On Tuesday, March 31st, the USPTO announced extensions for certain patent and trademark related documents and fees in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. The Nelson Mullins Intellectual Property Group continues to monitor on an ongoing basis any changes regarding USPTO operations and have outlined the most recent deadline and fee extensions below.
Relief in patent application and reexamination proceedings with due dates, between and inclusive of, both March 27, 2020 and April 30, 2020, will be extended 30 days from the initial due date, provided that the filing is accompanied by a statement that the delay in filing or payment was due to the COVID-19 outbreak for the following:
- reply to an Office notice issued during pre-examination processing by a small or micro entity;
- reply to an Office notice or action issued during examination or patent publication processing;
- issue fee;
- notice of appeal, appeal brief, reply brief, or appeal forwarding fee;
- request for an oral hearing before the PTAB;
- response to substitute examiner’s answer;
- amendment when reopening prosecution in response to or request for rehearing of, a PTAB decision designated as including a new ground of rejection;
- maintenance fee, filed by a small or micro entity;
- request for rehearing of a PTAB decision.
For delays due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the PTAB shall provide the 30-day extension for:
- a request for rehearing of a PTAB decision,
- a petition to the Chief Judge,
- a patent owner preliminary response in a trial proceeding or any related responsive filings.
For all other PTAB situations not covered above, a request for extension of time where the COVID-19 outbreak has prevented or interfered with filing before the board can be made by contacting the PTAB.
The above extensions apply if an applicant, patent owner, petitioner, third party requester, inventor, or other person associated with filing was personally affected by the outbreak including but not limited to office closures, cash flow interruptions, inaccessibility of files or other materials, travel delays, personal or family illness, or similar circumstances which interfere with timely filing or payment.
All other operations at the USPTO remain normal. The USPTO’s official notice is available here.