{ Banner Image }

USPTO Announcement: Invoking Extensions under the CARES Act

April 3, 2020

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act”), which includes relief for businesses and people directly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, also gave the Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) authority to provide temporary relief from certain deadlines and fees. The Director of the USPTO has now determined that specific applicants, registrants, patent owners, trademark owners and others associated with a filing or payment, including certain activities at the Patent and Trial Appeal Board (“PTAB”), may be eligible for a delay of patent-related or trademark-related filing deadlines that were between March 27, 2020 and April 30, 2020

For a patent or trademark owner, the deadline will be extended for 30 days from the initial due date, provided that the filing or payment is accompanied by a statement that the delay in filing or payment was due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Reasons for the delay include office closures, cash flow interruptions, inaccessibility to files or other materials, travel delays, personal or family illness or similar circumstances, such that the outbreak materially interfered with the timing for the filing or payment. For all other PTAB filings, a party must contact the PTAB to request an extension.       

Note that it is currently unclear how, when, and under what circumstances, justifications for seeking delay may be tested and evaluated – perhaps in retrospect long after extensions are taken. To avoid possible impairment of your important intellectual property, we strongly recommend that you seek guidance from legal counsel before requesting extensions.

For missed non-statutory deadlines occurring prior to March 27, 2020, the USPTO has already waived revival petition fees for abandoned patent and trademark applications and canceled or expired trademark registrations for failure to respond to USPTO communications, provided that the revival petition explains how the delay in responding was related to the COVID-19 outbreak. 

It is not clear at this time what actions the USPTO will take with respect to deadlines occurring after April 30, 2020.

For reference:

USPTO Announcement Invoking Extensions Under the CARES Act. See https://www.uspto.gov/about-us/news-updates/uspto-announces-extension-certain-patent-and-trademark-related-timing

USPTO Announcement Regarding Waiver of Fees in Petitions for Revival. See https://www.uspto.gov/about-us/news-updates/relief-uspto-customers-affected-covid-19