Patent Office Extends Payment Deadlines ‘One More Time’

Yesterday, the USPTO issued a notice that the deadlines for certain actions and paying certain fees are extended once again for micro-entity and small-entity applicants affected by COVID-19.

In particular, filing fees (including search fee, examination fee, and late filing surcharge), issue fees, and maintenance fees due between March 27 and September 29, 2020, will be ‘timely-filed’ if paid by September 30, 2020, if the applicant is a micro or small entity, and submits a (truthful) statement that the delay was due to COVID-19.

Petitions for extension of time (such as when a 2 or 3 month shortened period for reply to an Office Action has expired, but 6 months has not yet passed), petitions for revival of an application abandoned due to inability to file or pay, and petitions for accepting a delayed maintenance fee are available on a case-by-case basis for those affected by COVID-19. In particular, a waiver of the petition fee for revival of an application is available to those affected by COVID-19, but must be filed by July 31, 2020. Additionally, requests for extension of time in relation to certain PTAB proceedings is also currently still available.

We recommend that applicants continue to strive to maintain timely filing and timely payment, when at all possible, in order to avoid unintended future consequences and potential challenges of whether COVID-19 was actually the cause for delayed filings or payments. However, this additional extension of time affords valuable relief to those who are actually delayed by COVID-19 and would otherwise lose valuable applications. Contact us if you would like help navigating through the patent application and prosecution process, including making use of the USPTO COVID-19 relief.