The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) continues to extend deadlines for certain patent and trademark filings. This is the third round of extensions that the USPTO has granted in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

As discussed in greater detail in prior articles, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) authorized the USPTO to extend certain statutory deadlines in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. On March 31, the USPTO exercised that authority by providing a 30-day extension of certain due dates in patent and trademark matters that had an original due date between March 27 and April 30, 2020. On April 28, the USPTO further extended deadlines to June 1, 2020. However, the most recent extension to July 1 applies only to small and micro-entities.

“The USPTO has already extended various deadlines twice, with the latest extension expiring at the end of this month. However, the USPTO recognizes that the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impose various hardships, especially on small businesses and individual inventors,” the USPTO said in a press statement. “Accordingly, as stakeholders continue to navigate the effects of the pandemic in various ways, and as more and more of them are resuming operations, the USPTO will again extend certain deadlines.”

Extension of Patent Fees and Deadlines

For small and micro entities, filings that would have been deemed timely filed, if filed by June 1, 2020 pursuant to the CARES Act Notice dated April 28, 2020, will now be deemed timely filed if filed by July 1, 2020. For large entities, after May 31, 2020, relief will be available to those who need it on a case-by-case basis. The USPTO advises that requests can be submitted through a petition for an extension of time or a petition to revive.

As set forth in the USPTO’s official notice, it is also extending its waiver of the petition fee for filing a petition for the revival of applications that became abandoned on or before June 30, 2020, if accompanied by a statement that the delay in filing or payment was due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Extension of Trademark Fees and Deadlines

With regard to trademark fees and deadlines, the USPTO is also providing relief on a case-by-case basis. As set forth in the USPTO’s official notice, relief will be granted as follows:

  • Applicants who were unable to submit a timely response or fee in response to an Office communication can file a petition to revive the application.
  • Applicants who missed the 36-month statutory deadline for filing a Statement of Use, and therefore their application has been abandoned, should use the TEAS “Petition to the Director” form.
  • Registrants who missed a statutory deadline, resulting in a cancelled/expired registration, or who were unable to submit a timely response or fee in response to an Office communication regarding a registration, should use the TEAS “Petition to the Director” form.

The USPTO will continue to waive the petition fee for petitions to revive applications or reinstate registrations that became abandoned or expired/cancelled as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, with a statement that the delay in filing or payment was due to the COVID-19 outbreak. With regard to proceedings before the TTAB, if the COVID-19 outbreak has prevented or interfered with a filing, parties can make a request (in ex-parte appeals) or motion (for trial cases) for an extension or reopening of time, as appropriate.

As with prior extensions, a delay is “due” to the COVID-19 outbreak when the outbreak materially interfered with the filing of a paper or fee. Circumstances that qualify as materially interfering include, without limitation, office closures, cash flow interruptions, lack of access to files or other materials, travel delays, personal or family illness, or other similar circumstances. The person affected by the outbreak may be a practitioner, applicant, patent owner, petitioner, third-party requester, inventor, or other person associated with the filing or fee.

Future Extensions

According to the USPTO, it will continue to evaluate the evolving situation around the COVID-19 outbreak and the impact on the USPTO’s operations and stakeholders. If the USPTO further extends the CARES Act relief, we will provide updates here. If you have any questions regarding anything to do with the USPTO or if you wish to discuss seeking registration of your intellectual property, please do not hesitate to reach out to any members of our team.

If you have questions, please contact us

If you have any questions or if you would like to discuss the matter further, please contact me, Ivan Tukhtin, or the Scarinci Hollenbeck attorney with whom you work, at 201-896-4100.