USPTO Extends COVID-19 CARES Act Response Deadlines

On March 16, the United States Patent & Trademark Office (“USPTO”) announced that  ‘extraordinary’ circumstances for relief at the USPTO would officially include the effects of COVID-19 “coronavirus”. On March 27, the USPTO announced its further relief response with deadline extensions as authorized by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) executed March 27. The announcement identified certain deadlines that would have come between March 27 and April 30, and provided for a 30 day extension.

On April 28, USPTO Director Andrei Iancu officially announced the extension of those deadlines  and the expansion of the affected deadlines. Under the new announcement, certain deadlines occurring from March 27-May 31 are extended to June 1 with a statement of personal effect, rather than the original 30 days. The statement must describe how the deadlines and payments were delayed as a result of a personal effect 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. The specific affected deadlines and requirements are laid out in the official patent and trademark CARES notices.

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.

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Category: Firm News, General