USPTO Extends Certain Deadlines In Response To COVID-19


April 6, 2020

On March 31, 2020, the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), in accordance with authority granted to it under the recently enacted Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, took steps to address the impact of the national coronavirus (COVID-19) emergency on the nation’s intellectual property system. The USPTO’s alert announced the availability of extensions of time to file certain patent- and trademark-related documents and to pay certain required fees, including with respect to proceedings in front of the Trademark Trial and Appeals Board (TTAB).

The notice addresses options for stakeholders where they are unable to meet near-term deadlines due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Recognizing difficulty many inventors and entrepreneurs are having because of COVID-19, the Director of the USPTO determined that specific types of deadlines and filings in patent and trademark proceedings may be eligible for a 30-day extension. To qualify for an extension, the relevant patent or trademark deadline must fall between March 27, 2020, and April 30, 2020, and the filing or payment must be accompanied by a statement indicating that the delay was due to the COVID-19 outbreak, as specifically defined in the notices. The USPTO has provided a broad list of situations that satisfy the required delay statement, including office closures, cash flow interruptions, travel delays, inaccessibility of files or other materials, or personal or family illness.

The patent notice also provides additional relief for specific Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) matters with deadlines falling between March 27, 2020, and April 30, 2020 (inclusive), and stakeholders are advised to reach out to the PTAB or the TTAB regarding other extensions or reopening of time that may be necessary.

McGrath North’s patent and trademark practitioners continue to assist our clients to meet deadlines as originally scheduled in most cases, but we will take advantage of these newly announced patent and trademark extensions where available.

For specific questions on your matters, or if you have any questions about this alert, please feel free to reach out to your intellectual property attorney at McGrath North identified below.

Clint Cadwallader
ccadwallader@mcgrathnorth.com
(402) 633-6870

Luke Holst
lholst@mcgrathnorth.com
(402) 633-1445

Contact information for the complete McGrath North’s COVID-19 Response Team can be found here.

For information regarding additional business-related concerns centered around COVID-19, please visit our COVID-19 Resource Guide here.

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