As everyone knows, the world is in the midst of a CoViD-19 / Corona Virus pandemic. The U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (“USPTO”) has announced that certain patent and trademark deadlines will be extended. This is pursuant to the Corona Virus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act”). The announcement was posted by the USPTO on its website (www.uspto.gov).
After President Trump declared a national emergency in light of the pandemic (on March 13, 2020), the USPTO determined that the circumstances have impacted the rights of applicants, registrants, and owners, including preventing them from performing filings and paying fees to the USPTO. The USPTO determined that the highly infectious virus, and its resulting Corona Virus Disease, has disrupted the operations of numerous businesses, law firms, and inventors. It noted that small businesses and independent inventors are particularly susceptible to challenges during this period.
Therefore, certain patent and trademark deadlines that were due between March 27 and April 30 have been extended by thirty (30) days. This includes deadlines for responding to USPTO notices or office actions, for paying issue fees or maintenance fees to the USPTO for patents or trademarks, for filing a statement of use for a trademark, or an affidavit of use for a trademark, for filing a notice of opposition for a trademark, for filing appellate materials (such as a notice of appeal, an appeal brief, or a reply brief, etc), and the like
However, to obtain a deadline extension, one has to submit a statement to the USPTO that the delay was due to the current pandemic. The statement will be proper only if the person(s) performing the filing were personally affected by the pandemic, such as by an office closure, from documents being inaccessible, experiencing financial problems, suffering from illness, or the like.
The USPTO’s offices are currently closed to the public. However, the USPTO is open for filing documents and is accepting payment of fees. Filings and feepayments can be made by the USPTO’s e-filing system, by U.S. mail, by fax, by hand delivery, etc
USPTO’s patent examiners and trademark examiners continue doing their work.
The deadlines for patent and trademark cases may get extended further, but of course that is not a certainty by any means. All such announcements should be posted by the USPTO on their website.
The U.S. Copyright Office (“USCO”), which is an entirely separate entity from the USPTO, has also extended its deadlines similar to the USPTO. However, patent and trademark activities before the USPTO, which are far more numerous and frequent than copyright activities before the USCO, are likely of greater and more urgent concern for applicants and their attorneys in the present environment.
You are encouraged to contact Mr. Eric Kohli at IP Law World, or another patent attorney, if you have questions or concerns regarding an upcoming patent or trademark deadline before the USPTO or a copyright deadline before the USCO. Mr. Eric Kohli is an experienced intellectual property attorney in Las Vegas (NV) who has extensive experience in Patents, Trademarks, and Copyrights.