Coronavirus Alerts and Updates

June 13th, 2020

Further to our G&B Firm Advisory of June 2, 2020, and in view of the rapidly-evolving situation in the U.S. regarding the COVID-19 outbreak, on June 12, 2020, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) announced, under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), an extension of the time period for petitioning for certain rights of priority or benefit in a patent application and waiver of the associated petition fee.

Ordinarily, an applicant seeking to claim priority to or benefit of a prior-filed foreign or provisional application must file the application seeking priority or benefit (hereinafter “the later-filed application”) within 12 months (or 6 months in the case of a design application claiming foreign priority) of the prior-flied application. Further, the patent laws permit an applicant two more months (hereinafter “two-month period”) to file the later-filed application after the 12-month (or 6-month) time period has expired if the delay in filing the later-filed application was unintentional.

According to the USPTO’s announcement, additional relief is provided for such a later-filed application that seeks priority of a prior-filed foreign application for which the 12-month (or 6-month) time period ended between March 27, 2020 and July 30, 2020. Similarly, additional relief is also provided for a later-filed application that seeks the benefit of a prior-filed provisional application for which the 12-month time period ended between March 27, 2020 and July 30, 2020.

Specifically, for a later-filed application meeting the above criteria, the two-month time period for restoring the right of priority or benefit is extended to the later of (a) July 31, 2020 or (b) the expiration of the two-month period. Further, the USPTO will waive the petition fees for the later-filed application if the application is accompanied by a petition and a statement that failure to timely file the later-filed application was due to the COVID-19 outbreak (please refer to our advisory of April 1, 2020).

Additionally, the USPTO will also waive the petition fees for international applications for which the time period for filing the international application ended between March 27, 2020 and July 30, 2020, i.e., provided that the international application is filed within the two-month period and is accompanied by a statement that failure to timely file the international application was due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

We hope you, your colleagues and loved ones are unaffected by the COVID-19 outbreak; however, should you be unable to timely provide us with instructions to perform any necessary filings due to the COVID-19 outbreak, or if there is any other way G&B may be of assistance, please feel free to reach out to us.

While G&B will continue to update you with respect to any additional announcements or changes in policy at the USPTO on our website at: http://www.gbpatent.com/resources/Coronavirus , further public messaging from the USPTO regarding COVID-19 can be found at: http://www.uspto.gov/coronavirus.

Our thoughts are with you during this uncertain time, and please let us know if you have any questions or concerns. We continue to remain at your service.

June 2nd, 2020

Further to our G&B Firm Advisory of May 28, 2020, and in view of the rapidly-evolving situation in the U.S. regarding the COVID-19 outbreak, on May 29, 2020, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) announced it considers the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak to be an “extraordinary situation,” warranting waiver of its “paper filing” requirement for initial patent term extension applications under 35 U.S.C. § 156 (“Initial PTE Applications”), and at least temporarily authorizing electronic filing thereof. 

Until this announcement, USPTO regulations expressly prohibited electronic filing of Initial PTE Applications, and required that such applications can only be filed by physical paper delivery: either by U.S. Postal Service, or by hand delivery.  The USPTO’s waiver opens a third filing method, electronic filing, for the first time.  This announcement only affects Initial PTE Applications—USPTO continues to accept electronic filing of documents in previously-opened PTE applications.

The USPTO’s announcement details certain formalities and requirements that must be met in order for an electronically-submitted Initial PTE Application to be granted a filing date.  Moreover, for Initial PTE Applications filed electronically, the USPTO has also waived the requirement for two additional copies of the application.  Patent owners intending to file an Initial PTE Application electronically are encouraged to review the USPTO’s announcement, which can be found here.

The USPTO’s waiver is open ended, permitting electronic filing “until further notice,” though the announcement also intimates that electronic filing may eventually become permanent as part of its efforts to its new electronic and filing and retrieval system

We hope you, your colleagues and loved ones are unaffected by the COVID-19 outbreak; however, should you be unable to timely provide us with instructions to perform any necessary filings due to the COVID-19 outbreak, or if there is any other way G&B may be of assistance, please feel free to reach out to us.

While G&B will continue to update you with respect to any additional announcements or changes in policy at the USPTO on our website at: http://www.gbpatent.com/resources/Coronavirus , further public messaging from the USPTO regarding COVID-19 can be found at: http://www.uspto.gov/coronavirus.

Our thoughts are with you during this uncertain time, and please let us know if you have any questions or concerns. We continue to remain at your service.

May 28th, 2020

Further to our G&B Firm Advisory of May 9, 2020, and in view of the rapidly-evolving situation in the U.S. regarding the COVID-19 outbreak, on May 27, 2020, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) announced, under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), further expansion of its April 28, 2020 previous relief announcement for small and micro entities only, to allow further extensions to file certain patent and trademark-related documents and to pay certain required fees.

Under the expanded relief efforts, for small and micro entities, deadlines for certain patent and trademark filings that would have been deemed timely filed, if filed by June 1, 2020 under the USPTO’s April 28, 2020 previous relief announcement, have been extended to July 1, 2020, provided that the filing is accompanied by a Statement of Delay Due to Covid-19 Outbreak.  For large entities, relief will be available on a case-by-case basis, and such requests can be submitted through a request for an extension of time or a petition to revive. The above expanded provisions for relief are not automatic, but rather must be expressly requested.

We hope you, your colleagues and loved ones are unaffected by the COVID-19 outbreak; however, should you be unable to timely provide us with instructions to perform any necessary filings due to the COVID-19 outbreak, or if there is any other way G&B may be of assistance, please feel free to reach out to us.

While G&B will continue to update you with respect to any additional announcements or changes in policy at the USPTO on our website at: http://www.gbpatent.com/resources/Coronavirus , further public messaging from the USPTO regarding COVID-19 can be found at: http://www.uspto.gov/coronavirus .

Our thoughts are with you during this uncertain time, and please let us know if you have any questions or concerns.  We continue to remain at your service.

May 9th, 2020

Further to our G&B Firm Advisory of April 29, 2020, and in view of the rapidly-evolving situation in the U.S. regarding the COVID-19 outbreak, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) announced on May 8, 2020 a new COVID-19 Prioritized Examination Pilot Program, directed toward independent inventors and small businesses.

To qualify for the Program, the applicant must be a small or micro entity, and the claims of the application must cover a product or process that is subject to U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for use in the prevention and/or treatment of COVID-19. Such FDA approvals include but are not limited to: Investigational New Drug (IND) application, Investigational Device Exemption (IDE), New Drug Application (NDA), Biologics License Application (BLA), Premarket Approval (PMA), or Emergency Use Authorization (EUA).

The USPTO provides a stated goal of reaching final disposition of applications in the Program within 12 months, and more particularly, reaching final disposition of applications in the Program within six months if applicants provide timely responses to communications from the USPTO. Differing from existing prioritized examination programs at the USPTO, under the COVID-19 Prioritized Examination Pilot Program, the USPTO will grant requests for prioritized examination to patent applicants that meet the Program requirements, without requiring payment of the fees associated with other prioritized examination.

The Program is initially limited to the first 500 requests, although the USPTO retains the right to extend or terminate the Program, depending on Program effectiveness and USPTO workload.  See the Federal Register Notice for more information.

While G&B will continue to update you with respect to any additional announcements or changes in policy at the USPTO on our website at: http://www.gbpatent.com/resources/Coronavirus , further public messaging from the USPTO regarding COVID-19 can be found at: http://www.uspto.gov/coronavirus .

Our thoughts are with you during this uncertain time, and please let us know if you have any questions or concerns.  We continue to remain at your service.

April 29th, 2020

Further to our G&B Firm Advisory of April 9, 2020, and in view of the rapidly-evolving situation in the U.S. regarding the COVID-19 outbreak, on April 28, 2020, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) announced, under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, expansion of its March 31, 2020 previous relief announcement, to allow further extensions to file certain patent and trademark-related documents and to pay certain required fees.

Under the expanded relief efforts, certain patent and trademark filings having deadlines which otherwise would have been due between March 27 and May 31, have been extended to June 1, 2020, rather than the 30 days in the previous relief notice, provided that the filing is accompanied by a Statement of Delay Due to Covid-19 Outbreak.

We hope you, your colleagues and loved ones are unaffected by the COVID-19 outbreak; however, should you be unable to timely provide us with instructions to perform any necessary filings due to the COVID-19 outbreak, or if there is any other way G&B may be of assistance, please feel free to reach out to us.

While G&B will continue to update you with respect to any additional announcements or changes in policy at the USPTO on our website at: http://www.gbpatent.com/resources/Coronavirus, further public messaging from the USPTO regarding COVID-19 can be found at: http://www.uspto.gov/coronavirus.

Our thoughts are with you during this uncertain time, and please let us know if you have any questions or concerns.  We continue to remain at your service.

April 9th, 2020

Further to our G&B Firm Advisory of April 1, 2020, and in view of the rapidly-evolving situation regarding the COVID-19 outbreak, we hope you, your colleagues and loved ones continue to be unaffected by the outbreak; however, should you experience any disruption in operation that leaves you unable to communicate with us due to states of emergency in parts of the world (preventing you from timely providing us with instructions), please be assured that we will take all necessary steps to maintain pendency of your matters with us at minimal cost, in order to avoid abandonment (absent your instructions to the contrary).

G&B will continue to update you with respect to any additional announcements regarding this unprecedented crisis on our website at: http://www.gbpatent.com/resources/Coronavirus.
           
Our thoughts are with you during this uncertain time. Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns.  We continue to remain at your service.

April 1st, 2020

Further to our G&B Firm Advisory of March 18, 2020, and in view of the rapidly-evolving situation in the U.S. regarding the COVID-19 outbreak, on March 31, 2020, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) announced, under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, extensions to the time allowed to file certain patent and trademark-related documents and to pay certain required fees.

For example, regarding patent application and reexamination proceedings, the due date for certain filings or procedures, such as office action responses, issue fees, appeal and reply briefs, maintenance fees, and certain matters before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), that was due between and inclusive of both March 27, 2020 and April 30, 2020 will be extended 30 days from the initial date it was due, provided that the filing is accompanied by a statement that the delay in filing or payment was due to the COVID-19 outbreak.  Such a statement must assert that the person associated with the filing (such as the applicant, practitioner and/or inventor) was personally affected by the COVID-19 outbreak including, without limitation, through office closures, cash flow interruptions, inaccessibility of files or other materials, travel delays, personal or family illness, or similar circumstances  such that the outbreak interfered materially with timely filing or payment. Such extensions do not apply to new patent application filing or priority due dates.  Similar relief within this same time period is provided for trademark applicants, registrants and parties to TTAB proceedings, including but not limited to Office Action responses, Statements of Use, Notices of Opposition, priority deadlines, and Declarations of Use/Renewals.

We hope you, your colleagues and loved ones are unaffected by the COVID-19 outbreak; however, should you be unable to timely provide us with instructions to perform any necessary filings due to the COVID-19 outbreak, or if there is any other way G&B may be of assistance, please feel free to reach out to us.

While G&B will continue to update you with respect to any additional announcements or changes in policy at the USPTO on our website at: http://www.gbpatent.com/resources/Coronavirus, further public messaging from the USPTO regarding COVID-19 can be found at: http://www.uspto.gov/coronavirus.

Our thoughts are with you during this uncertain time, and please let us know if you have any questions or concerns.  We continue to remain at your service.

March 18, 2020

G&B's Coronavirus Preparedness Update

Further to our firm Advisory of March 5, 2020, and in view of the rapidly evolving situation in the U.S. regarding the spread of COVID-19, we provide important updates to our emergency preparedness plan.

On Tuesday, March 17, we implemented our remote telework plan. With the exception of a few essential staff to handle tasks that require a physical presence, all of our employees are now working remotely. This decision was made with the goal of ensuring the health and safety of our employees and minimizing the spread of COVID-19 within our community. While in-person interactions will be limited during this period, our patent and trademark prosecution practices will continue to conduct business as usual with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office ("USPTO") and our litigation practice will continue to participate fully in all aspects of court proceedings. Our attorneys remain readily available for video conferencing, and electronic and telephone communications to meet all of your needs and requests.

USPTO And Court Operations Update

To control the spread of COVID-19, the USPTO has banned public access to its facilities and has cancelled all in-person interviews and hearings with USPTO employees. The USPTO will instead conduct those interviews and hearings by video and/or telephone. 

            Importantly, USPTO operations will continue without interruption such that all USPTO due dates and statutory deadlines are not extended. This includes the timely filing of non-provisional patent applications claiming the benefit of a prior-filed foreign application or provisional application, continuation/divisional applications, and issue fee payments.

While deadlines are not extended, the USPTO will waive the petition fees to revive patent and trademark applications that are abandoned, terminated, or canceled/expired due to the effects of COVID-19. The petition must include a statement that the practitioner, applicant, or at least one inventor has been personally affected by the outbreak such that they were unable to file a timely reply and be filed within two months from the issue date of the abandonment, termination, cancellation/expiration notice.

While we will continue to update you with respect to any additional announcements or changes in policy at the USPTO, further public messaging from the USPTO regarding COVID-19 can be found at:  https://www.uspto.gov/coronavirus.

Most United States Federal Courts, including the Federal Circuit, have adopted similar procedures by restricting public access and delaying proceedings where possible. 
   
Ready to Assist

Our thoughts go out to all those who may be personally affected by this pandemic. We hope all continue to be safe and healthy and that your respective businesses remain strong. If there is any way G&B may be of assistance, or if you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out to us as well. We remain at your service.

March 05, 2020

Firm Procedures to Assist Clients During the Coronavirus Crisis   

            In view of the recent international outbreak of coronavirus, we wanted to reassure all of our clients that the firm has taken the necessary steps to assure continuous and reliable operation in the face of unanticipated issues that may arise as a result of the virus. Our firm already has long established special procedures in place to address unexpected emergencies such as snowstorms and power outages, and remains prepared to implement such procedures to deal with the present crisis.

            Our firm has an extensive international practice, and our attorneys are very mobile, visiting clients in the United States and around the world routinely and frequently. We have thus taken internal steps to address how such travel may impact our staff, as well as any interruptions in client visits during this period.
 
            G&B has always monitored and continues to monitor developments that may impact our practice and our clients. To that end we track information provided by news outlets as well as information issued by the U.S. Government (e.g., Centers for Disease Control (CDC)) and other Federal agencies. We have always acted consistently with advisories issued by the government and will continue to do so in order to be respectful of the health of our clients, our attorneys and staff, while minimizing interruptions of service.

            During this period of concern our attorneys will not (unless there is an emergency) be visiting certain countries listed by the U.S. government as having a Level 2 or higher classification. Conversely, a number of clients have already cancelled visits to our offices, and we are working with them via video where possible.

Client Support Services
                 
            Our firm has always been highly computerized and our internal IT staff has now been augmented to address any additional issues which may unexpectedly arise as a result of the virus. Our attorneys and staff are accustomed to and equipped for working remotely and securely when the need arises, and we are ready to implement such remote work on a broader scale should it be required.

            Our IT infrastructure carefully monitors all operations and our systems have been reconfigured to the extent necessary to augment remote access where necessary under crisis circumstances. In addition to our normal cybersecurity procedures, twenty-four hour a day operability to respond to client needs worldwide (a key feature of the firm) will of course continue during this period. We understand that many clients have staffs that are working remotely during this period, and we look forward to working with our clients as seamlessly as possible.