USPTO Strives to Smooth Over Ripples Created by COVID-19
COVID-19 washed over the US like a tidal wave, leaving a trail of disruption behind that has shaken innovation, patent examinations, and trademark extensions across the country. Recognizing the need to take swift action, the USPTO has initiated measures intended to make it easier to submit patent applications and secure extension on existing trademarks.
Shutdowns across the country created challenges for many entities to meet filing deadlines and pay the applicable fees on their patents and trademarks. As such, the USPTO has granted several extensions or made other concessions. Extensions-to-date have included, for example, extensions for priority filing, renewal applications, requests made in ex parte appeals, motions for trial, statements of use, and response to office actions. For all the most up-to-date information from the USPTO regarding how they are responding to pandemic-related activity, whether related to trademarks or to patents, go to https://www.uspto.gov/coronavirus.
USPTO Expedites Patents for Coronavirus Related Products and Treatments
To respond to the need for innovation and development of products and pharmaceuticals aimed at defeating coronavirus, the USPTO created the COVID-19 Prioritized Examination Program. USPTO is currently accepting 500 qualifying patent applications without the requirement to pay the fees previously required for prioritized examination.
Eligibility for the program is limited to patents and services specifically created to address COVID-19. This includes pharmaceuticals and devices whose purpose is to treat patients, prevent transmission, or otherwise address a COVID-19 specific need. For claims that would require FDA approval, it is necessary to secure the appropriate FDA approval for COVID-19 application.
The pilot program is open to small and micro entities, and applicants must submit their application via the USPTO patent electronic filing system. However, individuals must use the EFS-Web or Patent Center to apply if it’s a utility patent. As of May 15, 2020, 10 applications had been granted prioritized examination status. This means there are a significant number of spots available for small and micro entities eager to get their products to market.
It Is the Right Time to Act Quickly
Patent applications have dropped dramatically in the wake of COVID-19. This means that the desks of patent examiners aren’t as full as they were at the beginning of 2020. While before it could take six months or longer to proceed from application to review and registration, that process may now only take a few months.
Now is the right time to submit the application for entities eager to get research patents through the pipeline. It is a safe bet that the next couple of months will be slower than usual. However, the pace of applications will likely rise sharply as business begins to resume its normal pace, which could occur as early as late summer.
Contact Global Patent Solutions at (877) 414-6028 for more information about the research we put into patents for our clients. Our team will answer your questions and help you determine the best strategies for bringing your products or services to the market.