As the COVID-19 pandemic progresses, patent offices worldwide are taking steps to minimize negative impacts that patent and trademark filers may suffer.
Many offices have asked their employees to work from home, potentially causing delays. Most or all offices, including the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and European Patent Office (EPO), are conducting oral proceedings via telephone or videoconferencing.
The United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) has extended most patent -related deadlines for small and micro entities falling between March 27 and July 1 to September 30. In order to qualify for the extension, however, a statement that the delay in filing was due to the COVID-19 outbreak must accompany the filing. There is a form available for making the statement, which can be accessed here or on the patent forms page. For large entities, relief is available to those who need it on a case-by-case basis. Such requests can be submitted through a petition for an extension of time or a petition to revive.
Trademark deadline extensions for deadlines are made available on a case-by-case basis.
Patent-related deadlines that have been extended include replies to office actions, issue fees, and appeal-related deadlines. For applications that went abandoned or reexaminations that were terminated because a deadline falling on or before May 31 was missed due to the outbreak, the fee for a petition to revive the application will be waived.
The Canadian Intellectual Property Office extended deadlines expiring on or after March 16, 2020 through August 28, 2020 to August 31, 2020.
- The Australian IP office is providing free extensions of time for up to three months for patents, trademarks and designs matters, including extensions of time to file evidence in oppositions. To get such an extension, a one-sentence declaration that the applicant is unable to meet the deadline due to disruptions from the COVID-19 pandemic is required.
- The Mexican Patent and Trademark Office is closed indefinitely. Online services, however, are now available, including the ability to file new patent and trademarks applications. Paper-based procedures, such as maintenance, recordal of changes and prosecution of applications filed in paper, cannot be completed until the office reopens.