Given the exceptional circumstances and the heavy disruption caused by the COVID-19 crisis across the EU, the President of the CPVO has taken the decision to extend deadlines that fall in the period 17 March – 3 May included, until 4 May 2020 for parties to proceedings before the CPVO and the Board of Appeal.
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Extension of time limits in proceedings before the CPVO because of COVID-19
*** IMPORTANT NOTICE: Please be informed that, on 27 April 2020, the President ot the CPVO took a new Decision (the Decision) on the extension of time limits in proceedings before the CPVO which enters into force on 4 May 2020 regarding the payment of fees for technical examinations and of annual fees, pursuant to Article 8 and 9 of Commission Regulation (EC) 1238/95 (the Fees Regulation). As from the date of entry into force, this Decision repeals and replaces completely the decision of 6 April outlined below. For more info, click here.
On 6 April 2020 the President of the Community Plant Variety Office has taken a new decision concerning the extension of time limits for proceedings before the CPVO that fall in the period 17 March – 3 May included.
The new decision amends and replaces the previous decision published on 24 March, with the view to include deadlines for the payment of examination fees. Please note that we have removed the decision taken on 24 March, as well as the previous explanatory note to applicants, from the CPVO website given that the decision and explanatory note of 6 April take precedence.
Examination fees were not part of the decision on 24 March 2020 since the financial risk to include such fees were hard to assess on short notice. The CPVO has now made an assessment and has concluded that there is indeed a financial risk involved for the CPVO since the CPVO must pay the Examination Office for certain technical examination even if the application in the end is abandoned. The CPVO is however prepared to take such a risk for a limited period of time.
The Decision should contribute for parties to proceedings who need to make the necessary practical arrangements such as taking bridging loans and adapting their working methods in line with measures adopted by health authorities across the European Union.
The extensions apply in specific to:
- Payment of the application fee
- Payment of fees relating to technical examinations
- Payment of the annual fee
- Payment of fees for processing specific requests and fees laid down by the President
- Payment of Appeal fees
- Right of Priority
- Filing of a Notice of Appeal and of the Statement of Grounds
The extensions do not apply to:
- Time limits regarding the starting of technical examinations
- Submission of plant material for the conduct of technical examinations by Examination Offices
- Compliance with the novelty requirement
- Proceedings before other Authorities
- Time limits related to other subjects - i.e. subjects not dealt with by the Basic Regulation, the Proceedings Regulation or the Fees Regulation (such as employment or procurement and grants) or which relate to other matters (e.g. the governance of the Office).
You can download all documents below:
- Decision of the CPVO President taking effect as of 6 April 2020 - also available in German, French, Dutch, Spanish, Italian.
- Explanatory note detailing the practical aspects - also available in German, French, Dutch, Spanish, Italian.
- Frequently Asked Questions - also available in German, French, Dutch, Spanish, Italian.
The Office will continue using the time until 4 May 2020 to assess the evolution of the COVID-19 crisis and make all appropriate consultations and adjustments.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
The section below on Frequently Asked Questions relates to the Decision on the extension of time limits and associated postponement matters. The information provided under this section is liable to changes and updates depending on the CPVO’s evaluation of the ongoing Covid-19 situation. Therefore, you are advised to consult this section regularly. The information below was last updated on 7 April 2020. You can also download this FAQ in French, Italian, German, Spanish and Dutch at the bottom of this webpage.
Question 1: Postponement of technical examination
If I have a problem to submit material within the time-limit to submit plant material, can the DUS-test be postponed?
Answer: Yes, but you must send a written request to the CPVO before the end of the regular plant submission period. You should ask the CPVO for a short delay if you want the DUS-test to be carried out in the current growing period or for the test to be postponed for one year.
In the event that a short delay for plant submission has already been accepted by the CPVO for a DUS-test, a request for postponement of the DUS-test to the following growing period can still be made until the end of the agreed short delay.
Question 2: Extension to pay the fee for the technical examination
If I manage to submit material in time for it to be DUS-tested in the current growing period, can I get an extension to pay the fee for the technical examination?
Answer: You should try to pay the examination fee by the due date referred to in the debit note issued by the CPVO. If you are not able to do so, the Decision on the extension of time limits allows for the postponement of this fee until 4 May 2020.
Question 3: Extension to pay the fee for the technical examination to the next growing season
If the DUS-test is postponed to the following growing season, when shall I pay the fee for the technical examination?
Answer: The obligation to pay the fee for the technical examination will be postponed until the following growing season.
Question 4: Applicable amount of examination fee following new fees as from 1 April 2020
If the DUS-test is postponed, which amount of the examination fee will I be charged?
Answer: The amount of examination fees changed on 1 April 2020. The CPVO will apply the amount of the examination fee according to the date of application when the candidate variety was filed to the CPVO, and not when the DUS-test actually starts.
Question 5: Priority in case my variety is tested a year after another non-distinct variety
If my candidate variety has benefitted from a postponement of DUS-testing to the following growing season, what guarantees do I have that another very similar variety with a later application date (“later variety”) but with the DUS test started in 2020, will not be declared distinct from my variety (“earlier variety”)?
Answer: The CPVO already has a policy in place on any postponement of DUS-testing, whereby the application date of candidate varieties takes precedent in the decision on distinctness. If a positive technical report had been issued for the “later variety”, following a DUS test in 2020 and a grant of Community plant variety rights were to follow, then the CPVO would have to review its decision. Both the similar varieties would have to be grown in the DUS trial in the following growing season (2021) for the “earlier variety”; if they turned out not to be distinct, then the “earlier variety” would receive a positive technical report, whilst the “later variety” would be reissued with a negative technical report. If a Community plant variety right had already been granted for the “later variety”, then the title would be declared null and void.