USPTO Announces Accommodations for Patent and Trademark Applicants and Owners Affected by Catastrophe in Japan

March 17, 2011
Press Release 11-21

CONTACT: Peter Pappas or Jennifer Rankin Byrne

(571) 272-8400 or peter.pappas@uspto.gov;

jennifer.rankin_byrne@uspto.gov

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) today published an Official Gazette (OG) notice outlining special accommodations available to patent and trademark applicants and owners affected by the catastrophic events that took place in Japan on March 11, 2011.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Japan who continue to suffer from the effects of the earthquake and resulting tsunami," said Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO David Kappos. "The USPTO is offering assistance in the form of flexibility on deadlines to the full extent allowable under our laws to Japanese applicants."

The USPTO is providing relief, such as the following

For patent applicants and owners:

  • For patent applications and reexamination proceedings pending in the USPTO as of March 11, 2011, having one or more inventors, an assignee or a correspondence address in areas of Japan affected by the earthquake and tsunami, in which a reply to an Office action (final, non-final, or other), a notice of allowance, or other Office notice is outstanding, and for which the statutory or non-statutory time period set for response has not yet expired, the USPTO will, on applicant's request, withdraw the Office communication and reissue it, which will reset the time for responding.
  • For patentees who were unable to timely pay a patent maintenance fee due to the effects of the earthquake and resulting tsunami on March 11, 2011, the USPTO will waive the surcharge for paying a maintenance fee during the six-month grace period following the window to pay the maintenance fee and the surcharge for accepting a delayed maintenance fee payment when the patentee files the maintenance fee payment with a petition to accept a delayed maintenance fee.

For trademark applicants and owners:

  • For trademark applications and registrations with a correspondence or owner address in areas of Japan affected by the earthquake and tsunami as of March 11, 2011, in which a an Office action (final, non-final, or other), a notice of allowance, or other Office notice requiring a response is outstanding, the USPTO will, upon request, withdraw the Office communication and reissue it, which will reset the time for responding.
  • For trademark applications and registrations with a correspondence or owner address in areas of Japan affected by the earthquake and tsunami as of March 11, 2011, that were abandoned or cancelled due to inability to timely respond to a trademark-related Office communication due to the effects of the earthquake and resulting tsunami on March 11, 2011, the USPTO will waive the petition fee (set by regulation, rather than statute) to revive the abandoned application or cancelled registration.

For more information on the USPTO announcement please refer to the following link: http://www.uspto.gov/patents/announce/japan_relief_2011mar17.pdf

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