The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO), due to the coronavirus pandemic, is providing an opportunity to extend various deadlines for pending patent and trademark applications and to maintain registrations. In a notice dated March 31, 2020, the PTO stated that it will extend certain deadlines for 30 days if an applicant or registrant files a statement that the owner, applicant, practitioner or other person associated with the invention or trademark is “personally affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.” This currently only applies when the due date for the filing is between March 27, 2020 and April 30, 2020, although the qualifying dates may be extended, pending on the course of the pandemic and the federal government’s related orders. The extensions are not automatic so owners and applicants must assert the hardship. Inattentive owners and applicants will not benefit and abandoned patents and marks will not benefit from the new policy. For patents, extensions apply to actions such as replies to a PTO notice, a notice of appeal and maintenance fees for a small or micro entity. For trademarks, extensions apply to responses to office actions, notices of opposition or requests for extension, or renewals. For disputes about registrability of patents at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board and trademarks at the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, extensions are not as easily available although the PTO invites parties to make requests. In mid-March, the PTO waived fees for reviving patent applications if missing the deadline was due to COVID-19. The official notices about the time extensions from the PTO are at these links: Patent and Trademark.
Ned T. Himmelrich
410-576-4171 • email@example.com
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