Since several clients have asked how the government shutdown may affect their trademarks, we here at TradeMark Express decided it’d be a good idea to provide all of our clients an update.
First, good news! The USPTO “will remain open...[and will] operate as usual for approximately four weeks.” This means that all “11,789 employees will be excepted” until approximately starting the week of October 28th. This means that all of your trademark needs will be met from filing a new application to submitting renewal forms.
However, should the reserve funds be exhausted before then the USPTO will shut down. If a shut down happens, regardless of when it occurs, “a very small staff would continue to work to accept new applications and maintain IT infrastructure.” But what does this mean for you?
Even if the USPTO shuts down, new applications will be accepted. Given that it takes about 3-4 months to be assigned to an examining attorney there will be no noticeable delays for new applications as it’s not expected (or hoped!) that the government will be shut down for months. So, more good news! There is no need to delay your needed comprehensive research or application preparation!
In regard to already filed applications including those with pending Office Actions or those needing renewal forms, the USPTO will essentially function on a holiday schedule. This means that “any action or fee that is due on a date falling on...a Federal holiday...is considered timely if the action is received, or the fee paid, on the following day that is NOT...a Federal holiday.” Let’s say the USPTO shuts down and your Office Action is due the very next day. No need to worry! It won’t actually be due until the USPTO is open.
CAVEAT – While these are the provisions in place as of now, the USPTO representative I spoke to warned that nothing is “positive yet” and the office is in “wait and see” mode as the USPTO has never closed down before. Should anything change from what’s outlined above, TradeMark Express will send out another notice.
TO SUM IT UP...
If you’re thinking about filing a new application or have a pending application that needs attention then don’t delay and contact TradeMark Express today!