Last updated: 
25 May 2020

FAQs

What is a streamlined extension of time?

This is a new process to simplify extending the time to respond to an office deadline if you are affected by COVID-19.

  • You can request a free streamlined extension for a period of up to 3 months.
  • Requests for streamlined extensions must be made in eServices.  
  • All that is required is to tick the box in eServices to declare that you are unable to meet the deadline due to disruptions from the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Streamlined extensions are available for many (but not all) patents, trade marks and designs deadlines. Free extensions are also available to PBR applicants, please see the PBR FAQ page.
  • Streamlined extensions are available at no cost.

If you want to apply for a streamlined extension, please read the following information.

How do I apply for a streamlined extension?

Easy! Just follow these steps:

  • Go to eServices and select an extension of time for ‘circumstances beyond the control of the person’.
  • When prompted in eServices, tick the box to make a declaration that you are unable to meet the deadline due to disruptions from the COVID-19 pandemic.
    • You do not need to upload a declaration.
  • Complete your eServices request. No fee will be payable for the extension of time request. 

What periods can I use streamlined extensions for?

Streamlined extensions apply to any period that can currently be extended under our patents, trade marks and designs legislation, except for the period to pay renewal or continuation fees.

Note that there are also some periods that cannot be extended under the current legislation, either by streamlined or ordinary extensions.

Streamlined extensions are available for oppositions and hearings processes for patents, trade marks and designs, including periods to file evidence.

What periods can I not use streamlined extensions for?

The table below covers the periods that streamlined extensions do not apply to:

IP Right

What time periods are not able to be extended by streamlined extensions?

Patents

 

Renewals (note that a grace period is still available)

WIPO deadlines where IP Australia is acting as Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) Receiving Office (IP Australia in its capacity as an Office and Authority under the PCT also intends to follow the recommendations of WIPO contained in the recent interpretation of PCT Rule 82quater.1. Further information can be found on the WIPO website)

Patent attorney registrations and discipline

Applications for extension of the term of a patent

All time periods in matters before the courts or the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (contact those organisations directly to discuss your case).

Trade marks

Renewals (note that a grace period is still available)

Extensions of time for acceptance that are granted without requiring any reason for extension. Simplified extensions of time for acceptance in this period are still available if a declaration is made using the tick box – in eServices, select “Extension of Time (Other)”, instead of “Extension of Time for Acceptance”

WIPO deadlines where IP Australia is acting as Madrid Office of Origin (note that continued processing may be available from WIPO)

Meeting minimum filing requirements

Filing an application with convention priority (under the Paris Convention), and claiming convention priority

Filing a divisional application

Requesting renewal or registration outside the ‘grace period’

Amendment of an application before its particulars are published

Certain periods relating to border control measures and administered by the Australian Border Force (Customs) relating to trade marks on imported goods

Responding to a notice or advertisement by the Australia Competition and Consumer Commission in relation to an application for a certification trade mark

Periods relating to Headstart applications

Periods relating to trade marks attorney registrations and discipline

Time periods in matters before a Court or the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (contact those organisations directly to discuss your case)

Designs

 

Renewals (note that a grace period is still available)

Time periods in matters before a Court or the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (contact those organisations directly to discuss your case)

Does the new simplified extension of time process still involve IP Australia seeking representations from the other party in an opposition?

Yes. If the extension request relates to an action for which the legislation requires the other party to be given an opportunity to make representations, IP Australia would invite the other party to do so. Please note however, to ensure a speedy resolution, IP Australia will be allowing seven business days for the other party to make written representations only.

Do streamlined extensions apply to Plant Breeder’s Rights (PBR)?

No, although other measures are available which provide the same outcome (see PBR FAQs).

PBR does not have extension of time provisions like the other rights. However, the Registrar has discretion to allow further time for some actions at no cost to the applicant. IP Australia will be providing impacted customers with extra time for PBR actions where we can. Extra time would be available for:

  • Providing a detailed description of the plant variety
  • Period for grantee to establish a variety be declared an essentially derived variety
  • Providing an answer to an objection to an application for PBR
  • Period to submit evidence in objection proceedings.

Other actions may be able to be handled administratively on a case-by-case basis. In some cases, further time cannot be provided, such as filing of an application within the allowable prior sale period.

Please contact the PBR examiner or email the PBR office if you have concerns about timeframes.

What if I need to extend a period that is not covered by streamlined extensions?

You can apply for an ordinary extension of time if it is available under the existing patents, trade marks and designs legislation. However, you will have to pay the applicable fee. Where we have discretion we will seek to apply it.

For renewal fees there is a six month grace period after the renewal fee is due. You may want to rely on that. However, note that fees for late renewals would still apply.

What if I need to extend a period for longer than three months?

If a streamlined extension is available for the period you want to extend and you think you might want longer than three months, you can apply for a streamlined extension for three months now and then later on apply for an ordinary extension of time for a longer period if you need it.

Alternatively, you can still apply for an ordinary extension of time for a period longer than three months, if it is available under the existing patents, trade marks and designs legislation. However, you will have to pay the applicable fee. Where we have discretion we will seek to apply it.

How much does a streamlined extension cost?

They are free. No fee will be charged by eServices when you tick the box to declare you are unable to meet the deadline due to disruptions from the COVID-19 pandemic.

When do I need to file a streamlined extension by?

Streamlined extensions will be available from 22 April 2020 until 30 June 2020.

We are regularly reviewing the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and will assess whether streamlined extensions will be continued beyond 30 June 2020.

We will provide at least one week’s notice before ending the streamlined extensions. After the streamlined extensions are ended, extensions will still be possible for disruptions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but will not be actioned under the streamlined process.

Where do I find more information?

If you would like more information about streamlined extensions, or if you would like to know about other options, our online services and contact centre are available:

  • IP Australia Online Services available 24x7
  • Phone: 1300 651 010 (9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday) Canberra time
  • International: +61 2 6283 2999