The current United States government shutdown will have a limited impact on the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in the short term. The USPTO estimates it will be able to operate for approximately four weeks using prior year reserve fee collections. However, if the shutdown continues past that time the USPTO has indicated that it will have to restrict its operations, leaving only a limited number of staff to accept new applications and maintain IT infrastructure.
One area which has already been impacted is access to paper file histories for older patent and trademark applications. The File Repository Warehouse which contains these files is in a federal facility that is owned and operated by the General Services Administration (GSA) and is closed during the shutdown. Electronic files continue to be accessible, however.
The USPTO will provide updates on its status as more information is available on its News & Notices page.