Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Registration extended: The Path to a Patent, Part 1: Patent searching

Do you have an invention that you want to protect before talking to the public? Do you have a business and want to make products without infringing other patents? Have you decided to use a patent pro bono attorney but need to run your own patent prior art search first? Are you someone who just wants to know more about patents? If so, join our Eastern Regional Outreach Office for this free webinar today, June 23, at 2:30 p.m. ET. 

Register today by 2:30 p.m. ET.

You will learn about the benefits of patent searching, how to perform a prior art search using keywords, the Cooperative Patent Classification (CPC) system, and how to build a search strategy. We will also provide resources to help you file your application.

For more information, please email EasternRegionalOutreachOffice@uspto.gov.

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

e-Office Action allows timely receipt of patent-related correspondence

The USPTO offers electronic notification of agency communications, including office actions, via the e-Office Action program. Participants in the e-Office Action program receive an email notification documenting new USPTO communications when they are available in Private PAIR with relevant details about the communication, such as the application number, attorney docket number, the mail date, and the document code for the Office action or notice. The USPTO encourages all patent application filers to sign up for e-Office Action, particularly now, as certain foreign postal operations have experienced delays and/or closures.

If you are not a participant in the e-Office Action program and the correspondence address for your application is located in a country experiencing a closure of postal operations, the Office communications for your application are likely to be returned to the USPTO as being undeliverable. If this is the case, the USPTO will re-mail the returned correspondence in accordance with Manual of Patent Examining Procedure 707.13.

Please note that the e-Office Action program does not apply to Patent Cooperation Treaty international applications under 35 U.S.C. 363 and reexamination proceedings. For these matters, USPTO communications are mailed to the address of record.

For more information, visit the e-Office Action program webpage on the USPTO website.

If you have questions about the e-Office Action program or about how to become a registered user, contact the Patent Electronic Business Center at ebc@uspto.gov or 866-217-9197.

USPTO announces COVID-19 Prioritized Examination Program for certain trademark and service mark applications

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) today announced a new COVID-19 prioritized examination program for certain trademark and service mark applications.

Under this new program, the USPTO will accept petitions to advance the initial examination of applications for marks used to identify qualifying COVID-19 medical products and services. Additionally, the USPTO will waive the fee for such petitions.

“Inventors and entrepreneurs are working around the clock to develop products that will help prevent, diagnose, treat, or cure COVID-19,” said Andrei Iancu, Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO. “Accelerating initial examination of COVID-19-related trademark applications for these products, as well as service mark applications for medical and medical research services, will help to bring important and possibly life-saving treatments to market more quickly.”

To qualify for the new program, the application must cover a product that is subject to U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for use in the prevention and/or treatment of COVID-19 or a medical or medical research service for the prevention and/or treatment of COVID-19. See the notice for more information.

USPTO announces relief to restore priority or benefit rights for patent applicants

Pursuant to Subsection 12004(a) of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and 37 C.F.R. § 1.183, and in response to the requests from stakeholders, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is extending the time period for petitioning for certain rights of priority or benefit in a patent application and waiving the associated petition fee.

The relief extends the two-month time-period for restoring the right of priority to or benefit of a foreign or provisional application for any nonprovisional application due to be filed on or after March 27, 2020, but on or before July 30, 2020.

Read the full notice on the USPTO website for further details.

Comments and patent-related inquiries concerning the notice may be sent by email to Covid19PatentsRelief@uspto.gov. If email submission of comments is not feasible due to lack of access to a computer and/or the internet, please call the Office of Patent Legal Administration at 571-272-7704 for special instructions.

The USPTO strongly encourages patent applicants to file documents and fees via the USPTO patent electronic filing systems (EFS-Web or Patent Center).

Monday, June 8, 2020

June 16: Webinar on copyright basics for entrepreneurs and small businesses

Register to attend a free webinar about the basics of copyright and receive insights into copyright registration and enforcement. The 90-minute program is on Tuesday, June 16, from 1-2:30 p.m. ET.

Specifically designed for the needs of entrepreneurs and small businesses, the webinar will feature presentations by copyright experts from the USPTO’s Office of Policy and International Affairs.

Patent Center beta webinars

Patent Center beta is available for all users. Patent Center is a new tool for electronic filing and management of patent applications in a single unified interface.

Join us for training on how to use various features in Patent Center, including filing in DOCX. Several members of the eCommerce Modernization (eMod) team will share information and conduct a demo, followed by a question-and-answer session.

Register to attend one of these upcoming scheduled webinars:

  • Tuesday, June 9, 1-2 p.m. ET
  • Monday, June 15, 1-2 p.m. ET

You will receive instructions for joining the webinar via email prior to the session you registered for.

We encourage you to use Patent Center beta and provide feedback to help shape the future of our systems. Please visit the eMod IdeaScale to provide feedback. More information about Patent Center beta is available on the Patent Center information page of the USPTO website. Future training opportunities will be posted to that page.

For assistance, questions, or feedback, please contact eMod@uspto.gov.

Thursday, June 4, 2020

June 16: Webinar on top trademark and copyright cases in China

Register to attend the latest in a series of USPTO webinars focused on intellectual property (IP) protection and enforcement in China. This free program, “Top trademark and copyright cases in China: What rights holders need to know," will be held Tuesday, June 16, from 1-3 p.m. ET.

Participants will receive informed, up-to-date insights on IP developments in China by looking at key trademark and copyright cases and their impact on U.S. rights holders. Featured presenters include five senior USPTO IP attorneys who have many years of IP experience in China.

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Fee schedule update

The fee schedule was updated with the following changes, effective June 1:
PCT Fees to Foreign Offices
  • 1714: International search (Rospatent) – fee decrease from $616 to $501
The fee schedule provides information and fee rates for our products and services. For additional information, please call the USPTO Contact Center at 571-272-1000 or 800-786-9199.
More information is available on the PCT Fees page of the USPTO website.

Learn about the USPTO's nationwide Patent Pro Bono Program

Learn about the USPTO’s nationwide Patent Pro Bono Program during a webinar for inventors, entrepreneurs, and law school students and professors on Thursday, June 4, from 1-2 p.m. ET. The webinar will include an explanation of pro bono services available throughout the U.S. and a brief overview of legal jobs available at the USPTO. 
Matt Martin, Pro Bono Assistant Coordinator, will lead the discussion.
The Patent Pro Bono Program is a collaboration between the USPTO and local, regional, and national legal organizations, as well as the USPTO’s Law School Clinic Certification Program. For more information on this webinar, view the webinar event page on the USPTO website.

USPTO launches COVID-19 Response Resource Center

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) today launched the COVID-19 Response Resource Center to provide stakeholders and other interested parties with improved access to USPTO initiatives, programs, and other helpful intellectual property (IP)-related information regarding the COVID-19 outbreak.
“As it always does, our nation’s innovation community will play a crucial role in devising creative solutions to the ongoing pandemic,” said Andrei Iancu, Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO. “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. The COVID-19 Response Resource Center will provide inventors, entrepreneurs, and IP practitioners with a centralized destination to access information and assistance needed to meet the challenges of these times.”
The resource center allows users to easily view information on a number of critical initiatives to aid the public throughout the ongoing crisis, including the USPTO’s “Patents 4 Partnerships” IP marketplace platform and the COVID-19 Prioritized Examination Pilot Program for accelerating the evaluation of patent applications directed to COVID-19 related technologies. Information on trademark counterfeiting and consumer fraud, as well as updates on international developments related to the COVID-19 outbreak, are also available.
The resource center also includes links to the USPTO’s Pro Bono Program, information on voluntary early patent application publication, and resources for inventors and small businesses. The resource center will be updated on a continuing basis to incorporate new information, programs, and initiatives.
The USPTO invites the public to submit recommendations or suggestions for the USPTO to consider as it assists the IP community. Please email comments to COVIDcomments@uspto.gov.

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.