USPTO notices regarding COVID-19

Please find here updates from the United States Patent and Trademark Office during the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak.

Relief for COVID-19 Prioritized Trademark Examination Program applications on appeal or in oppositions before the TTAB 

May 13, 2021

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is offering relief for applications on appeal or involved in an opposition before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) if the applications were examined under the USPTO’s COVID-19 Prioritized Trademark Examination Program. Under a Pilot Prioritized Review Program for Appeals Related to COVID-19, TTAB will expedite the review of, and the issuance of ex parte appeal decisions under certain circumstances. Under a Conference Pilot Program for Oppositions Against Applications Related to COVID-19, a TTAB attorney or judge may participate in the parties’ mandatory settlement and discovery planning conference. TTAB is monitoring the eligible applications. There are no additional fees or requirements for applicants to meet to be involved in the relief offered. See the full text of the notice for more information.

COVID fast-track appeals pilot program

April 14, 2021

On April 14, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) announced that the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) will soon accept petitions for expedited resolution of ex parte appeals for COVID-related inventions. There is no cost for appeals related to COVID-19 in this pilot program, which starts on April 15, 2021. Read the news brief for more information.

USPTO accepts circumstances related to COVID-19 as excusable nonuse in trademark maintenance filings

April 12, 2021

Are you a trademark owner with an upcoming deadline for a registration maintenance filing? If COVID-19 has directly impacted you or your business and temporarily prevented you from using your trademark, you may request to be temporarily excused from using your trademark.

If you think this applies to you, when you file your section 8 or section 71 declaration, you must provide a statement that includes the following:

  • An explanation of how COVID-19 has affected you or your business and caused you to temporarily stop using your trademark for the products and services covered by your registration
  • The date your trademark was last used
  • The steps you're taking to resume use, and
  • The approximate date you expect to resume using your trademark.

For more information on excusable nonuse, please see Trademark Manual of Examining Procedure (TMEP) sections 1604.11 and 1613.11, and our Keeping your registration alive webpage for general information on how to maintain your trademark registration.

USPTO announces relief for delays in filing certified copies of foreign priority applications due to the COVID-19 outbreak

February 1, 2021

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) recognizes that the COVID-19 outbreak has imposed significant hardships on many of our stakeholders. In particular, some foreign intellectual property (IP) offices are not currently issuing paper certified copies of foreign applications due to the COVID-19 outbreak. To provide relief to applicants during the outbreak, the USPTO has published an Official Gazette Notice setting forth conditions under which the USPTO will suspend the requirement for filing the certified copy of the foreign application. The application must have been filed in a foreign IP office that does not participate in a bilateral or multilateral priority document exchange program with the USPTO that would cover the application and thus permit retrieval through the program. See the full text of the notice for more information.

USPTO announces COVID-19 deferred-fee provisional patent application pilot program

September 16, 2020

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) today announced a collaborative deferred-fee provisional patent application pilot program for inventions that combat COVID-19.  Read the news brief for more information.

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

June 30, 2020

On June 15, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) announced the COVID-19 Prioritized Examination Program for certain trademark and service mark applications, which allows COVID-19-related trademark applications to be advanced out of turn and immediately assigned for examination. Today, the USPTO launched a related webpage, where applicants can find additional resources and information about the program. Read the news brief for more information

USPTO extends certain CARES Act relief for small and micro entities

June 29, 2020

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 notice, and has extended certain patent and Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) deadlines three times under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), through the March 31 notice, the April 28 notice, and the May 27 notice. Read the news brief for more information.

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

June 15, 2020

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

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

June 12, 2020

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. Read the news brief for more information.

USPTO launches COVID-19 Response Resource Center

June 3, 2020

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. Read the press release for more information.

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

June 1, 2020

The United States Patent Office (USPTO) and the Japan Patent Office (JPO) are committed to working together to incentivize innovations that can help overcome the COVID-19 pandemic. Read the joint message from the USPTO and JPO.

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

May 29, 2020

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 patent-related fees and deadlines

May 27, 2020

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. Read the news brief for more information

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

May 27, 2020

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. Read the news brief for more information

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

May 18, 2020

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. Read the news brief for more information.

USPTO announces COVID-19 Prioritized Examination Pilot Program for small and micro entities

May 8, 2020

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) today announced a new COVID-19 Prioritized Examination Pilot Program.

Under this new pilot program, the USPTO will grant requests for prioritized examination to patent applicants that qualify for small or micro entity status without payment of the typical fees associated with other prioritized examination. In addition, 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. Read the press release for more information.

USPTO to allow filing of plant patent applications and correspondence via patent electronic filing systems in response to the COVID-19 outbreak

May 6, 2020

In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) today announced it will temporarily permit the filing of plant patent applications and follow-on documents via the USPTO patent electronic filing systems (EFS-Web or Patent Center) until further notice. Filers are reminded that only registered users of the USPTO patent electronic filing systems may file follow-on documents into existing applications via the USPTO patent electronic filing systems. Read the news brief for more information.

USPTO launches platform to facilitate connections between patent holders and potential licensees in key technologies

May 4, 2020

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) today unveiled a new web-based intellectual property (IP) marketplace platform, Patents 4 Partnerships, to provide the public with a user-friendly, searchable repository of patents and published patent applications related to the COVID-19 pandemic that are indicated as available for licensing. Read the press release for more information

Responding to COVID-19: A joint message of support for inventors from the USPTO and EPO

April 30, 2020

"The coronavirus outbreak has changed our daily lives almost beyond recognition. The staff of the European Patent Office (EPO) and United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) stand in solidarity with everyone affected." Read the joint message from the USPTO and EPO

USPTO extends certain patent and trademark deadlines to June 1

April 28, 2020

In accordance with the temporary authority provided by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) signed by President Trump on March 27, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) today further extended the time to file certain patent and trademark-related documents and to pay certain required fees, which otherwise would have been due between March 27 and May 31, to June 1, 2020. This is in addition to the prior extension the USPTO had announced on March 31, 2020. Read the news brief for more information

USPTO answers frequently asked questions on CARES Act relief

April 6, 2020

The USPTO has released a series of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and answers for patent and trademark filers regarding the USPTO’s previously announced extension of certain patent and trademark-related timing deadlines under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. To access these FAQs, please go to the Extension of Deadlines under the CARES Act FAQs on the Patents and Trademarks webpages.  

USPTO announces extension of certain patent and trademark-related timing deadlines under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act

March 31, 2020

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) today announced extensions to the time allowed to file certain patent and trademark-related documents and to pay certain required fees. These actions are an exercise of temporary authority provided to the USPTO by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) signed by President Trump on March 27. Read the press release for more information.

USPTO waives original handwritten signature requirement

March 19, 2020

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) considers the effects of COVID-19 to be an "extraordinary situation" within the meaning of 37 CFR 1.183 for affected patent and trademark applicants, patentees, reexamination parties, and trademark owners. Therefore, the USPTO is waiving the requirements of 37 CFR 1.4(e)(1) and (2) for an original handwritten signature for certain correspondence with the Office of Enrollment and Discipline and certain payments by credit card. The Office notes that the requirements of 37 CFR 1.4(e)(1) and (2) are the only USPTO requirements for original handwritten, ink signatures, and the USPTO has no other requirements for original handwritten, ink signatures. Read more details in the official notice on our website.

Relief for USPTO customers affected by COVID-19

March 16, 2020

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) considers the effects of coronavirus to be an "extraordinary situation" within the meaning of 37 CFR 1.183 and 37 CFR 2.146 for affected patent and trademark applicants, patentees, reexamination parties, and trademark owners. Therefore, the USPTO is waiving petition fees in certain situations for customers impacted by the coronavirus. This notice does not grant waivers or extensions of dates or requirements set by statute. Read more details in the official notice on our website.

USPTO offices closed to the public

March 15, 2020

Out of an abundance of caution for the health and safety of the public and USPTO employees, all USPTO offices will be closed to the public beginning Monday, March 16, 2020 until further notice. USPTO offices will remain open for employees, contractors, and those with access badges. Unless otherwise notified, USPTO operations will continue without interruption. Patent and trademark application deadlines and other deadlines are not extended. Those with official business with the USPTO should reach out to their points of contact with any questions or through the CONTACT US link. Thank you for your cooperation. We regret any inconvenience. 

USPTO events  

The events page on USPTO.gov is the best place to find an up-to-date list of upcoming USPTO events. If an event will be postponed or canceled, we will update the listing to reflect the change.

Interviews, oral hearings and in-person meetings

March 13, 2020

Until further notice, examiner and examining attorney interviews, Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) and Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) oral hearings, and other similar in-person meetings with parties and stakeholders scheduled to take place at USPTO offices on or after Friday, March 13, 2020 will be conducted remotely by video or telephone. Parties will receive further instructions on how to participate by video or telephone in advance of the interview, hearing, or meeting.

If you have any questions, please contact the following:

  • For patent examiner interviews, please contact the examiner or the examiner’s supervisor (SPE) directly. Additionally, if you have any questions about telephonic or video interviews in general or are unable to reach the examiner or SPE with respect to a particular interview, please email: ExaminerInterviewPractice@uspto.gov
  • For trademark examining attorney interviews, please contact the managing attorney.
  • For PTAB oral hearings, please contact PTABHearings@uspto.gov or call 571-272-9797.
  • For TTAB oral hearings, please contact TTABHearings@uspto.gov or call 571-272-8500.
  • For other in-person meetings, please contact your USPTO point of contact for that meeting.

For more information on COVID-19 coronavirus, please visit: coronavirus.gov and https://www.usa.gov/coronavirus.