On April 28, 2020, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) announced it is extending certain patent and trademark filing deadlines until June 1, 2020, lengthening extensions put in place last month due to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. The USPTO said that documents that would otherwise have been due between March 27 - May 31, 2020 will now be considered timely if they are filed on or before the June 1st deadline, provided that they are accompanied by a statement that the filing delay was due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Many deadlines for patent and trademark filings are governed by statute and typically cannot be extended by the USPTO. However, the $2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act granted the USPTO temporary authority to extend the deadlines during the crisis.
The USPTO has already outlined some broad parameters for what it means for a delay in filing to be due to the pandemic, covering situations where the attorney, filer, or their family is "personally affected" by the outbreak, such that it "materially interfered" with their ability to meet the deadline. This includes illness, delays in the ability to meet deadlines caused by office closures, cash flow interruptions, inaccessibility of files, and other circumstances. Our previous Client Alert on the subject can be viewed here: IP Deadline Extensions During COVID-19.
We Can Help You
We have been on the forefront of dealing with COVID-19 for our clients. Continue to check with us if you have questions about whether your business should take advantage of these deadlines and other pandemic-related IP issues.
We recommend you evaluate the following pandemic-related business and legal considerations that we have been discussing with our clients: