An Extraordinary Situation: Relief for USPTO customers affected by COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic has greatly altered life across the globe. In the United States, businesses have been forced to halt production or adjust processes while social distancing and stay at home orders have become a societal norm. However, the United States Patent Trademark Office (USPTO) has fortunately maintained its routine operations.
Much of the USPTO patent and trademark processes have remained the same amid this tumultuous time. However, the COVID-19 pandemic is classified as an “extraordinary situation”, requiring the need for a few alterations. In order to reduce physical contact, the USPTO has waived the original handwritten signature requirement for certain correspondence with the Office of Enrollment and Discipline and that required for certain credit card payments. Furthermore, certain situations allow for waived petition fees to those affected by the coronavirus, such as if an application goes abandoned because of the virus.
Moreover, in efforts to reduce physical contact for the protection of its employees and the general public and abide by the nationwide social distancing order, the USPTO offices are closed to the public until further notice. Similarly, interviews, in-person meetings, and oral hearings are to be conducted remotely via video or telephone. These meetings include examiner and examining attorney interviews, Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) and Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) oral hearings, and other similar in-person interviews. The USPTO office has also updated its events page notifying the public of any postponed or canceled events.
Argus Intellectual Enterprise, LLC is dedicated to its clients. As the USPTO has not extended any patent or trademark application deadlines, our firm will continue to ensure prompt correspondence. Our firm recognizes this difficult time and is prepared to aid its clients in whatever manner necessary.
Author: Erica Litle is a contributing author to the Argus Law Blog