The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has not extended or waived any deadlines given the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis. However, the USPTO has issued guidance that COVID-19 is considered an “extraordinary situation,” which may allow for certain fees to be waived to revive a patent or trademark that was inadvertently abandoned because of COVID-19. The guidance from the USPTO is summarized as follows:
- The USPTO is not granting waivers or extensions of due dates for upcoming patent or trademark deadlines.
- The USPTO is not granting waivers of fees related to extensions of time.
- For patent applications that have become abandoned as a result of COVID-19, the USPTO may waive fees for a Petition to Revive in certain situations. The Petition to Revive must be filed within two months of the abandonment and the extension of time fees do not appear to be waived. The USPTO may also waive the fees for a Petition to Revive if a patent in a reexamination becomes abandoned as a result of COVID-19.
- For trademarks and trademark applications that have become abandoned, canceled, or expired as a result of COVID-19, the USPTO may waive some fees associated with reviving the trademark. The request must be filed within two months of the abandonment.
While the physical office building is closed to the public until at least April 2, 2020, the United States Copyright Office is not extending any deadlines and is accepting digital and mail submissions.
It is unclear whether or not the USPTO’s position will change as the severity and impact of the COVID-19 crisis evolves, especially considering that many foreign patent and trademark offices are tolling deadlines and providing automatic extensions. For now, however, it is critical that U.S. patent and trademark applicants continue to meet any and all USPTO deadlines to avoid potential abandonment issues.