Relief available to patent and trademark applicants, patentees, reexamination parties, and registered trademark owners affected by the recent earthquake in Japan
“On behalf of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), I want to express our deepest condolences for the loss of life, injuries, and damage that have impacted the people of Japan as a result of the recent earthquake,” remarked Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and USPTO Director Kathi Vidal.
To preserve stakeholders’ intellectual property rights, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has provided various forms of relief to patent and trademark applicants and other affected stakeholders who are unable to meet certain filing deadlines due to the effects of “extraordinary situations” as designated by the USPTO (within the meaning of 37 CFR 1.183, 2.146(a)(5), and 2.148). Examples of prior “extraordinary situations” include the effects of the coronavirus outbreak, disasters such as the effects of recent hurricanes, the wildfires in Hawai’i, the severe earthquake that impacted the people of Türkiye and Syria, and the Russian invasion in Ukraine.
To that end, the USPTO has published an Official Gazette Notice announcing the special accommodations available to patent and trademark applicants, patentees, reexamination parties, and registered trademark owners affected by the severe earthquake that struck the Noto Peninsula in Japan on January 1, 2024. As the Notice explains, the USPTO considers the effects of the severe earthquake impacting Japan to be an “extraordinary situation” within the meaning of 37 CFR 1.183, 2.146(a)(5), and 2.148 for those affected. You can find more information in the Official Gazette Notice available on the USPTO’s Patent Related Notices webpage.
The USPTO does not grant waivers or extensions of dates or requirements set by statute but allows the waiver of petition fees. Further, stakeholders can always petition the Director for a waiver under 37 CFR 1.183, 2.146, or 2.148, even where the Director has not published such a notice stating that the USPTO is designating a situation as an “extraordinary situation.”
For more information on major events impacting USPTO stakeholders and guidance, please visit the USPTO website.