United States Patent and Trademark Office Announces Certain Fee Waivers in Response to COVID-19

Last updated April 29, 2020

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) announced relief measures for those impacted by COVID-19. As a result of this extraordinary state of affairs, the USPTO is waiving petition fees to affected parties in certain situations. Specifically, the USPTO will waive petition to revive fees for: (1) patent applicants or patent owners whose applications were abandoned or reexamination prosecution terminated or limited because of an inability timely reply to a USPTO communication due to the outbreak; and (2) trademark applications or registrations that were abandoned or cancelled because of an inability to timely respond to a USPTO communication because of the outbreak. As of April 28, 2020, this waiver applies filings or payments having a due date of May 31, 2020 or earlier. Any petition for a fee waiver must be filed no later than two months after the issue date of the notice of abandonment or cancellation and must include a statement that the delay in filing or payment was due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Note that certain patent-related time periods may not be extended by petition, and certain trademark-related time periods – such as final Statement of Use deadlines, maintenance filing deadlines and Trademark Trial & Appeal Board opposition or cancellation deadlines – will not be extended, and fees for the same will not be waived.

Though the USPTO did not initially grant extensions of dates or waivers of requirements set by statute, on March 31, 2020, it announced that some patent and trademark related timing deadlines would be extended under certain circumstances.

For the time being, USPTO offices are closed to the public, though the USPTO is still accepting filed documents and fee payments. Previously scheduled in-person meetings, interviews or hearings with parties and stakeholders will be conducted remotely by video or telephone. The USPTO has also waived the requirement for an original handwritten signature for certain correspondence with the Office of Enrollment and Discipline and certain payments by credit card. To view the full order regarding this relief, please click here.

For more information or for further updates regarding your patent and trademark rights, please contact your CSG attorney.

For additional information pertaining to the coronavirus outbreak, please visit CSG’s COVID-19 Resource Center.

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