Impact of COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) Pandemic on USPTO Operations

By Peter Schechter

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The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) considers the effects of coronavirus to be an “extraordinary situation” within the meaning of 37 CFR 1.183 and 37 CFR 2.146 for affected patent and trademark applicants, patentees, reexamination parties, and trademark owners. Therefore, the USPTO is waiving petition fees in certain situations for customers impacted by the coronavirus. However, the USPTO cannot grant waivers or extensions of dates or requirements set by statute.  In addition, until further notice, examiner and examining attorney interviews, Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) and Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) oral hearings, and other similar in-person meetings with parties and stakeholders scheduled to take place at USPTO offices since Friday, March 13, 2020 are being conducted remotely by video or telephone.  Further still, all USPTO offices were closed to the public beginning Monday, March 16, 2020 until further notice.  As this is a continually evolving situation, the most current USPTO notices may be found at www.uspto.gov/coronavirus.