Our team’s focus has unexpectedly shifted over the last month or more to address the myriad issues our clients are now facing in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. The effects on both companies and employees are already being felt, and I would implore everyone to read my colleague Vince Sliwoski’s post on actionable steps to take now: Cannabis and Coronavirus: What Your Business Should Do Right Now.
As an intellectual property lawyer, I’ve already been thinking about the issues that will inevitably effect my clients, from force majeure clauses in their licensing agreements, to potential delays in processing applications with the USPTO and proceedings with the TTAB.
On March 16, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) issued a statement regarding Relief Available to Patent and Trademark Applicants, Patentees and Trademark Owners Affected by the Coronavirus Outbreak. According to the statement, the USPTO “considers the effects of the Coronavirus outbreak that began in approximately January 2020 to be an “extraordinary situation” within the meaning of 37 CFR 1.183 and 37 CFR 2.146 for affected patent and trademark applicants, patentees, reexamination parties, and trademark owners.”
Although our firm does not do patent prosecution work, it is worth noting for