Effects of the coronavirus on our office and customers

Page updated 19 October 2020

We apologise for any inconvenience caused.

We aim to process notifications and applications normally. Our staff is telecommuting.

Due to the coronavirus, companies, associations and other organisations have more limited opportunities than usual to fulfil their obligations to authorities. Now it is important to follow the guidelines of the Government and authorities.

On this page, you will find information on how the coronavirus affects

Our customer service

We provide customer service normally. Our customer service point in Helsinki is open Mon-Fri from 12.00 to 16.15 until further notice. See the contact details of the customer service.

We recommend that you use our online filing services to submit notifications and applications whenever possible. Our online filing services are available at the prh.fi website in section Online services. Please note that some of the services are only available in Finnish and in Swedish. Go to the Online services page.

Deadlines for notifications submitted to the Finnish Trade Register

Some notifications must be filed with the Finnish Trade Register by a specific deadline.

Between 1 May and 30 September 2020, a temporary act was in force (Act on temporary deviation from the Limited Liability Companies Act, the Limited Liability Housing Companies Act, the Co-operatives Act, the Associations Act, and certain other corporate acts to restrict the spread of the Covid-19 epidemic; 290/2020). Based on the temporary act, general meetings could be postponed until 30 September 2020, under certain conditions.

Financial statements

Most companies must file their financial statements with the Finnish Trade Register. For example, limited liability companies and co-operatives must file their financial statements with the register within eight months from the end of the financial period. Go to our instructions on financial statements.

Companies whose financial period ended within the period from 30 September 2019 to 31 March 2020 can file their financial statements after the deadline laid down by law, if the ordinary general meeting was postponed due to the coronavirus. A postponement was possible based on the temporary act. Read more about how the temporary act affects the deadline for filing financial statements.

Other notifications with a deadline

In some cases, companies must file a decision with the Finnish Trade Register by a deadline so that the decision will not expire. They include decisions on reduction of the share capital in limited liability companies and decisions on reorganisation of a business (merger, demerger or change of company type). Their deadline is laid down by law.

The temporary act was in effect from 1 May to 30 September 2020. Under the temporary act, the exception allowing a postponement of the ordinary general meeting also applied to other deadlines for general meetings laid down by law..

General meetings of companies and regular meetings of associations

Based on the temporary act in force from 1 May to 30 September 2020, limited liability companies, housing companies, co-operatives, associations and certain other organisations could postpone their general meetings and annual meetings until 30 September 2020 at the latest, under certain conditions.

For meetings during autumn 2020 and spring 2021, it is still possible to appoint a representative and use remote participation, under certain conditions. A new temporary act allows this, which is in force from 3 October 2020 to 30 June 2021 (Act on temporary deviation from the Limited Liability Companies Act, the Co-operatives Act, the Associations Act, and certain other corporate acts to restrict the spread of the Covid-19 epidemic; 677/2020). However, meetings based on legislation, the articles of association of a company or the rules of an association can no longer be postponed.

Representatives can always be appointed for meetings in limited liability companies, co-operatives and housing companies. Under the law, the board of directors is entitled to organise remote participation if there are no restrictions in the articles of association or by-laws. Provisions on remote participation in limited liability companies are given in chapter 5, section 16 of the Finnish Limited Liability Companies Act.

Under the Finnish Associations Act, proxies and remote participation can be used in associations if the association rules allow it. Provisions on remote participation are given in section 17 of the Finnish Associations Act. According to the new temporary act, the executive committee of an association can allow remote participation in an association meeting that is held on 30 June 2021 at the latest, even if such an arrangement is not allowed in the rules and the association has not approved voting and elections rules, as referred to in the law, for this purpose.

More information about meeting arrangements is available on the websites of the Ministry of Justice and, for example, the Finnish Real Estate Federation. Association guides published online provide information about meetings and other aspects of the internal activities of associations.

Validity of meetings and decisions

The validity of decisions made at meetings depend on how well the connections and other technical solutions used for remote participation work.

Under the Finnish Associations Act, Housing Companies Act, Limited Liability Companies Act and Co-operatives Act, the court has considered a decision to be invalid usually when legal action has been brought on the basis of a formal error affecting the content of the decision.

To be able to anticipate validity, you can determine in advance the support that is sufficient for a majority for the proposed decisions to be handled at the meeting. Usually you can estimate the majority on basis of participation in previous meetings.

Closing a limited liability company

If you are planning to close down your company, please note that it is not sufficient to simply submit a notification to the Finnish Trade Register.

A limited liability company can be closed down, in other words dissolved, by going through any of the following procedures: going into liquidation, bankruptcy, merger or demerger. Go to our instructions on closing a limited liability company.

Changing the company’s place of registered office

Companies must file a separate notification about changing their place of registered office with the Trade Register. Change of address and contact details is not sufficient.

Some companies are able to change their place of registered office by changing their articles of association, rules, or partnership agreement.

Deadlines for trademarks and designs

The deadlines for filing material or statements, or for correcting deficiencies, are set out in the Finnish Trademarks Act. Therefore, we cannot change the deadlines.

The deadlines for filing material or statements, or for correcting deficiencies, are set out in our design right regulations. In this situation, we consider that there is no need to change the regulations.

We will take into account the exceptional situation caused by the coronavirus when we consider deadline extensions. This means we extend deadlines more easily if the customer cannot act by the deadline due to the coronavirus. Customers must pay an extension fee for each extension request.

We cannot extend deadlines that are absolute, for matters like renewing trademark or design registrations or submitting oppositions against registered trademarks or designs.

Decisions and documents relating to trademarks and designs

We currently send our decisions relating to trademarks and designs by email if you have given us your email address. Reply to our email to let us know that you have received it. Please note that an automatic reply is not sufficient.

We also send by email decisions requiring verifiable notification. They include decisions that you can appeal against and for which the appeal period begins from the receipt of the decision (for example decisions of refusal). We also publish a notification about the decision in the Trademark Gazette. The date of publication of the gazette is the date of notification.

We send the decision by post if it is not possible to send it by email or if we do not receive an acknowledgement of receipt from the customer. We currently send decisions by post twice a week.

We recommend that you use our online services to file documents with us. You can use the services for instance to send replies or further material relating to pending applications or oppositions. Please note that some of the services are only available in Finnish and in Swedish.

Deadlines for patents and utility models

The deadlines for matters like responding to an office action or filing statements are set out in our Patent Regulations and Utility Model Regulations. We can, at the request of the applicant, extend the deadline for special reasons.

If you cannot meet the deadline because of the coronavirus, we consider it a special reason. Submit your request and a statement of reasons before the deadline to get an extension.

If the deadline is laid down by law, for instance concerning due dates of annual fees, priority year, or validation of European patents in Finland, we cannot extend the deadline.

If an applicant suffers a loss of right, they can request restoration of rights as set out in the Finnish Patents Act and Act on Utility Model Rights (section 71a of the Patents Act and section 26a of the Act on Utility Model Rights).

Preventing money laundering

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) combats money laundering, terrorist financing, and financing of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction through international co-operation.

FATF has published a statement about COVID-19 and measures to combat illicit financing. Go to the FATF website to read the statement.

Auditor oversight

We provide service in auditor oversight matters as usual despite the coronavirus. For further information, please contact us by email at tilintarkastusvalvonta(at)prh.fi.

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Latest update 19.10.2020