The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has forced several organizations, businesses, and schools to close down temporarily. The closures have led to a sudden rise in remote working for the employees. Government agencies have offered a variety of relief policies such as delay of payments, the forgiveness of late fees and other accommodations while the Coronavirus continues to spread.
The trademark operations at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) have also been impacted. It is essential to keep in mind that as of 24th March 2020, USPTO has not suspended filing deadlines. The operations at USPTO will continue, and all deadlines for submission will stand as before. These deadlines will stand for all types of submissions, including declarations of use, renewals, statements of use, and more. The USPTO does not expect the operations to shut down unless the COVID-19 situations worsen significantly.
The USPTO has already acknowledged that some deadlines might be missed. As the current COVID-19 circumstances are an unprecedented situation, the Trademark Office has waived all associated petition fees. This means that in case a deadline is missed as a result of any COVID-19 circumstances, a petition can be submitted to the Director free of charge to ensure the associated trademark right is not abandoned, waived or allowed to expire. The petition document must clearly explain why the deadline was missed. The petition must be submitted before the deadline that is two months from the issue date of the notice of abandonment or cancellation or six months from abandonment if no notice is received. Although USPTO has been kind in allowing us to submit a petition, it is highly recommended to try to avoid having to submit any petition. There is no guarantee that the petition will be accepted.
The Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) has announced that the Registrar is trying to ensure that parties affected by COVID-19 can receive extended deadlines by the Trademark Opposition Board (TMOB). As of 19th March, CIPO remains open, but clients should expect significant delays in CIPO services. For the latest information, kindly visit CIPO website. Please get in touch with a local agent or lawyer in Edmonton for a free consultation regarding your situation with CIPO.