To give patent and trademark applicants as well as patent and trademark owners relief from the implications of the COVID-19 outbreak, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) determined that the COVID-19 outbreak qualifies as an “extraordinary situation” and exercised its authority to waive certain petition fees. For patent owners and applicants unable to timely reply to a communication from the USPTO due to COVID-19, the USPTO is waiving any petition fee associated with the revival. Similarly, for trademark applications and registrations abandoned, canceled or expired due to an inability to timely respond to a communication, the USPTO is also waiving any petition fee associated with the revival. To utilize the waiver, a copy of this Notice must be enclosed along with a timely filed petition to revive. The USPTO will treat enclosure of this notice “as a representation that the delay in filing the reply was due to the effects of the Coronavirus outbreak, and as a request for sua sponte waiver of the petition fee.”
However, the USPTO cautions that “[t]his notice does not grant waivers or extensions of dates or requirements set by statute.” In other words, patent and trademark applicants as well as patent and trademark owners need to abide by the statutory due dates to avoid potential loss of rights. In particular, the Notice notes that for patents, the one-year deadline to claim priority to or to convert provisional applications into non-provisional applications, the co-pendency requirement for parent and child applications, the period to pay the issue fee, and the time limits for ex parte reexamination are not extendable by petition. For trademarks, the Notice notes that the 36-month deadline to file the statement of use, the due dates for filing affidavits of continued use or excusable nonuse, and the deadlines for filing a renewal, an opposition or a cancellation proceeding are not extendable by petition.