The United States Patent & Trademark Office (“USPTO”) has announced its relief response and deadlines extensions relating to the current COVID-19 “coronavirus” as authorized by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) executed March 27.
In the release, USPTO Director Andrei Iancu explained the steps being taken by the USPTO:
“Inventors and entrepreneurs are the lifeblood of our economy, and we recognize that many of them are having difficulty as a result of COVID-19. As a result, we are working to provide as much relief as possible to our stakeholders, consistent with our ability to maintain the USPTO’s fee-funded operations. We are especially mindful of the outsized impact on small businesses and independent inventors, and we have provided additional relief for these groups. Ultimately, our goal is to ensure not only that inventors and entrepreneurs can weather the storm, but that they can also hit the ground running once it passes.”
The patent and trademark CARES adjustments include extensions of 30 days for certain deadlines between March 27 and April 30 with a statement of personal impact. The statement must describe how the deadlines and payments were delayed as a result of a personal affect of COVID-19 on practitioners, applicants, patent owners, petitioners, third party requesters, inventors, or other individual involved including as examples, office closures, cash flow interruptions, inaccessibility of files/materials, personal or family illness, etc. This extension applies to most responses, filings, and requests as listed in the notice with some reserved only for small and micro-entities.
These relief measures expand on the USPTO’s previous relief announcement on March 16 providing that the coronavirus outbreak was an “extraordinary situation” within the meaning of 37 CPR 1.183 and 37 CPR 2.146 and that the fee associated with petitions to revive under 37 CPR l .17(m) will be waived.
The USPTO has adjusted its operations to ensure that fees and documents will continue to be processed through EFS-Web, USPS, and the Customer Service Window. Per the announcement, USPTO interviews and hearings will be conducted virtually until further notice.
Patent related concerns can be brought to the USPTO at their designated email address for the issue, Covid19PatentsRelief@uspto.gov.