopt this interpretation.
The International Bureau of WIPO will treat favorably any PCT Rule 82quater request made citing COVID-19 related issues and not require evidence to be provided that the virus affected the locality in which the interested party resides. Again, the International Bureau of WIPO urges PCT Offices and Authorities to do likewise.
Although this provision would not be an effective remedy in a situation in which an international application had lost its legal effect as a result of having been declared considered withdrawn, for example, for having failed to pay the appropriate fees within the prescribed time limit, the receiving Office of the International Bureau of WIPO has decided to delay the issuance of any such notifications until May 31, 2020.
Furthermore, the International Bureau of WIPO recommends that:
a. for at least one further month (potentially to be further extended), such notifications should only be issued in relation to deadlines which have expired over two months previously; and
b. receiving Offices waive the charging of late payment fees under PCT Rule 16bis.2.
See the full statement.