In view of the COVID-19 pandemic, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) recently announced that its offices will be closed to the public “until further notice.” However, the USPTO also assured the public that USPTO “operations will continue without interruption.” Accordingly, applicants can continue to file related documents with the USPTO (e.g., patent applications, trademark applications, and responses to USPTO communications). Applicants can also hold interviews and oral hearings with the USPTO by video or telephone.
Additionally, the USPTO has provided numerous accommodations for applicants that have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. As explained in more detail below, such accommodations for affected applicants include:
(I) a 30-day extension of certain patent-related and trademark-related filing deadlines that fall between March 27 and April 30;
(II) waiver of revival fees for (a) abandoned patent applications, (b) terminated or limited re-examination proceedings, (c) abandoned trademark applications, and (d) cancelled/expired trademark registrations; and
(III) waiver of original handwritten signature requirements for (a) registration to practice before the USPTO in patent cases, (b) enrollment and disciplinary investigations, (c) disciplinary proceedings, and (d) non-electronic payments by credit card.