COVID-19 has disrupted businesses and has wrought havoc with timelines and deadlines. Likely, it will continue to do so. Many government agencies, such as the IRS as we reported here, are reacting to COVID-19 by extending deadlines. For those with intellectual property-related deadlines in the near term, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) has recently made some policy changes in response to COVID-19.
While work goes on inside the USPTO, the building is closed to the public and any in-person business. All previously scheduled meetings or hearings before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (“TTAB”) or Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“PTAB”) are to take place by video or teleconference.
With regard to deadlines to respond to USPTO actions, inquiries or other deadlines, those are set by statute and rule and the failure to timely respond to a deadline results in an abandonment of the underlying trademark or patent application or registration.