The USPTO continues to view the Coronavirus outbreak to be an extraordinary situation within the meaning of 37 CFR Section 2.146 for affected trademark applicants and owners. Therefore, it has issued the following updates to its earlier rules to provide relief in certain situations:
Response due dates. Relief continues for a limited time period if accompanied by a statement that the failure to act was due to COVID-19. Exemptions to deadlines are only for those matters due between March 27, 2020 and May 31, 2020. In these situations, the matter will be deemed to be timely filed if submitted on or before June 1, 2020. Eligible matters include but are not limited to:
- responses to office actions;
- statements of use or requests for extensions of time to file a statement of use;
- notice of trademark opposition or request for extension of time to file a notice of opposition;
- affidavit of use or excusable non-use
- trademark renewal applications
Waiver of fees. Relief will still be granted in the form of a waiver of the petition fee to revive an abandoned application or reinstate a cancelled or expired registration. To be eligible, the abandonment or trademark cancellation must have taken place between March 16, 2020 and May 31, 2020. In all cases, a statement must be submitted indicating that the failure to timely file was a result of COVID-19 delays or disruptions to business. The petition must be filed no later than two months after the issue date of abandonment or cancellation. If the applicant or owner did not receive notice of the original action, the petition must be filed no later than six months after the trademark cancellation or abandonment.
Additional notices. The USPTO remains open for the filing of trademark opposition and trademark cancellation documents. The business of the Office has not been drastically impacted, since the vast majority takes place electronically. That being said, the Office remains closed for in-person transactions and arguments before the U.S. Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) until further notice.
Editor’s comment. Trademark filings and actions before the U.S. Trademark Trial and Appeal Board continue without major disruption. This is true both in terms of the number of new applications filed, as well as TTAB activities. Trademark opposition and trademark cancellation statistics will be discussed in a future post.