Last week, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issued a notice pursuant to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Specifically, “[u]ntil further notice, examiner and examining attorney interviews, Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) and Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) oral hearings, and other similar in-person meetings with parties and stakeholders scheduled to take place at USPTO offices on or after Friday, March 13, 2020 will be conducted remotely by video or telephone.” Certain deadlines between March 27, 2020 and April 30, 2020, including replies to office actions, have been extended by 30 days, “provided that the filing is accompanied by a statement that the delay in filing or payment was due to the COVID-19 outbreak.” In addition, parties to PTAB proceedings, such as IPRs, may request a thirty-day extension for any filing due between March 27, 2020 and April 30, 2020, including requests for rehearing, petitions to the Chief Judge, and patent owner preliminary responses and related responsive filings. For other situations, parties can seek an extension by contacting the PTAB. The notice makes clear that, despite the waivers provided by the notice, the “USPTO is open for the filing of patent documents and fees.”
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