Under the authority granted by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, on March 31, 2020, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) originally extended certain patent due dates falling between March 27, 2020, and April 30, 2020, by 30 days as long as a statement indicating that the delay was due to COVID-19 was filed with the response. On March 31, 2020, the USPTO issued another notice indicating that responses “due between, and inclusive of both, March 27, 2020 and May 31, 2020, will be considered timely filed if filed on or before June 1, 2020 providing that the filing or payment is accompanied by a statement that the delay in filing or payment was due to the COVID-19 outbreak …” Both of these extensions of due dates were available to all patent applicants and patent owners.
On May 27, 2020, the USPTO issued another notice again extending due dates for “certain patent-related documents or fees that would otherwise have been due on or after March 27, 2020.” However, the latest extension is not available to large entities. The notice limits the extension to small and micro entities:
For small and micro entities only, pursuant to the CARES Act Notice dated April 28, 2020, filings that would have been deemed timely filed if filed by June 1, 2020, will now be deemed timely filed if filed by July 1, 2020.
Accordingly, for small and micro entities, the USPTO has extended due dates between and inclusive of March 27, 2020, and May 31, 2020, until July 1, 2020. While large entities still can file a petition for extension of time or a petition to revive, these petitions need to be accompanied by payment of the appropriate fees. The latest notice does not provide an extension for any USPTO due date after June 1, 2020.
However, for all patent applicants, the USPTO will continue to waive the petition fee for reviving applications “that became abandoned (or terminated or limited) on or before June 30, 2020” as long as a statement indicating that the delay was due to COVID-19 is filed along with the petition. In the notice, the USPTO also indicates that it “will continue to evaluate the evolving situation around the COVID-19 outbreak and the impact on the USPTO’s operations and stakeholders.”