The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office can't extend filing deadlines during the COVID-19 pandemic, but attorneys said patent and trademark prosecution should stay on track, with minimal use made of the office's offer to waive fees related to applications abandoned during the crisis.
The USPTO announced Monday that because many filing deadlines are set by statute, it has no authority to extend them due to the outbreak, as the European Patent Office has done. Instead, the office said it would waive the fee to file petitions seeking to revive patent and trademark applications abandoned because deadlines were missed due to the virus.
While everyone in the world is coming to terms with the ramifications of widespread remote work and lockdowns spurred by COVID-19, attorneys said so much of patent and trademark prosecution takes place online that it should keep running smoothly for now, though that could change.
Most attorneys can still work remotely, communicate with clients, and access firm computer systems necessary for patent and trademark filings, so "as far as I'm concerned, we can continue with business as usual," Daniel Jones of Michael Best & Friedrich LLP said.
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