The U.S. Patent Trademark Office is now accepting petitions to advance the initial examination of applications for trademarks used to identify certain medical products and services that help prevent, diagnose, treat or cure COVID-19.
The new program, launched on June 16, 2020, is expected to expedite the review process of applications by an estimated two months. As an added bonus, the USPTO will waive fees for the petition. The goal of the program is to prioritize applications in light of the COVID-19 outbreak and critical need to develop medical products and services to combat the virus.
The USPTO generally examines applications in the order in which they are received. Applications are assigned to an examining attorney for review approximately three months after the filing date. The new program permits the director to exercise supervisory authority to advance qualifying applications out of their regular order and expedite the review by two months.
To qualify for the program, an applicant must seek registration for a qualifying COVID-19 medical goods or services:
- Pharmaceutical products or medical devices such as diagnostic tests, ventilators, and personal protective equipment, including surgical masks, face shields, gowns, and gloves, that prevent, diagnose, treat, or cure COVID-19 and are subject to approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration
- Medical services or medical research services for the prevention, diagnosis, treatment of, or cure for COVID-19
The application may also include additional related goods or services. Applicants wishing to file a petition to advance the initial examination must first file the application and then file a petition to the director that includes the application’s newly-assigned serial number. The petition must also include a statement of facts, supported by an affidavit or declaration, setting forth the applicant’s COVID-19 medical goods or services and an explanation of why the goods or services qualify for prioritized review.
If the petition is granted, it will immediately be assigned to an examining attorney for review. However, approved applications are still subject to a 30-day period where the public may file oppositions or extensions of time to oppose.