Suspension plazos

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One of the consequences of the state of emergency declared by the Government through Royal Decree 463/2020, for the management of the COVID-19 health crisis  (the “Royal Decree”) is the suspension of judicial and administrative deadlines.

Suspension of judicial procedural deadlines

The Second Additional Provision of the Royal Decree establishes the suspension of deadlines and the suspension and interruption of procedural periods provided in the procedural laws for all courts. Calculation of those deadlines and periods will resume once the Royal Decree and any extensions to it are no longer in effect.

In criminal jurisdiction, this suspension and interruption will not apply to: (a) habeas corpus proceedings, proceedings of on-call or duty services, proceedings involving detainees, restraining orders, urgent penitentiary supervision proceedings, and precautionary measures in matters of gender-based violence and violence against minors; and (b) any urgent proceedings that cannot be delayed during the investigation stage as imposed by judges or courts.

In addition, this interruption will not apply to proceedings for: (a) protection of fundamental rights (Spanish Act 29/1998, governing the contentious-administrative jurisdiction; (b) collective labor disputes and protection of fundamental rights and freedoms; (c) judicial approval of involuntary hospitalization for mental health disorders (article 763 of the Spanish Civil Procedure Act); and (d) measures or provisions for the protection of minors under section 158 of the Spanish Civil Code.

However, a judge or court may authorize any court proceedings necessary to prevent irreparable harm to the legal rights and interests of parties to the proceedings.

Suspension of administrative deadlines

In its Third Additional Provision, the Royal Decree establishes the suspension of deadlines and interruption of periods in procedures of public sector entities, which will resume once the Royal Decree and any extensions to it are no longer in effect.

This suspension and interruption will apply across the public sector, as defined in Spanish Act 39/2015, on Common Administrative Procedures for the Public Administration.

However, the competent public entity will be able to agree to the adoption of any measures on management and investigation it considers strictly necessary to prevent serious harm to the rights and interests of those involved in the proceedings, as long as the parties agree to such measures or that a time period will not be suspended.

Statute of limitations and prescription

The Royal Decree also establishes (Fourth Additional Provision) that statute of limitations and prescription for any actions and rights will be suspended while the state of emergency or any extensions to it remain in effect.

Measures taken by the Patent and Trademark Office

The Spanish Patent and Trademark Office (“OEPM”) has adopted a series of measures to allow continuation of telephone and online services for the public and to allow continuation of the procedures available online, according to the OEPM website.

For its part, the European Union Intellectual Property Office (“EUIPO”) has released a statement describing the measures implemented after declaration of the state of emergency in Spain, and it specifies that it has enabled a continuity protocol for its online services. The office has announced that, as far as possible, business will be conducted as usual to ensure uninterrupted services for users.

Trademark and design applications will continue to be accepted, examined and published, and the EUIPO will continue to send communications, bulletins, etc. According to a decision adopted by the Executive Director of the EUIPO, all deadlines for procedures due to expire between March 9 and April 30 (both included) are extended until May 1, 2020.

Data Protection guidelines

The Spanish Data Protection Agency (“AEPD”) has published a series of criteria and reports on data processing in the context of the coronavirus outbreak, and we have reported on those contents here.

Today, the European Data Protection Board has also published a statement, in line with the previous announcement by the AEPD, describing the legal basis for processing personal data in this situation.

Gambling regulation

The General Office on Gambling Regulation has not issued any official statement to date. However, the deadlines applicable to this agency are subject to the general suspension of administrative deadlines.

We will continue to report on any new developments and any measures adopted while the state of emergency remains in effect.

By Claudia Morgado / IP Team

This post is also available in: Español

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claudia.morgado@cuatrecasas.com