IP Update, Vol. 9, No. 1 (30 March 2011)

Editors: Marc S. Weiner, Esq. and Nicholas P. Godici

USPTO Announces Accommodations for Patent and Trademark Applicants Affected by the Earthquake and Tsunami in Japan

The USPTO has announced that special accommodations will be made for those patent and trademark applicants affected by the catastrophic earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

For patent applications and reexamination proceedings pending in the USPTO as of March 11, 2011 that have one or more inventors or an assignee affected by the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, in which a response is due, the USPTO will withdraw the outstanding Office Action and reissue it restarting the period for response if requested. Additionally, the USPTO will waive the surcharge fee for late payment of a maintenance fee if the delay was caused by the events in Japan. Similar accommodations are being made for trademark applications and registrations.

The USPTO also cautions that the request to reissue the Office Action and the USPTO withdrawal and reissuance of the Office Action must occur prior to the expiration of the original statutory or non-statutory time period for response. In other words, the USPTO must approve the request and reissue the Office Action prior to the end of the statutory period [e.g. 6 month extended period]. Applicants should be cautious since in the absence of the USPTO reissusance of the original Office Action prior to the expiration of the statutory period for response, the application will be abandoned for failure to timely respond to the original Office Action.

Further details may be found in the following USPTO announcement.

Summary provided by Nicholas P. Godici

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