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« Genentech, Inc. v. Iancu (Fed. Cir. 2020) | Main | Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on Patent Offices and Federal Courts – April 2 UPDATE »

March 31, 2020


They could have just said all deadlines are pushed off by 30 days, or pushed off until a certain date, like other countries have done, but no, this is the USPTO, it knows better, it can't learn from anyone else, it had to make it complicated. And unclear.

I'm looking for the part of the announcement that says, "This material will be incorporated into the next USPTO professional licensing exam. Examinees will now be responsible for three sets of laws, pertaining to three different time periods: pre-AIA, AIA, and corona."

In the words of the late Shel Silverstein, "Some kind of help is the kind of help we all can do without."

Why the heck is the relief ONLY FOR SMALL and MICRO ENTITIES for Responses to Missing Parts (and other pre-exam notices) and maintenance fee payments?

Aren’t patent practitioners and others who are involved in handling the same for both their large and small entity clients still personally affected the same way such that the outbreak may materially interfere with their timely submission for ALL their clients?

What rises to the level of "personally affected" and "materially interfered"? By having those subjective requirements, the USPTO sets us up for possible invalidity attacks, i.e., that an extension should not have been granted because the given person's situation was not good enough, e.g., wasn't hospitalized for COVID or didn't have a family member die from COVID.

Office Action response deadlines are delayed, but new application filing deadlines are not. So what about the situation where I am submitting a new application in lieu of an Office Action response?

How does the waiver apply to co-pendency? If I have an Office Action response shortened statutory deadline in a parent application on April 15, can I submit a new application claiming priority to the parent application on May 15 without paying an extension of time fee? If so, would I submit a petition for an extension of time, but not pay the fee (or reduce the fee amount by one month)?

I have already reached out to the USPTO for clarification. Hopefully it will translate into formal guidance.

As Dan suggested, tt would have been nice if there simply was a blanket waiver instead of this approach.

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