The United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) considers the Coronavirus outbreak an “extraordinary situation.” As a result, the USPTO modified both patent and trademark regulations.
“The USPTO stands shoulder-to-shoulder with inventors and entrepreneurs and is working on a variety of measures to incentivize, protect, and disseminate COVID-19 related innovation.”
Kudos to the USPTO!
USPTO COVID-19 Programs:
USPTO COVID-19 Response Resource Center
The USPTO’s COVID-19 Response Resource Center creates a central hub for information about the USPTO’s efforts. It includes helpful information such as:
- Patent and licensing resources
- Innovation incentives
- Trademarks, counterfeiting, and fraud
- International updates
COVID-19 Trademark Prioritized Examination Program
As a result of the critical need to develop and help speed to market medical products and services to combat the COVID-19 virus, the USPTO is accepting petitions to speed up examination of certain trademark applications. Generally speaking, these include marks used to identify medical products and services related to COVID-19. Additionally, the USPTO will waive the petition fee.
Prioritized Examination Pilot Program for small and micro entities
Notably, the USPTO now prioritizes examination for qualifying COVID-19 patent applications. Further, it waives the usual prioritization fees. Interestingly, the USPTO aims for a one year disposition or less for these applications.
USPTO CARES Act relief for small and micro entities
Under the CARES Act, the USPTO extended the time for small and micro entities to pay patent fees due on or after March 27, 2020. The eligible fees include basic filing fees, issue fees, and maintenance fees.
USPTO relief to restore priority or benefit rights for patent applicants
Further under the CARES Act, the USPTO extended the time period for petitioning for rights of priority or benefit in a patent application. Notably, it waived the associated fee also.
USPTO allows filing of plant patent applications and correspondence via patent electronic filing systems
Plant patent applications and follow-on documents currently can be filed electronically at the the USPTO, thereby facilitating such electronic filings.
USPTO waives original handwritten signature requirement
In response to social distancing, the USPTO waived the requirement for an original handwritten signature where previously needed.
As can be seen, the USPTO responsiveness and flexibility therefore is totally on point as we navigate the COVID-19 waters together.
For help with your Patents and Trademarks, and to understand COVID-19 modified regulations, accordingly contact me here.
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