On 13 May 2020, in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Hearings Office allowed parties to file unsworn evidence in order to meet an evidence deadline.
As COVID-19 lockdown restrictions have since been lifted, this direction will be discontinued at the expiry of the grace period set out below.
This update has also been reflected in our guidelines for Hearings under COVID-19:
During the next 3 month period, until 11.59pm on 14 July 2023, there will be a grace period where any party who files unsworn evidence will have a short opportunity to file the executed copy of the evidence.
After the expiry of the grace period (namely from 15 July 2023 onwards), unsworn evidence will no longer be admitted to a proceeding, and the applicable regulatory consequence (if any) will then come in effect.
Current unexecuted evidence
Evidence that has previously been filed in unsworn form will need to be executed as soon as reasonably practical and before the substantive hearing. The onus is on the party that filed the unsworn evidence to ensure executed copies are filed before the substantive hearing.
We consider that the existing extension provisions can be used for deponents/declarants who are unable to have their evidence sworn by the deadline.
The general guidance in our trade mark and patent pre-hearing directions continues to apply.