COVID-19 Intellectual Property Office Policy – Australia and New Zealand

Intellectual property offices of many jurisdictions worldwide have put into place special provisions during the COVID-19 pandemic. A useful policy tracker has been compiled by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) at the following link:

Here we provide a concise summary of relevant information for the Australian (IP Australia) and New Zealand (IPONZ) offices.

IP Australia

IP Australia has remained open and functioning essentially as normal during the COVID-19 pandemic. There have been no changes to office hours, although most staff are working remotely.

New and existing applications continue to be processed without major disruption. Hearings and oral proceedings continue to be conducted by video or teleconference, or written submission. However, deferral of these proceedings may be requested in view of COVID-19 circumstances.

It is also notable that a streamlined process for extension of time requests is available through IP Australia until at least 31 May 2020. A three (3) month extension of time for most patent, trade mark, and registered design deadlines (although not renewal deadlines) is available without official fees, and subject to a simple statement that the deadline cannot be met due COVID-19-related disruption.  

New Zealand

IPONZ has also remained open and functioning during the COVID-19 pandemic. New and existing applications are being processed, and provisions to allow for hearings and oral proceedings are in place.

IPONZ has advised that requests for deadline extensions on the basis of COVID-19-related issues will be viewed favourably. Additionally, IPONZ is proactively extending a number of patent deadlines, including deadlines to request examination, respond to examination reports, and achieve acceptance. Where a deadline is automatically extended by the office, official notification will be provided. Further details can be found here:

In relation to hearings, IPONZ advises that automatic extensions to deadlines for submission of evidence are being provided. Additionally, policy is in place for alternative methods of providing oaths and statutory declarations. IPONZ is also accepting unexecuted evidence to meet deadlines, on the basis that formally executed documents are provided as soon as reasonably possible and before a decision is issued. Further details can be found here:


Both Australia and New Zealand have continued processing most IP matters during the COVID-19 pandemic without major disruption. Additionally, relatively accommodating extension provisions are available in both Australia and New Zealand, where applicants or their representatives are experiencing difficulty meeting deadlines given the current very challenging circumstances.

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