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USPTO Extends Deadlines and Waives Some Fees in Light of COVID-19

April 03 2020

On March 31, 2020, the USPTO posted an update in response to the recently passed Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (“CARES”) Act. The primary relief provided in this update is that many of the most common types of deadlines related to patent and trademark applications otherwise occurring between March 27th and April 30th are being extended by thirty (30) days from the initial due date.

The extension applies to all common patent and trademark related deadlines, including:

  • replies to office actions or other notices;
  • appeal notices and briefs;
  • maintenance fee payments; and
  • payment of issue fees.

Note however that these extensions are limited to those delays caused by the COVID-19 global pandemic.  But the USPTO has broadly defined that to include, “office closures, cash flow interruptions, inaccessibility of files/materials, travel delays, personal or family illness, or similar circumstances, such that the outbreak materially interfered with timely filing or payment.”  When making a filing that utilizes the provided for extension, applicants must submit a statement that the delay was caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Secondly, per the individual Patent and Trademark  notices at the link above, the CARES Act contains provisions that supplement the previous waiver provided by the USPTO of certain other fees and deadlines from March 16, 2020.  In particular, the USPTO may waive the fees related to filing a petition to revive an application, where the deadline to respond or take other action was missed due to complications arising from COVID-19.

All USPTO COVID-19 details are currently at this link: https://www.uspto.gov/coronavirus.

Hopefully this can provide some relief to clients that may be up against deadlines in the coming weeks.  If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out and our team would be happy to discuss the options available.