Disaster Guidance for Patent Customers

Patent applicants and patent owners affected by Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Irma, and Hurricane Maria may seek special relief as set forth below. The notices may be viewed here:

Hurricane Harvey Notices

Hurricane Irma Notices

Hurricane Maria Notice

A Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) Document has been added to this page and is available below.

 

Time Periods for Reply in Affected Areas

Hurricane Harvey: For patent applications and reexamination proceedings, you may request that the Office withdraw an Office communication and reissue the communication if the patent application or reexamination proceeding has:

  1. An outstanding Office communication on August 25, 2017;
  2. One or more inventors, an applicant, an assignee, or a correspondence address in the areas of Texas and Louisiana affected by Hurricane Harvey; and
  3. A statutory or non-statutory period for reply that has not yet expired.

Note: If the time period for reply has already been restarted by the Office, the request should not be submitted.

Hurricane Irma: For patent applications and reexamination proceedings, you may request that the Office withdraw an Office communication and reissue the communication if the patent application or reexamination proceeding has:

  1. An outstanding Office communication on September 6, 2017;
  2. One or more inventors, an applicant, an assignee, or a correspondence address in the areas of Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina affected by Hurricane Irma; and
  3. A statutory or non-statutory period for reply that has not yet expired.

Note: If the time period for reply has already been restarted by the Office, the request should not be submitted.

Hurricane Maria: For patent applications and reexamination proceedings, you may request that the Office withdraw an Office communication and reissue the communication if the patent application or reexamination proceeding has:

  1. An outstanding Office communication on September 19, 2017;
  2. One or more inventors, an applicant, an assignee, or a correspondence address in the areas of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands affected by Hurricane Maria; and
  3. A statutory or non-statutory period for reply that has not yet expired.

Note: If the time period for reply has already been restarted by the Office, the request should not be submitted.

Petitions to Revive

Hurricane Harvey: If you have missed a filing deadline due to the effects of Hurricane Harvey and were unable to timely reply to an Office communication which resulted in the application being held abandoned or the reexamination prosecution terminated or limited, the Office will waive the petition fee for a petition to revive where the delay in filing the reply was due to the effects of Hurricane Harvey that began on August 25, 2017. The petition must be filed by February 26, 2018, in order to be entitled to a waiver of the petition fee.

Hurricane Irma: If you have missed a filing deadline due to the effects of Hurricane Irma and were unable to timely reply to an Office communication which resulted in the application being held abandoned or the reexamination prosecution terminated or limited, the Office will waive the petition fee for a petition to revive where the delay in filing the reply was due to the effects of Hurricane Irma that began on September 6, 2017. The petition must be filed by March 7, 2018, in order to be entitled to a waiver of the petition fee.

Hurricane Maria: If you have missed a filing deadline due to the effects of Hurricane Maria and were unable to timely reply to an Office communication which resulted in the application being held abandoned or the reexamination prosecution terminated or limited, the Office will waive the petition fee for a petition to revive where the delay in filing the reply was due to the effects of Hurricane Maria that began on September 19, 2017. The petition must be filed by March 20, 2018, in order to be entitled to a waiver of the petition fee.

Payment of Maintenance Fees

Hurricane Harvey: If you are a patentee who, beginning on August 25, 2017, was unable to timely pay a patent maintenance fee due to the effects of Hurricane Harvey, the Office 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 petition fee for accepting a delayed maintenance fee payment with a petition to accept a delayed maintenance fee. The petition must be filed by August 27, 2018, in order to be entitled to waiver of the petition fee.

Hurricane Irma: If you are a patentee who, beginning on September 6, 2017, was unable to timely pay a patent maintenance fee due to the effects of Hurricane Irma, the Office 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 petition fee for accepting a delayed maintenance fee payment with a petition to accept a delayed maintenance fee. The petition must be filed by September 7, 2018, in order to be entitled to waiver of the petition fee.

Hurricane Maria: If you are a patentee who, beginning on September 19, 2017, was unable to timely pay a patent maintenance fee due to the effects of Hurricane Maria, the Office 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 petition fee for accepting a delayed maintenance fee payment with a petition to accept a delayed maintenance fee. The petition must be filed by September 20, 2018, in order to be entitled to waiver of the petition fee.

Late Submission of Inventor’s Oath or Declaration or Filing Fees

Hurricane Harvey: If you are an applicant who filed a nonprovisional application on or after August 25, 2017, and prior to September 26, 2017, without an executed inventor’s oath or declaration or payment of the basic filing fee, search fee, and/or examination fee due to the effects of Hurricane Harvey, the Office will waive the surcharge for the late filing of the inventor’s oath or declaration, basic filing fee, search fee and/or examination fee.

Hurricane Irma: If you are an applicant who filed a nonprovisional application on or after September 6, 2017, and prior to October 10, 2017, without an executed inventor’s oath or declaration or payment of the basic filing fee, search fee, and/or examination fee due to the effects of Hurricane Irma, the Office will waive the surcharge for the late filing of the inventor’s oath or declaration, basic filing fee, search fee and/or examination fee.

Hurricane Maria: If you are an applicant who filed a nonprovisional application on or after September 19, 2017, and prior to October 20, 2017, without an executed inventor’s oath or declaration or payment of the basic filing fee, search fee, and/or examination fee due to the effects of Hurricane Maria, the Office will waive the surcharge for the late filing of the inventor’s oath or declaration, basic filing fee, search fee and/or examination fee.

Petitions for Unintentionally Delayed Domestic Benefit and Foreign Priority Claims

Hurricane Harvey: If you are an applicant who, beginning on August 25, 2017, was unable to timely file a domestic benefit claim or foreign priority claim due to the effects of Hurricane Harvey, the Office will waive the petition fee when the patent applicant submits the domestic benefit or foreign priority claim with the appropriate petition. The petition must be filed by February 26, 2018, in order to be entitled to a waiver of the petition fee.

Hurricane Irma: If you are an applicant who, beginning on September 6, 2017, was unable to timely file a domestic benefit claim or foreign priority claim due to the effects of Hurricane Irma, the Office will waive the petition fee when the patent applicant submits the domestic benefit or foreign priority claim with the appropriate petition. The petition must be filed by March 7, 2018, in order to be entitled to a waiver of the petition fee.

Hurricane Maria: If you are an applicant who, beginning on September 19, 2017, was unable to timely file a domestic benefit claim or foreign priority claim due to the effects of Hurricane Maria, the Office will waive the petition fee when the patent applicant submits the domestic benefit or foreign priority claim with the appropriate petition. The petition must be filed by March 20, 2018, in order to be entitled to a waiver of the petition fee.

Petitions for Restoration of Domestic Benefit and Foreign Priority Claims

Hurricane Harvey: If you are an applicant who is filing or has filed a nonprovisional application on or after August 25, 2017, who meets the requirements for restoration of the right to claim benefit of a provisional application or a foreign application and who missed the twelve-month time period for filing the nonprovisional application (or six-month time period in a design application claiming foreign priority) due to the effects of Hurricane Harvey, the Office will waive the petition fee when the patent applicant files the petition for restoration. Please note that the nonprovisional application must have been filed within two months from the expiration of the twelve-month time period (or six-month time period in a design application). The petition must be filed by February 26, 2018, in order to be entitled to a waiver of the petition fee.

Hurricane Irma: If you are an applicant who is filing or has filed a nonprovisional application on or after September 6, 2017, who meets the requirements for restoration of the right to claim benefit of a provisional application or a foreign application and who missed the twelve-month time period for filing the nonprovisional application (or six-month time period in a design application claiming foreign priority) due to the effects of Hurricane Irma, the Office will waive the petition fee when the patent applicant files the petition for restoration. Please note that the nonprovisional application must have been filed within two months from the expiration of the twelve-month time period (or six-month time period in a design application). The petition must be filed by March 7, 2018, in order to be entitled to a waiver of the petition fee.

Hurricane Maria: If you are an applicant who is filing or has filed a nonprovisional application on or after September 19, 2017, who meets the requirements for restoration of the right to claim benefit of a provisional application or a foreign application and who missed the twelve-month time period for filing the nonprovisional application (or six-month time period in a design application claiming foreign priority) due to the effects of Hurricane Maria, the Office will waive the petition fee when the patent applicant files the petition for restoration. Please note that the nonprovisional application must have been filed within two months from the expiration of the twelve-month time period (or six-month time period in a design application). The petition must be filed by March 20, 2018, in order to be entitled to a waiver of the petition fee.

Petitions for Restoration in International Applications

Hurricane Harvey: If you are an applicant who is filing or has filed an international application on or after August 25, 2017, who meets the requirements for restoration of the right of priority to a foreign application and who missed the twelve-month priority period due to the effects of Hurricane Harvey, the Office will waive the petition fee when the patent applicant files the petition to restore the right of priority. Please note that the international application must have been filed within two months from the expiration of the twelve-month priority period. The petition must be filed by February 26, 2018, in order to be entitled to a waiver of the petition fee.

Hurricane Irma: If you are an applicant who is filing or has filed an international application on or after September 6, 2017, who meets the requirements for restoration of the right of priority to a foreign application and who missed the twelve-month priority period due to the effects of Hurricane Irma, the Office will waive the petition fee when the patent applicant files the petition to restore the right of priority. Please note that the international application must have been filed within two months from the expiration of the twelve-month priority period. The petition must be filed by March 7, 2018, in order to be entitled to a waiver of the petition fee.

Hurricane Maria: If you are an applicant who is filing or has filed an international application on or after September 19, 2017, who meets the requirements for restoration of the right of priority to a foreign application and who missed the twelve-month priority period due to the effects of Hurricane Maria, the Office will waive the petition fee when the patent applicant files the petition to restore the right of priority. Please note that the international application must have been filed within two months from the expiration of the twelve-month priority period. The petition must be filed by March 20, 2018, in order to be entitled to a waiver of the petition fee.

How to Seek Relief if affected by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, or Maria

The following table provides additional information for each type of request or petition including what needs to be submitted.

Type of request

How to seek the relief

Important notes

Request for restart of time period for reply

(1) A request to restart the time period for reply; and (2) A copy of the relevant relief notice. 

If filing the request by EFS-WEB, use document code PET.RELIEF. If filing by mail, address the mail as follows:  Mail Stop Petition, Commissioner for Patents, P.O. Box 1450, Alexandria, VA 22313-1450.

Waiver of the petition fee for a petition to revive under 37 CFR 1.137(a)

(1) A petition to revive under 37 CFR 1.137(a) (USPTO Form SB/64 or equivalent); (2) The required reply; and (3) A copy of the relevant relief notice. 

Do not submit the petition fee. If filing the petition by EFS-WEB, use document code PET.RELIEF. If filing by mail, address the mail as follows:  Mail Stop Petition, Commissioner for Patents, P.O. Box 1450, Alexandria, VA 22313-1450. 

Hurricane Harvey: the petition must be filed by February 26, 2018, in order to be entitled to waiver of the petition fee.

Hurricane Irma: the petition must be filed by March 7, 2018, in order to be entitled to waiver of the petition fee.

Hurricane Maria: the petition must be filed by March 20, 2018, in order to be entitled to waiver of the petition fee.

Waiver of the surcharge for payment of maintenance fee during six-month grace period

(1) A request to waive the surcharge; (2) The maintenance fee; and (3) A copy of the relevant relief notice. 

Do not submit the surcharge. The request must either be mailed to Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, Attn: Maintenance Fee, 2051 Jamieson Avenue, Suite 300, Alexandria, VA 22314, or faxed to 571-273-6500.

Hurricane Harvey: The original window of time to pay the maintenance fee without the surcharge must have expired on or after August 25, 2017. 

Hurricane Irma: The original window of time to pay the maintenance fee without the surcharge must have expired on or after September 6, 2017. 

Hurricane Maria: he original window of time to pay the maintenance fee without the surcharge must have expired on or after September 19, 2017. 

Waiver of the petition fee for a petition to accept an unintentionally delayed payment of maintenance fee in an expired patent

(1) A petition to accept unintentionally Delayed Payment of Maintenance Fee in an Expired Patent (37 CFR 1.378(b)) (USPTO Form SB/66); (2) The applicable maintenance fee; and (3) A copy of the relevant relief notice. 

Do not submit the petition fee. If filing the petition by EFS-WEB, use document code PET.RELIEF. Do not file an e-petition to seek this relief. If filing by mail, address the mail as follows:  Mail Stop Petition, Commissioner for Patents, P.O. Box 1450, Alexandria, VA 22313-1450.

Hurricane Harvey: the petition must be filed by August 27, 2018, in order to be entitled to waiver of the petition fee.

Hurricane Irma: the petition must be filed by September 7, 2018, in order to be entitled to waiver of the petition fee.

Hurricane Maria: the petition must be filed by September 20, 2018, in order to be entitled to waiver of the petition fee.

Waiver of the surcharge for late filing of the inventor's oath or declaration or basic filing fee, search fee, and/or examination fee.

(1) The executed inventor's oath or declaration, or the basic filing fee, search fee, and/or examination fee, and (2) A copy of the relevant relief notice.

Do not submit the surcharge. If filing the response by EFS-WEB, use document code PET.RELIEF. If filing by mail, address the mail as follows: Mail Stop Missing Parts, Commissioner for Patents, P.O. Box 1450, Alexandria, VA 22313-1450. Include a copy of the Notice to File Missing Parts if filing by mail.

 

Waiver of the petition fee for a petition to accept an unintentionally delayed domestic benefit claim

(1) A petition under 37 CFR 1.78(c) or 1.78(e); (2) The benefit claim under 37 CFR 1.78(a) or 1.78(d); and (3) A copy of the relevant relief notice.

 

 

 

 

 

Do not submit the petition fee. If filing the petition by EFS-WEB, use document code PET.RELIEF. If filing by mail, address the mail as follows: Mail Stop Petition, Commissioner for Patents, P.O. Box 1450, Alexandria, VA 22313-1450.

Hurricane Harvey: The petition must be filed by February 26, 2018, in order to be entitled to waiver of the petition fee.

Hurricane Irma: The petition must be filed by March 7, 2018, in order to be entitled to waiver of the petition fee.

Hurricane Maria: The petition must be filed by March 20, 2018, in order to be entitled to waiver of the petition fee.

Waiver of the petition fee for a petition to accept an unintentionally delayed foreign priority claim

(1) A petition under 37 CFR 1.55(e); (2) The foreign priority claim under 37 CFR 1.55; and (3) A copy of the relevant relief notice.

Waiver of the petition fee for a petition for restoration of a domestic benefit claim

(1) A petition under 37 CFR 1.78(b); (2) The domestic benefit claim under 37 CFR 1.78(a) (if not already properly submitted in the application); and (3) A copy of the relevant relief notice.

Waiver of the petition fee for a petition for restoration of a foreign priority claim

(1) A petition under 37 CFR 1.55(c); (2) The foreign priority claim under 37 CFR 1.55 (if not already properly submitted in the application); and (3) A copy of the relevant relief notice.

Waiver of the petition fee for a petition for restoration in an international application

(1) A petition under 37 CFR 1.452; (2) The foreign priority claim; and (3) A copy of the relevant relief notice.

 Special note for Priority Mail Express® filers

The Office designated the interruption in the service of the United States Postal Service (USPS) in the areas affected by Hurricane Harvey in Texas and Louisiana which began on Friday, August 25, 2017, as a postal service interruption and emergency.  A copy of the notice is available here.

The Office designated the interruption in the service of the United States Postal Service (USPS) in the areas affected by Hurricane Irma in Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina beginning on Wednesday, September 6, 2017, as a postal service interruption and emergency.  A copy of the notice is available here.

The Office designated the interruption in the service of the United States Postal Service (USPS) in the areas affected by Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands beginning on Wednesday, September 19, 2017, as a postal service interruption and emergency.  A copy of the notice is available here.

All three notices will be published in the Official Gazette and available on the Patent Related Notices webpage.  

Additional support

Frequently Asked Questions

If you have additional questions about the relief provided here, please contact the Office of Patent Legal Administration at 571-272-7704, or email PatentPractice@uspto.gov (link sends e-mail)