Effects of the coronavirus on our office and customers

Page updated 7 April 2020

We are prepared to carry out our duties as an authority despite the coronavirus outbreak. We aim to process notifications and applications normally. Our staff is telecommuting.

We apologise for any inconvenience caused.

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.

We will update this page when necessary. Here you will find information on how the coronavirus affects

Our customer service

We provide customer service normally, but our customer service point in Helsinki is closed until further notice. See the contact details of the customer service.

You can send paper notifications by post or leave them in our mailbox on the wall.

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. Go to the Online services page.

Deadlines for notifications submitted to the Finnish Trade Register

If the notification is incomplete or contains errors, we will send an invitation to correct the notification to the company or its representative. Usually the notification expires if the company does not correct the notification by the deadline.

Due to the exceptional situation caused by the coronavirus, the notifications that are now being corrected will not expire and the deadline is now 31 May 2020.

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

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.

We charge a fee of 85 euros if the company files its financial statements late, in other words after the deadline set out in the law. Due to the exceptional situation caused by the coronavirus, we now extend the deadline for filing by one month before we send the invoice for the fee.

The late filing fee applies to financial statements for financial periods ending on or after 1 January 2019.

Go to our instructions on 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.

As an authority, we do not have the power to extend the deadline for these notifications. It is in the company's interest to make sure that its registered details are up to date.

General meetings of companies and housing companies

We recommend companies and housing companies to look into the possibilities of using proxies or distance participation, or to postpone the meeting.

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

In limited liability companies, co-operatives and housing companies, the board of directors usually must estimate whether a postponement of the meeting would cause significant damage. In addition, the board of directors must find out whether the meeting can be held using distance participation and other arrangements but without unreasonable costs.

The Finnish Real Estate Management Federation and Finnish Real Estate Federation recommend housing companies to use remote access in general meetings during the coronavirus epidemic.

The Advisory Board of Finnish Listed Companies recommends listed companies to use distance participation and other means to hold the general meetings in a secure manner. Go to the statement of the Advisory Board of Finnish Listed Companies (in Finnish).

See the webpage of the Ministry of Justice about public gatherings. Go to the webpage of the Ministry of Justice.

Regular meetings of associations

Under the Finnish Associations Act, proxies and distance participation can be used if the association rules allow it. Provisions on distance participation are given in section 17 of the Finnish Associations Act.

Association guides published online give more information about distance participation and how associations operate.

Our office cannot take a stand on regular meetings of associations. Now it is important to follow the instructions of the Finnish government, the Emergency Powers Act, and health authorities.

We give advice and information on how to file notifications with the Finnish Register of Associations but not when it comes to meeting arrangements and how associations operate. We do not monitor how associations operate.

See the webpage of the Ministry of Justice about public gatherings. Go to the webpage of the Ministry of Justice.

Validity of meetings and decisions

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

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. We extend deadlines easier 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 the absolute deadlines for renewing trademarks and design registrations or for submitting oppositions against registered trademarks and registered designs.

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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 responding to an office action or for 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. The request, together with a statement of reasons, must be filed before the deadline the request concerns expires.

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).

Read our announcement on approval of electronic signatures.

EPO and WIPO: coronavirus updates

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 Unit

The Auditor Oversight Unit provides service and help normally despite the Covid-19 pandemic, but our customer service point in Helsinki is closed until further notice. For further information, please contact us by email at tilintarkastusvalvonta(at)prh.fi.

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Latest update 07.04.2020