The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) recently issued several Notices for new policies intended to help alleviate the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak on applicants and practitioners. These policies affect both patent-related and trademark-related matters. The USPTO has emphasized that it otherwise remains open for patent and trademark-related filings and related fees.
Extension of Patent and Trademark Deadlines
On March 31, 2020, the USPTO issued two Notices announcing waivers of most patent-related and trademark-related due dates between March 27 and April 30, including for due dates for filing documents and/or fees. These due dates will be extended for 30 days from the initial due date if a practitioner, applicant, patent owner, registrant, petitioner, third party requester, inventor, or other person associated with the filing or fee “was personally affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.” The March 31 Notices indicate that “personally affected” is intended to be read broadly and includes, without limitation, “office closures, cash flow interruptions, inaccessibility of files or other materials, travel delays, personal or family illness, or similar circumstances, such that the outbreak materially interfered with timely filing or payment.”
The Notices apply to many patent-related and trademark-related due dates, although two patent-related due dates (replies to pre-examination notices and failure to timely pay a maintenance fee) are restricted to small and micro entity applications. To take advantage of this 30-day extension, the filing or payment of the fee must be accompanied by a statement that the delay in filing or payment was due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
The full patent-related USPTO Notice regarding these extensions can be found here:
The full trademark- related USPTO Notice regarding these extensions can be found here:
Please contact us if you have questions about these extensions or if you would like to take advantage of these extensions in a particular matter.
Waiver of Petition to Revive Fees
As noted in our March 19 update, the USPTO announced on March 16 special procedures for reviving patent and trademark applications that may have been unintentionally abandoned as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. Specifically, if a patent application or reexamination proceeding became abandoned, or a trademark application or registration became abandoned or canceled/expired, because the practitioner, applicant, or at least one inventor, was personally affected by the COVID-19 outbreak, the USPTO will waive the petition fee associated with filing the necessary Petition to Revive. The USPTO did not provide any specific dates during which the abandonment must have occurred, but described that “the coronavirus outbreak that began in approximately January 2020” qualified as an “extraordinary situation” for affected applicants, patentees, reexamination parties, and registrants.
To take advantage of this petition fee waiver, a Petition to Revive must be promptly filed and must be filed not later than two months after the issue date of a formal notice of abandonment, termination, limitation, or cancellation, or not later than six months after the date the matter became abandoned, terminated, limited, or cancelled if no formal notice was issued. The Petition to Revive must also include the appropriate reply and a statement that “the delay in filing the reply required to the outstanding Office communication was because the practitioner, applicant, or at least one inventor, was personally affected by the Coronavirus outbreak such that they were unable to file a timely reply,” and include a copy of the USPTO Notice.
The full USPTO Notice regarding these petition fee waivers can be found here:
Please contact us if you have questions about this petition fee waiver program or if you would like to take advantage of this program in a particular matter.