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USPTO Update to Trademark Deadlines under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act

April 1, 2020

The circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic are constantly changing, and in response the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) has set forth new guidelines to adjust its procedures and deadlines. Stay tuned for additional updates as the USPTO has explicitly said that it will continue to monitor the situation surrounding the COVID-19 outbreak and adjust accordingly.

The CARES Act and the USPTO

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (the “CARES Act”) gives the USPTO authority to toll, waive, adjust, or modify any timing deadlines set forth in the Trademark Act or regulations promulgated thereunder during the emergency period set forth in the CARES Act.  The USPTO Director has determined that the national emergency as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak has prejudiced the rights of applicants, registrants, trademark owners, or others appearing before the Office in trademark matters. Accordingly, the USPTO is extending the time to file trademark-related documents and fees which would have been due on or after March 27, 2020. 

Deadline Extensions

A person who is unable to meet trademark-related timing deadlines due to the COVID-19 outbreak may be eligible for a waiver of certain deadlines including:

The due date for any of the following that was due between, and inclusive of, March 27, 2020 and April 30, 2020, will be extended 30 days from the initial date it was due, provided that the filing is accompanied by a statement that the delay in filing or payment was due to the COVID-19 outbreak:

  1. Response to an Office Action, including a notice of appeal from a final refusal;
  2. Statement of use or request for extension of time to file a statement of use;
  3. Notice of opposition or request for extension of time to file a notice of opposition;
  4. Certain priority filing bases;
  5. Transformation of an extension of protection to the United States into a United States application;
  6. Affidavit of use or excusable nonuse; (for more information regarding excusable nonuse at the USPTO see our previous guidance)
  7. Certain renewal applications.

What Delays Are Due to the COVID-19 Outbreak

A delay in filing or payment is due to the COVID-19 outbreak for the purposes of this if a practitioner, applicant, registrant, or other person associated with the filing or fee was personally affected by the outbreak including, without limitation, through office closures, cash flow interruptions, inaccessibility of files or other materials, travel delays, personal or family illness or similar circumstances.

TTAB Deadlines

For all other situations where the COVID-19 outbreak has prevented or interfered with a filing before the TTAB, a request or motion for an extension or reopening of time can be made.

For additional information on the USPTO guidance, or for assistance with USPTO filings please contact the Intellectual Property Team.

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