The Ukrainian PTO has recently announced that it continues to work in a normal mode. The PTO may not be fully staffed as usual, but online filings are still working (most employees are working remotely), as long as there is Internet connection. On February 28, the Ukrainian Chamber of Commerce and Industry announced that martial law was introduced in Ukraine at 5:30 a.m. on February 24, 2022 for the term of 30 days, and that due to force majeure circumstances, missed business-related deadlines can be extended or restored.
Unfortunately, before the introduction of the martial law in Ukraine, there had been no specific legal provisions in Ukrainian laws governing the consequences of the events of force majeure, particularly regarding the operation of governmental agencies. For this reason, there is a high level of uncertainty regarding missed deadlines. So far, the Ukrainian PTO has not issued instructions in this regard. We assume that any future regulations or directives will follow international practice, so it is safe to assume that any deadlines falling during the period when martial law is in force, shift to the date on which the martial law ends. However, a number of technical questions remain open, such as the “transitory period” during which the obligations have to be met after the end of the events of force majeure and the deadlines restored, and other formalities, such as requests for reinstatement.
Russia and Belarus
In Russia and Belarus, the PTOs and other local authorities are working as usual and deadlines and terms are valid. However, several courier companies, including DHL, UPS and FedEx have suspended delivery to/from Russia and Belarus. Therefore, the situation may not allow for the submission of original, paper documents.
The sanctions on Russia have also impacted banks and ability to send funds in and out of these jurisdictions – it is possible to send payments from foreign banks only if the bank of the foreign associate in Russia or Belarus is not under the EU or US sanctions. There should be no immediate danger of loss of IP rights, as official fees can usually be paid up to six months post filing.