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July 09, 2020

Vietnam and the UK temporarily decrease IP fees amidst COVID-19

The intellectual property offices of Vietnam and the UK have amended their fees for select IP matters to mitigate the difficulties faced by individual applicants and businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic by alleviating the pressure of funding protection of IP rights.

The reduced fees in Vietnam are in force as of May 26, 2020, and will remain effective until the end of 2020. The decreased fees are relevant to all applications during this period, including those which were filed prior to May 26, 2020.

The reductions are moderate and extend to fees which form a minor part of the total sum required to be paid in order for a trademark, design or patent application to be considered as filed. This also applies to fees for the grant of a certificate for any IP type, as well as annual or renewal fees. Applicants will be able to enjoy a discount of approximately 7% of the total sum which, for example, reduces the total cost of official fees for the filing of a trademark in one class with up to 6 goods/services from 44.40 USD to 41.70 USD. Following the same trend are the fees for extension of term to reply to an office action, grant of a certificate for assignment or license, and fee for requesting cancellation of a trademark or invalidation of a patent.

The UK intellectual property office has implemented similar temporary fee amendments in light of the COVID-19 circumstances. The revised fees will be effective between July 30, 2020 and March 31, 2021.

In order to assist applicants with missed deadlines due to COVID-19, the UK IPO has removed several fees and surcharge costs. These include the surcharge for late payment of the filing fee, which previously constituted 25% of the filing fee, as well as the fee for late payment of renewal.

In addition, the fees for making a late declaration of priority, reinstating a patent application, requesting an extension of time and the supplementary protection certificate (SPC) late payment fee have also fallen to zero. The fee for late declaration of priority is relevant to applications filed after the period of 12 months, however, the fee of 40 GBP for making a priority claim after filing in the UK remains in force.

With regard to trademarks, the request for an extension of time (prior to expiry), a request for an extension of time after the initial deadline, and a request for restoration of a lapsed trademark will now all constitute zero. The surcharge for late payment of the renewal fee is now 1 GBP. The renewal fee itself has remained unchanged.

Similarly, the late payment of a renewal fee for designs is also now zero, whilst the renewal fee remains the same. Additionally, the fee for requesting restoration of a lapsed design has also fallen to zero.

The reduction of IP fees in both Vietnam and the UK is a step which will no doubt assist those filing for and maintaining IP rights protection amidst the global pandemic and consequential economic circumstances. IP offices across the globe have taken steps to alleviate the harsh reality of sustaining IP during difficult times, with extensions of time, fee reductions, and accelerated examination implemented in several countries. It is hoped that with these relief efforts, the IP field will continue to flourish internationally.

Author: Danielle Carvey