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USPTO Provides Further Relief to Patent and Trademark Applicants In Response to the Continuing COVID-19 Pandemic



As a further update to our earlier posts (U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Increases Extensions to Deadlines under the CARES Act; How the USPTO is Responding to the Coronavirus Outbreak; and USPTO and Copyright Office Announce Extensions to Deadlines Under the CARES Act) regarding actions taken by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) responsive to the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, the USPTO recently announced a further extension of time for the filing of various patent-related documents and payment of certain fees. While this latest extension is automatically available for patent applicants that qualify for small or micro entity status, relief is provided to large entity filings only on a case-by-case basis.

For specified documents and fees that are due between, and inclusive of, March 27, 2020 and June 1, 2020, the due date for such documents has been extended to July 1, 2020. The documents must still be accompanied by a formal Statement specifying that the delay is due to the COVID-19 pandemic (filers may use USPTO Form SB 449 to satisfy this requirement) and the standard for the Statement remains the same: the delay is still deemed due to the COVID-19 outbreak “if a practitioner, applicant, patent owner, petitioner, third-party requestor, inventor, or other person associated with the filing or fee was personally affected by the COVID-19 outbreak, including, without limitation, through office closures, cash flow interruptions, inaccessibility of files or other materials, travel delays, personal or family illness, or similar circumstances, such that the outbreak materially interfered with timely filing or payment.”

The USPTO has also announced that the COVID-19 extension for trademark-related documents and fees expired on May 31, but limited relief is available to applicants on a case-by-case basis for certain situations, such as not submitting a timely response or fee in response to an Office communication, missing the 36-month statutory deadline for filing a Statement of Use, and missing a statutory deadline. The announcement affirms that the USPTO is continuing to evaluate the evolving situation and its impact on operations and applicants.

If you have any questions about this additional relief, please contact the patent and trademark attorneys at Miller Nash Graham & Dunn who would be happy to help you.

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