On March 31, 2020, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) extended some (but not all) patent and trademark-related deadlines under the authority of the CARES Act. In particular, the USPTO will extend certain filings or payments that have been delayed by the COVID-19 outbreak by 30 days if the filing or payment was originally due between March 27, 2020, and April 30, 2020.
In order to qualify for any of the available extensions, the USPTO requires that the eventual filing or payment be accompanied by a statement that the delay in filing was due to the COVID-19 outbreak. According to the USPTO, a delay in filing or payment is due to the COVID-19 outbreak if “a practitioner, applicant, patent owner, petitioner, third party requester, inventor, or other person associated with the filing or fee was personally affected by the COVID-19 outbreak, including, without limitation, through office closures, cash flow interruptions, inaccessibility of files or other materials, travel delays, personal or family illness, or similar circumstances, such that the outbreak materially interfered with timely filing or payment.”
The USPTO has listed several patent and trademark-related filings that may be extended if a delay in filing is caused by the COVID-19 outbreak. Generally, most examination and prosecution-based deadlines can be extended, including responses to office actions, payment of issue fees, statements of use, etc.
Notably, however, the USPTO has not provided an extension for any patent application filings in which a provisional patent application was filed between March 27, 2019 and April 30, 2019, nor is there an extension for international PCT filings or national stage entries into the United States. Therefore, if you have a deadline for filing a new patent application that falls between March 27, 2020 and April 30, 2020, the USPTO has not extended that application deadline.
For the complete list of patent-related filings that may receive an extension, please read the USPTO Patent CARES Act Notice. For the complete list of trademark-related filings that may receive an extension, please read the USPTO Trademark CARES Act Notice.
If you have any questions regarding whether your specific circumstances may qualify you for an extension, or if your filing or payment deadlines are extended, or any other Intellectual Property questions, please contact Daniel Sineway, Michael Nunnally, or any member of the Intellectual Property group at Morris, Manning & Martin, LLP.