Adv. Rory Voller, Commissioner of CIPC, has on 24 March 2020 issued a formal notice advising that, in anticipation of the national COVID-19 lockdown that is to come into effect at midnight on Thursday 26 March 2020, CIPC will be closed to the public for business from Wednesday 25 March until Thursday 30 April 2020.
The dates from Wednesday 25 March 2020 until Thursday 30 April 2020 inclusive will be regarded as dies non for the purposes of the following Acts:
- Trade Marks Act No. 194 of 1993
- Patents Act No. 57 of 1978
- Designs Act No. 195 of 1993
- Registration of Copyright in Cinematograph Films Act No. 62 of 1977
The deadline for responses to all official communications from CIPC, extensions of any time periods, and documents relating to legal proceedings will therefore automatically be extended to 1 May 2020. Furthermore, as Friday 1 May 2020 is a public holiday in South Africa, the first day on which CIPC will be fully operational will be Monday 4 May 2020. Consequently deadlines are all in effect extended until 4 May 2020.
In addition, as from 16:00 on Tuesday 24 March 2020:
- No CIPC IP systems (whether internal or external), including eFiling facilities, will be available;
- No manual lodgements of documents will be possible;
- No requests nor any emails will be attended to;
- The electronic query system (QRS) will be unavailable; and
- The CIPC Call Centre will be offline.
In addition the notice states that no Patent Journal will be published for March 2020. Although no mention is made of the April Patent Journal, given that CIPC will be closed for that entire month, it is likely that the next Patent Journal will only be published in May 2020.
Further updates will follow as and when more details are to hand.