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COVID-19 Impacts: Intellectual Property Update

published in McAfee & Taft LINC | March 24, 2020

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) deadlines for pending applications and other proceedings have NOT been continued or stayed in light of COVID-19.

The USPTO is continuing to conduct business with some COVID-19 related modifications:

  • The USPTO has announced it will waive fees associated with “reviving” applications that go abandoned for failure to timely provide required filings due to the effects of COVID-19. The formal announcement concerning the procedure to seek the benefit of such a waiver may be found here.
  • Although trademark and patent applicants will be able to file and correspond with the USPTO electronically and by phone, all USPTO offices are closed to the public as of March 16, 2020 until further notice. As a result, all previously scheduled and would-be-scheduled hearings and in-person meetings will be conducted remotely by phone or video.
  • The USPTO has a dedicated page concerning COVID-19 related notices that it promises to keep up to date as the situation progresses.

On March 13, 2020, the Library of Congress and the Copyright Office announced that their facilities will be closed to the public until April 1, 2020. The Copyright Office will otherwise maintain its regular operations and remain open for employees and staff. It too has a dedicated page for notices concerning COVID-19 which may be found here.

Foreign intellectual property agencies have largely remained operational during the COVID-19 pandemic, at least with respect to online or telephone communications and submissions.   Many foreign countries have announced extensions to pertinent deadlines as a result of COVID-19.  For example, the Canadian Intellectual Property Office announced that deadlines due between March 16, 2020, and March 31, 2020, will be extended until April 1, 2020; the European Patents Office has announced extensions for deadlines due on or after March 15, 2020, until April 17, 2020; and the European Union Intellectual Property Office has  granted extensions for deadlines due between March 9, 2020 and April 30, 2020 until May 1, 2020. Many other countries are granting extensions on a case by case basis.

To determine whether these or any other extensions apply to one or more of your filings, please feel free to contact one of our Intellectual Property attorneys.