Monday, June 1, 2020

Joint message from the USPTO and the JPO: For the future of innovation

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and the Japan Patent Office (JPO) would like to express our most heartfelt sympathies to the victims of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and their families. We sincerely hope that everyone affected recovers soon and that the spread of COVID-19 infection will end as soon as possible.
This unprecedented crisis has had a significant negative impact on the global economy. Amidst this challenging situation, we are once again reminded of the importance of innovations that support our society.
As evidenced by the daily reports around the world, there is no doubt that innovation is a powerful weapon against COVID-19. On countless occasions, humanity has overcome crises throughout history by the development and promotion of innovation.
For example, the fact that working at home through telework and various online services has become more common worldwide, shows that innovations in the field of Information Technology (IT) have become a major foundation of our economy and daily lives. Likewise, medical technologies used to fight the pandemic have been created due to inventions throughout time. This type of development has been made possible by robust intellectual property systems that incentivize and protect innovation.
In this regard, the USPTO and the JPO would like to pay our deep respects to all the inventors around the world who have served as a driving force to overcome crises. Both Offices are committed to supporting inventors by taking all possible measures to ensure that they continue to create.
To achieve this, IP offices around the world, including the USPTO and the JPO, have been taking as many actions as possible, such as flexibilities for affected procedural deadlines, to support inventors and applicants in this situation of global crisis.
In order to support innovation worldwide, the USPTO and the JPO are aware of the importance of promptly establishing stable patent rights.
To achieve these objectives, the USPTO and the JPO have developed a close cooperative relationship over the years. More specifically, in addition to the development of accelerated examination programs, we have worked hand-in-hand in establishing various initiatives to support inventors worldwide. These achievements include: the Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) launched in 2006; the U.S.-Japan Collaborative Search Pilot Program; and the Global Dossier Initiative.
Further, the USPTO and the JPO have developed their own databases allowing interested parties to readily access information about patents that are available for licensing. By doing so, the Offices are facilitating the voluntary licensing of patented technologies and the commercialization of inventions effective in combating COVID-19.
The USPTO and the JPO believe we will be able to overcome this crisis by promoting and utilizing innovative technologies. To that end, both Offices are firmly committed to working together to advance initiatives for promoting investment and innovation.

Andrei Iancu,,  USPTO Director                                              MATSUNAGA Akira,   JPO Commissioner


USPTO to allow filing of initial patent term extension applications via patent electronic filing systems in response to the COVID-19 outbreak

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) considers the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak to be an “extraordinary situation” within the meaning of 37 CFR 1.183. In accordance with this notice, the USPTO will permit patentees to file initial patent term extension applications that meet certain criteria via EFS-Web or Patent Center.
For the full text, see the official notice on the USPTO website.

USPTO grants further relief for certain trademark-related fees and deadlines

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) recognizes that the COVID-19 pandemic has imposed significant hardships on many of our stakeholders. As a result, the USPTO has waived certain fees under existing authority, through the March 16, 2020 Notice, and has extended certain Trademark and Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) deadlines twice under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), through the March 31, 2020 Notice and the April 28, 2020 Notice. These extensions will expire on May 31, 2020.
As businesses begin to reopen or resume operations, some stakeholders will continue to require relief, particularly small businesses and individuals. Under the CARES Act authority and its existing authority in Trademark and TTAB matters, the USPTO will direct relief to those who need it on a case-by-case basis, as described below.
  • Applicants who were unable to submit a timely response or fee in response to an Office communication should file a petition to revive the application. See 37 CFR §§ 2.6(a)(15), 2.66.
  • Applicants who missed the 36-month statutory deadline for filing a Statement of Use, and therefore their application has been abandoned, should use the TEAS “Petition to the Director” form. See 37 CFR § 2.146.
  • Registrants who missed a statutory deadline, resulting in a cancelled/expired registration, or who were unable to submit a timely response or fee in response to an Office communication regarding a registration, should use the TEAS “Petition to the Director” form. See 37 CFR § 2.146.
In the interest of maintaining flexibility and options for our stakeholders, the USPTO will continue to waive the petition fee for petitions to revive applications or reinstate registrations that became abandoned or expired/cancelled as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, with a statement that the delay in filing or payment was due to the COVID-19 outbreak.  
With regard to proceedings before the TTAB, if the COVID-19 outbreak has prevented or interfered with a filing, parties can make a request (in ex parte appeals) or motion (for trial cases) for an extension or reopening of time, as appropriate.
The USPTO will continue to evaluate the evolving situation around the COVID-19 outbreak and its impact on the USPTO’s operations and stakeholders.
For details on the latest relief, read the official notice on our website.

USPTO grants further relief for certain patent-related fees and deadlines

In accordance with the temporary authority provided by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) today further extended the time to file certain patent-related documents and to pay certain required fees.
The USPTO has already extended various deadlines twice, with the latest extension expiring at the end of this month. However, the USPTO recognizes that the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impose various hardships, especially on small businesses and individual inventors. Accordingly, as stakeholders continue to navigate the effects of the pandemic in various ways, and as more and more of them are resuming operations, the USPTO will again extend certain deadlines.
Specifically, for small and micro entities, filings that would have been deemed timely filed, if filed by June 1, 2020 pursuant to the CARES Act Notice dated April 28, 2020, will now be deemed timely filed if filed by July 1, 2020. 
For large entities, after May 31, 2020, relief will be available to those who need it on a case-by-case basis. Such requests can be submitted through a petition for an extension of time or a petition to revive. 
In the interest of maintaining flexibility and options for our stakeholders, the USPTO will also extend its waiver of the petition fee for filing a petition for the revival of applications that became abandoned on or before June 30, 2020, if accompanied by a statement that the delay in filing or payment was due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
The USPTO will continue to evaluate the evolving situation around the COVID-19 outbreak and the impact on the USPTO’s operations and stakeholders.
For details on the latest extension, read the official notice on our website.

Friday, May 22, 2020

USPTO releases additional information on the COVID-19 Prioritized Examination Pilot Program

On May 8, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) announced the COVID-19 Prioritized Examination Pilot Program, permitting COVID-19-related applications filed by small and micro entities to be put on a fast track for patent examination. Today, the USPTO launched a related webpage, where you can find additional resources and information pertinent to the program.
As outlined in the official notice, up to 500 qualifying patent applications will be accepted for prioritized examination and exempted from prioritized examination fees. The USPTO will endeavor to reach final disposition of applications in this program within six months if applicants respond promptly to communications from the USPTO.
For questions regarding the COVID-19 Fast Track Program, please contact Robert Clarke at 571-272-7735 or via email at covid19PrioritizedExamPilot@uspto.gov. For questions about EFS-Web or the PAIR system, please contact the Patent Electronic Business Center at 866-217-9197.
Note: The program’s effective date is May 14, 2020, not July 13 as erroneously stated in the original Federal Register notice.