Given the extraordinary nature and consequences of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the Intellectual Property Protection Directorate in Qatar (IPO) announced that COVID-19 constitutes a force majeure event.

The IPO has already adopted several measures since the beginning of the outbreak, such as reducing the staff to 20 percent and controlling the number of customers visiting its departments. According to the circular, all official deadlines due after the Qatar announced COVID-19 outbreak will be extended until further notice. Accordingly, all original documents required to support new applications, oppositions, and responding to office actions, can be filed after the force majeure situation is over and without any liabilities or penalties for failing to submit such documents. However, it is worth noting that the reported measures do not apply to annuity fees deadlines and trademark renewal fees’ deadlines, as those must be paid within the terms provided for under their respective laws.

The IPO will be providing a very limited scope of services, namely, receiving new trademark and patent applications, collecting renewal and annuity fees, receiving notices of oppositions and responses to oppositions, and receiving responses to office actions (patents only). Moreover, other types of services like trademark clearance, verification of data, issuance of all kinds of certificates, receiving responses to office actions (trademarks), receiving applications for recordal of licenses, changes in ownership, etc., are either temporarily suspended until further notice or mostly interrupted.

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