We're working as usual
We hope you are safe and healthy during this COVID19 pandemic.
We are monitoring the announcements from the various patent offices as to what kinds of relief they are offering for businesses and inventors having trouble due to COVID19. We will update this page (see Updates section, below) as we receive announcements.
We are here to help you in whatever way you need.
If you have any COVID19 inventions
Please be in contact with us. There are some interesting developments to encourage these. Some of them are:
The ILPTO has an initiative to encourage COVID19 inventions: any invention which can prevent, treat or slowdown the coronavirus is eligible to be designated as a "green" application, which is fast-tracked. Examination on these applications will start in 3 months from designation as a green application.
Other companies are acting to encourage COVID19 inventions. For example, there is an Open COVID Pledge, in which a number of large companies have pledged to make their intellectual property available free of charge for use in ending the COVID19 pandemic and minimizing the impact of the disease. See https://opencovidpledge.org/
Our search associate, Sagacious IP, has offered some free research for COVID19 innovations.
If you can't focus on your patent portfolio at this time or are having budget issues
There are some extensions available. Let us know if you need to take an extension:
The USPTO has announced extensions to some of its deadlines under the CARES Act, in which most deadlines falling between March 27, 2020 and April 30, 2020 may be extended by 30 days, subject to filing a statement that the delay was due to the COVID-19 outbreak. See https://www.uspto.gov/patent/laws-and-regulations/cares-act-faqs.
Israel will be providing extensions as well, though this has not been finalized yet.
The European Patent Office extended some deadlines expiring from March 15, 2020 to April 17, 2020, which it then extended to May 4, 2020. https://www.epo.org/news-issues/covid-19.html Note that they will also recognize hardships which expired beforehand, though not for everyone. These will require petitioning for relief.
The Innovation Authority just announced an initiative to help startups who have been hit by COVID19 - a faster path to R&D grants, particularly for startups who were moving forward when COVID19 came and slowed them down. These grants will be available until September 15, 2020. Check out https://innovationisrael.org.il/RnDfund-quick-process
Update 20 July 2020
Canada has allowed further deadline extensions: IP deadlines originally falling between 16 March and 9 August are automatically extended until Monday 10 August.
Update 25 June 2020
WIPO has prepared an "COVID-19 IP Policy Tracker", a single website which lists how each patent office has responded to the pandemic. See https://www.wipo.int/covid19-policy-tracker/#/covid19-policy-tracker/ipo-operations
Update 3 June 2020
USPTO has again extended deadlines: Small and micro entities, any deadlines originally falling between 27 Mar and 30 Jun are extended to 1 Jul. Large entities have to file a petition in order to extend their deadlines. That being said, large entities will only have to pay extensions from 1 Jun, as long as the delay to 1 Jun is a COVID19 related delay. No deadlines can be extended past the statutory 6 month deadline. See https://www.uspto.gov/coronavirus
PCT: WIPO considers COVID-19 to be a 'natural calamity' under PCT Rule 82quater.1 and is providing relief accordingly. See https://www.wipo.int/export/sites/www/pct/en/covid_19/82quater.pdf. For documents to be filed at the International Bureau, any request under PCT Rule 82quater.1 will be viewed favorably and not require evidence "provided that the virus affected the locality in which the interested party resides'.
EPO: The EPO has not provided further blanket extensions. However, the EPO noted that, if a concerned party provides evidence that they could not make the deadline due to interruptions caused by COVID19, the delay in meeting the time limit can be excused. See https://www.epo.org/law-practice/legal-texts/official-journal/information-epo/archive/20200527.html
AU: IP Australia has extended their free extensions of time until 30 Jun, though not for renewals.
Update 1 June 2020
On May 26, the Canada's CIPO decided to provide further extensions of time for deadlines that fall due between 16 March and 14 June. They are now automatically extended until 15 June 2020.
The USPTO has now extended its deadline to 1st July for small and micro entities.
Update 14 May 2020
Canada has now automatically extended all deadlines to 1 June and may provide further extensions later.
Update 7 May 2020
The USPTO, EPO and Korean Patent Office have announced extensions due to COVID19:
Korea: all deadlines falling between 30 Apr and 30 May will automatically be extended to 31 May 2020.
USPTO: Any deadlines due between 27 Mar and 31 May are extended to 1 June, as long as they are with a statement that the delay was due to COVID-19.
EPO: All deadlines due on or after 15 March are extended until 2 June
Update 30 April 2020
The Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) is also providing extensions for patent, trademark, and industrial design deadlines that fall due between 16 March and 15 May. They are currently automatically extended until 19 May 2020. See http://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/cipointernet-internetopic.nsf/eng/wr04767.html
Update: 23 April 2020
All three of the patent offices through which we file directly (USPTO, ILPTO, WIPO-PCT) are online and have been available for filings. Our associates abroad, with whom we are in email contact, also report no filing problems.
We are also monitoring the announcements from the various patent offices as to what kinds of relief they are offering for businesses and inventors having trouble due to COVID19. Some relief was announced at the start of the crisis, but there have been several updated announcements, right after Heidi posted an article on her blog, The Patent Pen, about patent deadlines during the pandemic (http://www.thepatentpen.com/blog).