The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) recognizes that the COVID-19 pandemic has imposed significant hardships on many of our stakeholders. As a result, the USPTO has waived certain fees under existing authority through the March 16 notice, and has extended certain patent and Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) deadlines three times under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), through the March 31 notice, the April 28 notice, and the May 27 notice.
As businesses begin to reopen or resume operations, some stakeholders will continue to require relief, particularly small businesses and individuals. By the notice issued today (the June 29 notice), under the CARES Act authority and its existing authority, the USPTO has extended from July 1, 2020, to September 30, 2020, the time for small and micro entities to pay certain patent-related fees that would otherwise have been due on or after March 27, 2020. The small and micro entity fees eligible for an extension until September 30, 2020, include: basic filing fees, issue fees, maintenance fees, and other fees as set forth in the June 29 notice. In addition to this extension, and although some of the other relief provided in past notices is ending, other extensions of time and other relief remain available to those who need it on a case-by-case basis.
As explained in the May 27 notice and the April 28 notice, the USPTO has also waived the fee for filing a petition for the revival of applications that became abandoned, if accompanied by a statement that the delay in filing or payment was due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The June 29 notice clarifies that such petitions must be filed by July 31, 2020, to be eligible for the petition fee waiver. The USPTO will continue to evaluate the evolving situation around the COVID-19 outbreak and the impact on the USPTO’s operations and stakeholders. At this time, the USPTO does not anticipate any further blanket extensions beyond what is articulated in today’s notice.