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USPTO Extends Certain Patent Filing Deadlines

By Procopio Partner Robert “Bob” Ramos

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) recently exercised its authority granted by the CARES Act stimulus package to extend several patent-related deadlines that would have been due on or after March 27, 2020, through April 30, 2020. The specific deadlines that can be extended include: Responses to Official Actions, Issue Fee Payments, Maintenance Fee Payments, Notice of Appeals, Appeal Briefs, Reply Briefs, and Requests for oral hearings before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), Petitions to the Chief Judge; along with several types of replies to an Office notice issued during pre-examination processing. 

The length of the extension of the particular deadline in question will be “30 days from the initial date that it was due, provided that the filing is accompanied by a statement that the delay in filing or payment was due to the COVID-19 outbreak.” The reasons for delay can include office closures, cash flow interruptions, inaccessibility of files or documents, travel delays, personal or family illness, or any other situation that “materially interferes with timely filing or payment.”

The USPTO will continue to evaluate the evolving situation around COVID-19 and the impact on the USPTO’s operations and stakeholders, and may further extend this CARES Act relief period.

If you believe that your patent rights may be impacted during the ongoing COVID-19 emergency, please contact us and we can assist you.

Robert “Bob” Ramos is a leader of Procopio's Life Sciences practice and a member of Procopio's Intellectual Property team. He has over 20 years of combined Life Sciences IP experience in both private practice and the biotechnology industry related to worldwide patent and trademark acquisition and strategic counseling. Bob has assisted venture-backed startups, mid-sized companies, basic research Institutes, as well as large biopharmaceutical companies in need of extensive portfolio management in the biotechnology arts, including molecular biology, antibodies/peptibodies, protein therapeutics, cancer therapies, gene therapy, cellular immunotherapy, and nucleic acids; as well as next generation sequencing and modern genomics, including microfluidics, microarrays, bioinformatic and pharmacogenomic analysis for personalized medicine and companion diagnostics.