The Canadian Intellectual Property Office has just published notice of its decision to further extend the “designated days” period on account of continuing COVID-19 disruptions. Since the onset of the pandemic in Canada in early March, CIPO has issued nine such notices, effectively creating a “blanket extension” of all CIPO deadlines arising since then. This latest extension will expire on August 21, 2020, which means all deadlines falling between March 16 and August 23 will now come due on August 24—assuming, of course, they haven’t already been addressed.
In a departure from its prior notices, CIPO has indicated that this is the last blanket extension it intends to grant for the time being. However, CIPO’s standard extension practice notice does provide for extensions of time in ‘exceptional’ circumstances that are ‘beyond the control of the person concerned’, so it may be possible for applicants to obtain further extensions on individual matters. Some explanation of unique hardship, however, will likely be necessary to justify the extension request; pointing merely to the existence of the pandemic will likely not suffice. Careful, case-by-case consideration should be given to the deadline faced to ensure the appropriate response.