In the world of intellectual property, it is essentially business as usual as many examiners at the United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) have been tele-working for years. Although, their tele-working set-up has not been without some changes.
As of March 16, 2020, the USPTO will remain open for business and continue without interruption, unless otherwise noted or mandated by the government. As a result, currently no patent or trademark deadlines will be extended. Although, the USPTO is waiving petition fees in certain situations for customers impacted by COVID-19 (coronavirus).
However, out of an abundance of caution for the health and safety of the public and their employees, the USPTO has restricted local visitation access to its facilities for the foreseeable future. Consequently, until further notice, all in-person meetings, including patent and trademark prosecution interviews, Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) oral hearings, and Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) oral hearings scheduled to take place at the USPTO offices after Friday, March 13, 2020 will be conducted remotely by telephone or video conference.
On a separate note, the European Union Intellectual Property Office has reported that it has extended its deadlines until May 1, 2020 for deadlines that are due between March 9, 2020 and April 30, 2020. Also, the European Patent Office has granted an extension of all deadlines until April 17, 2020.
Please know that during this time we are closely monitoring the USPTO as well as patent and trademark offices worldwide and will attend to any specific matters in the timeliest and most effective manner. We will keep you updated as events occur. However, if you have any questions, or should certain legal-related issues arise, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Kevin Soucek is an associate at Walter | Haverfield who focuses his practice on intellectual property. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 216-619-7885.
Jamie Pingor is a partner at Walter | Haverfield and chair of the Intellectual Property team. He can be reached at email@example.com or at 216-928-2984.