Insights

Global Overview of IP Entity Responses to COVID-19 Crisis

Firm Thought Leadership

As IP entities throughout the world respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and adjust their operations accordingly, we want to keep our clients informed so that they do not miss any deadlines or obligations. To that end, we provide the following report, which briefly outlines the approach by various courts, IP offices, and other government agencies. We will continue to update this report as the situation develops.

Latest Updates Related to COVID-19:

United States

Patent, Trademark, & Copyright Prosecution

USPTO

Updates available here

Practice Group Heads: Hogene Choi and Samir Bhavsar

Present Status

Offices

Closed to public until further notice

Deadlines

Statutory deadlines unchanged; fees waived for petitions to revive.

Misc.

Handwritten signatures no longer required

April 6, 2020 – The USPTO released a series of FAQs and accompanying answers relating to deadline extensions for patent and trademark applications.  See https://www.uspto.gov/patent/laws-and-regulations/cares-act-faqs for patent related deadlines and https://www.uspto.gov/trademark/laws-regulations/cares-act-faqs for trademark related deadlines. 

March 31, 2020  – For patents, due dates between March 27 and April 30 will be extended 30 days from the initial date it was due, provided that the filing is accompanied by a statement that the delay was due to the COVID-19 outbreak, for the following items: reply to a pre-examination office action by a small or micro-entity; reply to an Office notice or action; issue fee; notice of appeal; appeal brief; reply brief; appeal forwarding fee, request for an oral hearing before the PTAB; amendment reopening prosecution in response to PTAB decision; maintenance fees for small or micro entities; request for rehearing of a PTAB decision.  The 12 month date to convert provisional applications, and the 30 month date to enter national stage, have not been altered. For trademarks the same extensions are available for: response to an Office Action; statement of use; notice of opposition; priority filing basis; affidavits of use or excusable nonuse; renewal application. 

March 19, 2020 – Requirements for original handwritten signatures have been waived.

March 16, 2020 – The USPTO has notified applicants that it will be waiving all fees for petitions to revive patent and trademark applications where abandonment occurred due to circumstances associated with COVID-19. However, all statutory deadlines remain in place. For patents these include: deadlines for priority under 35 U.S.C. §§ 119, 120; co-pendency requirements; payments of issue fees; and reply statements by a requester in an ex parte reexamination. For trademarks these deadlines include: the 36-month deadline for filing a statement of use under 15 U.S.C. §1051; filing affidavits of continued use or excusable non-use; filing a renewal; filing an opposition or cancellation proceeding.

March 15, 2020 – The USPTO closed all offices to the public until further notice. Offices remain open for employees, contractors, and those with access badges.

PTAB

Updates available here

Practice Group Heads: Brian Oaks and Chad Walters

Present Status

Offices

Closed to public until further notice; all hearings/hearings will be conducted remotely.

Deadlines

Unchanged.

Misc.

 

April 6. 2020 – The USPTO released a series of FAQs and accompanying answers, including some related to PTAB practice, available at https://www.uspto.gov/patent/laws-and-regulations/cares-act-faqs

March 31, 2020  – Upon request to the USPTO affirming that a filing due between March 27 and April 30 was or may be delayed because of the COVID-19 outbreak, the PTAB shall provide a 30 day extension of time for: a requested for rehearing of a PTAB decision; a petition to the Chief Judge; or a patent owner preliminary response.  No additional relief is available before the TTAB, but requests for extensions or reopening of time may be made.  

March 13, 2020 – Until further notice, all PTAB and TTAB in-person meetings, including oral hearings, will be conducted remotely by video or telephone. Parties will receive instructions on a case-by-case basis.

U.S. Copyright Office

Updates Available here

Practice Group Head: Paul Reilly

Present Status

Offices

Closed to public until further notice.

Deadlines

Unchanged for electronic submissions; for submissions requiring physical deposits, the three month deadline under section 412 will be tolled between March 13 and the date the disruption ends. 

For registration applications filed before April 2, the Office will contact applicants and give them the option of providing an electronic copy to allow the Office to examine it remotely.

For registration applications filed on or after April 2, the applicant will have the option of providing an electronic copy in lieu of the required physical copies provided it is accompanied by a declaration (available on the Office’s website) that the electronic and physical copies are identical.

Misc.

All filings should be electronic; where physical filing is required, must be accompanied by electronic filing.

April  7, 2020 – The Office has suspended requirements for physical submission of certain materials.  As a result, electronic submission is permitted for certain materials and services, including: filing notices of termination for recordation; requests for reconsideration of refusals to registers; and requests for removal of personally identifiable information from the public record. Further information and services affected can be found on the Copyright Office’s website, https://www.copyright.gov/rulemaking/coronavirus-electronic-submissions/?loclr=eanco.  

April 6, 2020  – The CARES Act includes a provision which allows the Register of Copyrights to “toll, waive, adjust or modify” filing deadlines in light of the pandemic, including extending registration deadlines.  The Copyright Office has issued a notice on emergency relief for Section 115 Paper Processes during the pandemic, temporarily adjusting certain timing provisions for Notices of Inquiry, Statements of Account, and potentially royalty payments as they relate to processing physical specimens.  More detail is available on the Copyright Office’s website https://www.copyright.gov/coronavirus/. 

March 31, 2020 – No timing provisions are changed for submissions that are entirely electronic. For electronic submissions which require a physical deposit, applicant should include a statement that the applicant is unable to submit the physical deposit due to the COVID-19 outbreak, providing supporting evidence, in which case the three-month window for submission under section 412 will be tolled between March 13 and the date that the disruption ends. Sufficient evidence includes but is not limited to evidence that they are 1) subject to a stay-at-home order or 2) unable to access physical materials due to closure of the business where they are located. If applicant is unable to submit an application electronically or physically, they may provide a written statement describing this inability once the disruption is complete, and the three-month window under section 412 will be tolled between March 13 and the date that the disruption ends, with satisfactory evidence including 1) a statement that the applicant did not have access to a computer and/or the internet and 2) a statement that the applicant was prevented from accessing or sending required physical materials.  

March 26, 2020 – All Library of Congress buildings are closed to the public until further notice. 

March 20, 2020 – The Office will now send refusal letters via email instead of sending a physical copy through the mail.  The letter will be sent as a PDF attachment to the email address provided in the registration application.  Also included will be instructions as to how to respond to the Office in order to request reconsideration of the registration decision.  The Office will follow similar procedures for responding to requests for reconsideration.

March 18, 2020 – The Office has implemented a special handling procedure for registration of copyrighted works. In effect until the Library of Congress is reopened to the public, physical deposits and paper applications cannot be examined at this time. As such, all applicants should submit electronic applications and digital deposits through the electronic registration (“eCO”) system. Where a physical deposit is required, applicants must still submit these, however, they should additionally submit an electronic deposit and a declaration that the two are identical.

Patent Litigation

Practice Group Heads: Douglas Kubehl and Roger Fulghum

Supreme Court

Updates available here

Present Status

Courtrooms

Closed to public until further notice; all oral arguments scheduled for March and April have been postponed indefinitely.

Deadlines

Deadline of any petition for writ of certiorari is extended to 150 days from the date of the lower court judgment, order denying discretionary review, or order denying a timely petition for rehearing.

Misc.

 

April 3, 2020 – All oral arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court scheduled for the April session have been postponed. The Court is considering a range of options to permit it to reschedule arguments before the end of the term. 

March 19, 2020 – The deadline to file all petitions for writ of certiorari have been extended to 150 days from the day of the lower court judgement, order denying discretionary review, or order denying a timely petition for rehearing.

March 16, 2020 – All oral arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court scheduled for the March session have been postponed indefinitely. The building will be closed to the public, although open for official business, and no filing deadlines have been extended.

Federal Circuit

Updates available here

Practice Group Head: Michael Hawes

Present Status

Courtrooms

Closed to public until further notice; no in-person hearings; all scheduled cases in April to be conducted by telephonic conference. The public will have access to  live audio for each panel scheduled for argument in April, available here.

Deadlines

Unchanged.

Misc.

The Federal Circuit Judicial Conference is canceled; effective March 23, the Clerk’s Office is providing limited telephone support, if parties have a pending case please email: casequestions@cafc.uscourts.gov.

April  6, 2020 – The Court has provided links for accessing live and recorded audio of each argument on its website, http://www.cafc.uscourts.gov/public-access-arguments  

April 1, 2020 – The Court will provide public and media access to the live audio of each panel scheduled for argument during April.  Access information will be posted to the Court’s website at 9am EDT on the day of argument, with conference lines open at 9:15am EDT.  Recordings of the arguments will be posted to the Court’s website at the conclusion of arguments each day. 

March 27, 2020 – The Clerk’s Office provided guidance regarding service of documents outside of the court’s electronic filing system. Under Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 25(c)(2), parties may electronically serve each other by any electronic means upon consent. If a party does not consent to an alternate method of service, the Clerk’s Office recommends 1) designating a person to print and mail necessary documents or 2) filing a motion to delay service of process.  

March 23, 2020 – Beginning March 23, the Clerk’s Office will be providing limited support by telephone as a result of increased call volume. Parties with a pending case should email: casequestions@cafc.uscourts.gov; parties who do not have a pending case or who have general questions should email publicinformation@cafc.uscourts.gov.  

March 20, 2020 – Parties are specifically directed not to file paper copies of any filing until further notice (although the Clerk’s Office may require paper filings in individual cases as needed or require paper copies to be filed at a later date).  Filings that can only be submitted in physical form will continue to be received at the Court’s night mailbox.  The Clerk’s Office will continue issuing Notices to Advise of Scheduling Conflicts and require a response from counsel; travel restrictions due to COVID-19 are NOT a sufficient basis for a scheduling conflict due to the availability of telephonic conferences for oral argument.

The May 15 Federal Circuit Judicial Conference and related events are canceled, with the hope of rescheduling for a later date.

March 18, 2020 – All cases scheduled for argument in April will be conducted by telephonic conference and no in-person hearings will occur. Parties who had in-person arguments scheduled should look for an updated notice in their file. 

March 16, 2020 – Public access has been restricted to the National Courts Building complex, so only those with authorized access may enter.

March 12, 2020 – The Federal Circuit will be proceeding with arguments scheduled for April, with certain adjustments. Certain cases are being removed from the argument schedule, to be decided only on the submitted briefs. For cases remaining on the argument schedule, where the lawyers for both parties are local, then arguments will proceed in-person as scheduled. However, if counsel for either party is located outside the National Capital area, arguments will be conducted by telephonic conference at their scheduled date and time.

ITC

Updates available here

Practice Group Head: Lisa Kattan

Present Status

Courtrooms

Closed to public until at least April 24; all employees teleworking until at least May 12.

Deadlines

All Section 337 hearings scheduled to take place before May 12 are postponed.

Misc.

Only electronic filings will be accepted.

March 31, 2020 – The USITC is now closed to the public entirely until at least April 24. 

March 20, 2020 – All Title VII (antidumping and countervailing duty) preliminary phase staff conferences for the next 60 days are canceled.  The Commission will not hold in-person hearings on final phase Title VII investigations, five-year (sunset) reviews, and those held under Section 332 and Section 131.  Interested parties will be invited to submit certified written responses.

March 17, 2020 – The ITC is implementing a number of policies in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, all of which will remain in effect until at least May 12, 2020. First, the Secretary’s Office will only accept electronic filings and all employees will be teleworking full time until further notice. Second, visitor access will be limited only to visitors with a statutory matter. Finally, all Section 337 hearings within 60 days will be postponed, with more specific guidance given on a case-by-case basis.

Delaware District Court

Updates available here

Present Status

Courtrooms

All jury trials set to begin before April 30 are continued; the courthouse has reopened.

Deadlines

Unchanged.

Misc.

The Court has created an Electronic Civil Summons form. 

 March 23, 2020 – The District Court has created an Electronic Civil Summons form for use without requiring the Clerk to print, sign, seal, and handle the originals. The Summons can be attached to the complaint and the Clerk will return the summons to counsel as an attachment to be printed and used for service.  Alternatively, the form may be used pursuant to FRCP Rule 4 without sending copies to the Clerk’s Office for approval. Counsel is still required to scan a “Summons Return Executed” docket item once service has been completed. 

March 21, 2020 – The J. Caleb Boggs U.S. Courthouse will reopen at 8:00am on March 23. All other orders remain in effect.  

March 19, 2020 – The J. Caleb Boggs U.S. Courthouse has been closed until further notice. Electronic filings have not been affected and parties should continue such submissions as usual.

March 18, 2020 – The District Court ordered that all civil and criminal jury selections and jury trials scheduled to begin before April 30, 2020, are continued pending a further order from the Court. All deadlines set by Federal or Local Rules or orders remain in effect unless modified by the Court or assigned judge. The Court previously restricted visitor access to prevent anyone who is experiencing possible COVID-19 symptoms from entering, even if they have a schedule appointment. Where someone (in particular counsel) is prevented from entering due to these restrictions, they should contact the judge’s chambers directly.

Southern District of Florida

Updates available here

Present Status

Courtrooms

All jury trials on or after March 30 are continued until July 6; courtrooms remain open with minimal staffing and restricted visitor access.

Deadlines

Judges in civil cases may extend or alter other deadlines at their discretion.

Misc.

Judges are strongly encouraged, where a hearing is required, to hold such proceedings over telephone or video conference.

April 3, 2020 – All jury trials scheduled to begin on or after March 30 are continued until July 6.  Judges may continue other civil deadlines at their discretion.

March 20, 2020 – Presiding judges may continue to hold hearings, conferences, and bench trials at their discretion, but are strongly encouraged to conduct proceedings by telephone or video conference.

March 18, 2020 – Courthouse workers will, wherever possible, be placed on telework status effective immediately. Only necessary staff will be present at the courthouse.

March 13, 2020 – Courthouses in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, Fort Pierce, and Key West will remain open.  All jury trials scheduled to begin between March 16 through March 30 are continued. Individual judges are given discretion to alter trial-specific deadlines in civil matters.

March 12, 2020 – Any person who is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or who has visited a quarantined area, Italy, Iran, South Korea, Japan, or China within the previous 14 days is restricted from entering the courthouse.  

Eastern District of Texas

Updates available here

Present Status

Courtrooms

All jury trials until May 1 have been continued; visitor access restricted until May 1; beginning April 10, all EDTX Divisions will be closed, except the Beaumont Division Clerk’s Office, which will be open from 8:00am - noon.

Deadlines

Unchanged.

Misc.

Judges have discretion over handling of in-person meetings.

 April 2, 2020  – On April 10, 2020, the Beaumont Division Clerk’s Office will be open from 8:00 am – noon, but all other Eastern District of Texas Divisions will be closed.

March 17, 2020 – The District Court has restricted visitor access until May 1 to prevent anyone who is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, or who have travelled to China, South Korea, Japan, Iran, or Western Europe within the preceding 14 days. Furthermore, the Plano Courthouse is closed until April 2, 2020.

March 16, 2020 – The District Court has implemented a number of measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. First, all jury trials until May 1, 2020 have been continued. Second, individual judges may continue to hold in-person bench trials, appointments, and hearings as they deem appropriate. Each judge is given discretion to handle their own dockets as they deem appropriate. Third, all non-case specific events occurring at the courthouse are canceled. Finally, all courthouses will remain open for business, but employees may telework where possible.

Western District of Texas

Updates available here

Present Status

Courtrooms

Closed. All jury trials until May 1 have been continued; all grand jury proceedings until May 1 have been continued;  All hearings in the Waco Division will be held telephonically through May 1. Access to the Austin and San Antonio courthouses is restricted to designated personnel until May 1.

Deadlines

Unchanged (other than trial dates) unless modified by presiding judge.

Misc.

Judges have discretion over handling of in-person meetings; slides for any Markman hearings in the Waco Division must be emailed to the Court within 6 hours of receiving preliminary instructions from the Court; slides for non-Markman hearings in the Waco Division must be emailed at least 24 hours before the hearing.

April 6, 2020 – Entry to the San Antonio courthouse is restricted to designated personnel until May 1.

April 3, 2020 – Entry to the Austin courthouse is restricted to designated personnel until May 1.

March 24, 2020 – All trial settings scheduled before May 1 are cancelled pending further order of the court, except for certain criminal matters. 

March 24, 2020 – Judge Albright has issued an order that all hearings in the Waco Division will be held telephonically until further notice.  Further, for non-Markman hearings, PowerPoint slides must be emailed to the Court at least 24 hours before the hearing.  For Markman hearings, slides must be emailed within 6 hours of receiving preliminary constructions from the Court. The Order of March 20 has been amended to clarify that certain criminal matters will be directed under the discretion of the Presiding District Judge or Magistrate Judge.   

March 23, 2020 – Through one of our partners, who is a member of Judge Albright’s Working Group, we understand that Judge Albright will hold all hearings telephonically until at least May 1.  Presentation materials will be provided by email in advance of the hearing. 

March 20, 2020 – The Courts of the Western District of Texas are closed, except for certain criminal matters. 

March 20, 2020 – Through one of our partners, who is a member of Judge Albright’s Working Group, we understand that Judge Albright will soon issue a General Order that no in-person civil hearings will be held in his court until May 1.

March 19, 2020 – The Court issued two new standing orders related to COVID-19 response restricting access to the El Paso and Waco courthouses to certain designated personnel.

March 16, 2020 – All grand jury proceedings until May 1, 2020 have been continued.

March 13, 2020 – The District Court has implemented a number of measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. First, all jury trials until May 1, 2020 have been continued. Second, individual judges may continue to hold in-person bench trials, appointments, and hearings as they deem appropriate. Each judge is given discretion to handle their own dockets as they deem appropriate. Parties are encouraged to participate in conferences by telephone or video. Third, all non-case specific events occurring at the courthouse are canceled. Finally, all courthouses will remain open for business, but employees may telework where possible.

Northern District of Texas

Updates available here

Present Status

Courtrooms

Visitors are restricted.

Deadlines

Bench and jury trials scheduled to begin through May 1 are continued.

Misc.

March 20, 2020 – Visitors experiencing flu-like symptoms, have been quarantined, or have travelled to a country for which the CDC has issued a Level 3 Travel Health Notice within the previous 14 days are prohibited from accessing the courthouse.

March 13, 2020 – All civil bench and jury trials scheduled to begin through May 1 are continued. This continuance doesn’t affect any other deadlines.  Courts will remain open for business, but many employees will be teleworking.  Judges may continue to hold in person proceedings in their discretion, but are encouraged use hold hearings and conferences by telephone or video.

Southern District of Texas

Updates available here

Present Status

Courtrooms

All civil trials through May 31 in Houston/Galveston, Corpus Christ/Victoria, Brownsville, and Laredo Divisions are continued; visitors are restricted in all Divisions.

The Bob Casey Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse is closed to the public beginning April 2 through April 10, reopening on April 13.

Effective April 6, the George P. Kazen Federal Building will be closed to the public.

The Reynaldo G. Garza – Filemon B. Vela U.S. Courthouse is closed to the public until further notice.

The United States Courthouse and Custom House in Galveston is closed until further notice.

Effective April 6, the McAllen Division Courthouse is closed to the public until further notice.

Effective April 3, the United States Courthouse in Brownsville is closed to the public until further notice.

Effective April 7, the U.S. District Court (Victoria Division) is closed to the public until further notice.

Deadlines

Unchanged.

Misc.

Judges given discretion over handling of all other matters.

April 7, 2020 – The U.S. District Court (Victoria Division), including related facilities in the Martin Luther King, Jr. Federal Building is closed to the public until further notice.  

April 3, 2020 – Beginning April 6, the McAllen Division and Brownsville Division Courthouses will be closed to the public until further notice.  

April 2, 2020 – The Southern District of Texas has issued several orders closing multiple courthouses to the public.  The Bob Casey Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse is closed to the public beginning April 2 through April 10, reopening on April 13.  The George P. Kazen Federal Building will be closed to the public effective April 6, 2020.  The Reynaldo G. Garza – Filemon B. Vela U.S. Courthouse is closed to the public until further notice.  The United States Courthouse and Custom House in Galveston is closed until further notice. 

March 20, 2020 – McAllen Division has restricted access to the courthouses for any visitors who are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or have travelled to high-risk areas. No deadlines or other requirements have been changed.  

March 19, 2020 – Courts in the Laredo Division have restricted visitor access. Further, all trials set to begin in April have been continued to a date set by each presiding judge.

March 18, 2020 – Within the Houston, Galveston, Corpus Christi, Victoria, and Brownsville Divisions, all civil trials scheduled to begin through May 1 are continued. Further, visitors to courthouses in those divisions who are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or have travelled to high-risk areas are now prohibited from entry.

March 12, 2020 – All civil trials in the Houston and Galveston Divisions have been suspended until April 1, but all other courthouses remain open. All other matters remain in effect at the discretion of the presiding judge. Reasonable accommodations will be made for anyone required to appear in a specific court who exhibits COVID-19 or flu-like symptoms. Attorneys are encouraged to appear by telephone or video for non-evidentiary hearings whenever possible.

Northern District of California

Updates available here

Present Status

Courtrooms

Consolidated to the San Francisco Courthouse until May 1. Closed to staff and public until May 1, but all civil hearings will be conducted on a publicly accessible conference call.

Deadlines

Unchanged; any trial dates currently scheduled are vacated. No trials will begin before May 1.

Misc.

All civil matters to be decided on the papers unless telephonic or videoconference hearing is requested by court; any requirement for personal service of process by USMS is suspended and the time for service in civil cases is tolled until further notice.

April 6, 2020 – Courthouse closures and consolidation measures have been extended until May 1. 

April 3, 2020 – Under the CARES Act, members of the press and public are permitted to hear and/or observe telephonic and video hearings, free of charge.  

March 30, 2020 – All personal service of process by the US Marshall Service is suspended, and the time for service in all civil cases under FRCP 4(m) is tolled until further notice.  

March 25, 2020 – The Oakland, San Jose, and Eureka/McKinleyville Courthouses are closed entirely to the public, and essential courthouse operations will be consolidated and relocated to the San Francisco Courthouse, until at least April 7.  Hearings will continue to be held by video or teleconference where practical. 

March 23, 2020 – The San Jose Courthouse is closed to staff and the public until April 7. 

March 19, 2020 – Governor Newsom has ordered that all California residents remain at home except for essential travel until further notice.

March 18, 2020 – All civil hearings held by teleconference will be conducted on a conference call that is available to members of the press and the public at no charge.

March 17, 2020 – The District Court has suspended many operations until May 1, 2020. No jury trials will be commenced before May 1, 2020, with all civil matters to be decided on the papers as submitted. All courthouses within the Northern District of California will be closed to the public until May 1, 2020, with an exception made for those with official court business.

March 16, 2020 – The Mayor of San Francisco ordered a shelter-in-place for all residents of the city and county of San Francisco. Exempted from the order are court personnel and those acting under a court order. Further, legal providers (such as law firms) are defined as “Essential Businesses” when acting in compliance with a legal obligation.

Central District of California

Updates available here

Present Status

Courtrooms

The Court is closed to visitors from March 23 through May 1; no one who has traveled to China, South Korea, Japan, Iran, or Italy may enter any courthouse, nor may anyone who has come into contact with someone who has, anyone advised to self-isolate by a doctor, or anyone who has tested positive for the coronavirus or exhibited symptoms of COVID-19.

Deadlines

No hearings in civil cases will go forward, except for emergency time-sensitive matters. 

Misc.

Judges given discretion to hold hearings as they see fit; jurors will not be called before April 13, but all courtroom proceedings and deadlines remain unchanged.

March 20, 2020 – Effective immediately and until further notice, the Court grants to mediators the authority to excuse a party, a party’s representative, or an attorney from in-person attendance at a mediation conducted under General Order No. 11-10. At the discretion of the assigned mediator, mediations held through the Court’s ADR Program may be conducted by video or telephone conference.

March 19, 2020 – Governor Newsom has ordered that all California residents remain at home except for essential travel until further notice.

March 19, 2020 – The Court has activated its Continuity of Operations Plan. All courthouses are closed to public from March 23 through May 1. Electronic filing is available for all parties, but those who cannot use it are advised to mail materials to the Court Clerk.

March 17, 2020 – No jurors will be called into service in the courts until at least April 13.

March 12, 2020 – As of now, the District Court has not implemented any general operating procedures beyond preventing entrance to the courthouses where the visitor has traveling to any country with a level two or three travel health notice from the CDC.

Eastern District of California

Updates available here

Present Status

Courtrooms

All courthouses closed until May 1.

Deadlines

All jury trials through May 1 are continued; presiding judges retain discretion to alter deadlines for courtroom proceedings and filing.

Misc.

All civil matters will be decided on the papers; where a hearing is required, it will be performed via telephone or videoconference.

March 18, 2020 – All courthouses are closed to the public until May 1. All civil matters will be decided on the papers, subject to discretion of the Judge.  Where a hearing is necessary, it will be held by telephone or videoconference.

March 17, 2020 – Federal Courthouses in Sacramento, Modesto, Fresno, Bakersfield, Yosemite, and Redding will remain open, subject to certain restrictions. All jury trials until May 1 are continued. Judges retain discretion to amend deadlines for courtroom proceedings and filings as they see fit.

March 12, 2020 – Persons experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or who have travelled to China, Iran, South Korea, the United Kingdom, and certain parts of Europe are prohibited from entry into E.D. Courthouses.

Southern District of California

Updates available here

Present Status

Courtrooms

The Edward J. Schwartz, James M. Carter & Judith N. Keep, and U.S. Courthouse in El Centro, remain open; no one experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or who has visited a quarantined area in the U.S. or any country with a Level Two or Three travel notice from the CDC will be permitted to enter.

Deadlines

All jury trials are continued until April 16.

Misc.

Electronic or mail filings are required, though where necessary physical submissions may be made at the Clerk’s Office drop-off box. No in-person submissions should be made.

March 23, 2020 – Personal appearance (unless ordered by a judicial officer) after March 23 is excused. Further, no documents should be filed in person, but should be mailed or filed electronically.  If in person submission must be made, documents should be deposited in the Clerk’s Office after-hours drop-off box.

March 17, 2020 – The Edward J. Schwartz and James M. Carter & Judith N. Keep Courthouses in San Diego and the U.S. Courthouse in El Centro remain open for business.  All jury trials in the Southern District of California are continued until April 16, 2020.  Further, all trial related proceedings (such as hearings, conferences, and bench trials) are given to the discretion of individual district judges.

March 13, 2020 – The Court has restricted from visitation any person who has travelled, within the last 14 days, to a country for which the CDC has issued a Level Two or Three travel health notice as well as any person experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or who has visited a quarantined area within the last 14 days.

District of New Jersey

Updates available here

Present Status

Courtrooms

Courthouses remain open with restricted visitors.

Deadlines

All jury trials scheduled to begin before April 30 are continued; all filing and discovery deadlines falling between March 25 and April 30 are extended by 45 days.

Misc.

The use of electronic signatures is given to the discretion of the presiding judges; the court has provided guidance for conducting remote hearings.

March 30, 2020 – Judges have been given discretion to allow for the use of electronic signatures anywhere that an actual signature is impracticable or imprudent.

March 25, 2020 – The Court has provided guidelines for conducting remote hearings, available here.

March 24, 2020 – All filing and discovery deadlines in civil matters falling between March 25 and April 30 are extended by forty-five (45) days.

March 16, 2020 – Visitors who have been diagnosed with or in contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19 or who have been asked to self-quarantine by medical professionals are prohibited from entering the courthouse.  Courthouses will remain open, but all jury trials scheduled to being before April 30 ware continued.  All other deadlines will remain unchanged except as ordered by the judicial officer.  Judges may continue to hold proceedings at their discretion, but are encouraged to conduct proceedings by telephone or videoconference where practicable.  

Eastern District of New York

Updates available here

Present Status

Courtrooms

Courthouses remain open with visitor restrictions; all jury trials before April 27 are continued.

Deadlines

Deadlines may be altered at the discretion of the presiding judge.

Misc.

Requirements to accomplish service by the USMS is suspended.

March 27, 2020 – Requirements to accomplish services by the U.S. Marshall Service is suspended in all cases filed on or after March 18. 

March 17, 2020 – Only certain authorized visitors may enter the Brooklyn and Central Islip Courthouses, including persons ordered to appear by a judge. 

March 16, 2020 – Courthouses in Brooklyn and Central Islip will remain open subject to certain restrictions.  All jury trials scheduled to begin before April 27 are continued.  Judges are given discretion to alter other trial-specific deadlines.  Where hearings are necessary, judges are strongly encouraged to hold them by telephone or video conference.

March 9, 2020 – Persons experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or who have visited China, South Korea, Japan, Italy, or Iran within the last 14 days are prohibited from entry into EDNY courthouses.  

Southern District of New York

Updates available here

Present Status

Courtrooms

Closed.  No jury trials will begin until June 1, 2020.

Deadlines

Judges given discretion to adjust deadlines; Counsel are advised to check with individual judges for extensions of time in civil cases.

Misc.

All non-case related events are cancelled; judges encouraged to conduct proceedings by telephone or video.

 March 30, 2020 – The Thurgood Marshall Courthouse is closed; no SDNY staff will be on site and no matters will be heard except for grand jury proceedings.  The Daniel Patrick Moynihan Courthouse is open for emergency matters only: urgent criminal matters and matters for which immediate relief is sought pursuant to Rule 65(b).  Parties seeking a TRO or to file under seal must call the Clerk of the Court at (212) 805-0140 between 8:30 AM and 4:00 PM Monday through Friday.  

March 24, 2020 – Public entry to the Daniel Patrick Moynihan Courthouse through the Worth Street entrance only; public entrance to the Thurgood Marshall Courthouse through the Centre Street entrance only.  Anyone with disabilities who cannot enter from Centre Street will be accommodated at the Pearl Street entrance.

March 20, 2020 – Governor Cuomo has ordered all non-essential businesses to keep workers at home and advised all New Yorkers to remain indoors as much as possible.

March 20, 2020 – For emergency applications that are submitted in a case pending before the court, attorneys are directed to file the emergency application in ECF and call chambers and leave a voicemail alerting the judge to the filing.  Mediation will no longer take place in the courthouse, and mediators and the parties are encouraged to use alternate locations or other methods of convening mediation sessions.

March 16, 2020 – All civil and criminal trials scheduled to begin before April 27, 2020 are continued, with discretion given to individual judges regarding trial-specific deadlines. Judges are strongly encouraged to conduct court proceedings by telephone or video where possible, but ultimate discretion is given to the individual judges. All non-case related activities and events have also been canceled and entry into the courthouse has been restricted to those with official court business.

District of Colorado

Updates available here

Present Status

Courtrooms

All trials beginning before May 1 are continued; the courthouse is restricted to those having official business.

Deadlines

Unchanged.

Misc.

 
March 27, 2020 – All trials scheduled to begin before May 1 are continued subject to further order from the presiding judge.  Until May 1 only those with official business (including parties and counsel of record) will be permitted to enter the courthouses.

March 13, 2020 – All cases scheduled to commence through April 3 are continued. Further, all visitors who have been to China, Europe, Iran, Japan, South Korea, or any country with a CDC Level 3 Travel Health notice, with a diagnosis or symptoms of COVID-19, and those who have had close contact with someone who has travelled to one of the listed countries are prohibited from entry.

Northern District of Illinois

Updates available here

Present Status

Courtrooms

Closed except for certain court proceedings.

Deadlines

Extended by 49 days; hearings, trials, and settlement conferences before May 1 are cancelled and will be rescheduled by the presiding judge on or after May 4

***Does not apply to deadlines relating to appeals***

Misc.

March 30, 2020 – All deadlines in civil cases have been extended by an additional 28 days. Extensions do not apply to appeal-related deadlines or deadlines set by FRCP 50(b) or (d), 52(b), 59(b), (d), or (e), or 60(b).  Hearings, bench trials, and settlement conferences scheduled for or before May 1 are stricken, to be rescheduled by the presiding judge on or after May 4. 

March 20, 2020 – The clerks’ offices are closed to the public.

March 17, 2020 – In all civil cases, all deadlines are extended by 21 days; hearings, trials, and settlement conferences between March 17 and April 3 are cancelled and will be rescheduled by the presiding judge on or after April 6.  These extensions do not apply to any deadlines for filing a notice of appeal, but if the parties file a timely extension of time to appeal then the Court deems that good cause exists in light of ongoing public-health concerns.

District of Massachusetts

Updates available here

Present Status

Courtrooms

Visitors restricted; all jury trials scheduled on or before May 29 are continued.

 

Deadlines

Judges given discretion to continue deadlines in civil cases.

Misc.

Members of the public are able to access teleconference and videoconference hearings online.

 

March 31, 2020 – Hearings by video and teleconference will be available to the public via a tool on the Court’s website. 

March 30, 2020 – All jury trials scheduled to begin on or before May 29 are continued until further notice. Judges given discretion to continue civil trial deadlines.

March 12, 2020 – The District Court has restricted visitor access until further notice to prevent anyone who is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, or who have travelled to China, Italy, Iran, Japan, and South Korea within the preceding 14 days. Further, all jury trials scheduled to begin before April 27 are continued until further notice.  Hearings, conferences, and bench trials will continue at the discretion of individual judges, but judges are strongly encouraged to conduct proceedings by telephone or video conference.

International

World Patent Office Watch List

Jurisdiction

Status

Reported

Australia

No Physical Filings Accepted

Deadline Extensions Available Upon Request

April 1, 2020

Canada

Suspended Deadlines from March 16 to May 1

March 30, 2020

China

Currently Open

March 12, 2020

EPO

Suspended Deadlines Until April 17

Oral Proceedings Up to April 17 Are Postponed; videoconferences still available

March 16, 2020

EUIPO

Suspended Deadlines Until May 1

March 17, 2020

France  Deadlines between March 12 and 1 month after end of emergency are postponed to 1 month after emergency if initial deadline was one month, and two months after the end of the emergency if the initial deadline was equal or greater than 2 months   March 12, 2020
Germany

Suspended Deadlines Until May 4

Hearings and Oral Proceedings Cancelled

The Office is asking all applicants to refrain from making any requests that are not absolutely necessary 

April 6, 2020

India

Closed until April 15 

All Hearings from March 25 – April 14 Cancelled

Suspended Deadlines Until April 15

March 25, 2020

Israel  Likely to grant properly requested extensions due to circumstances caused by the pandemic on a case-by-case basis  March 22, 2020 

Japan

Special procedures for those affected by the COVID-19 outbreak have been posted to the JPO’s website, https://www.jpo.go.jp/e/news/koho/saigai/covid19_procedures.html  

(1) The late filing of a response to an Office Action due to the coronavirus outbreak will be relieved if the response is filed with a document explaining legitimate reason of the late filing.  We contacted JPO to make sure that the legitimate reason includes one at the representative of applicants.

(2) The following procedures can be filed even within two months from the date the reason disappears but within six months at the latest.  The procedure needs to be filed with a document explaining legitimate reason of the late procedure.
- filing of a divisional application;
- payment of registration and first through third annuities; and
- filing of an appeal against a Decision to Refuse.

(3) The following procedures can be filed even within two months from the date the reason disappears but within one year at the latest.  The procedure needs to be filed with a document explaining legitimate reason of the late procedure.
- filing of translation; and
- filing of Request for Examination

 

April 6, 2020

Mexico 

Suspended Deadlines and Operations until April 19

Accepting Filings Only Online 

March 24, 2020 

South Korea

Deadlines between March 21 and April 29 extended until April 30, but statutory deadlines are unaffected.

March 31, 2020

Taiwan Applicants may apply for reinstatement where deadline was missed due to COVID-19 March 2, 2020 

WIPO

Continuing Operations; Physically Closed

March 20, 2020

WIPO

Updates available here.

Present Status

Offices

Closed to public until further notice.

Deadlines

Unchanged.

Misc.

All events and meetings have been canceled through the end of April.

March 20, 2020 – WIPO is continuing operations under the Patent Cooperation Treaty, the Madrid System, the Hague System, and the Lisbon System, as well as administering its various other IP and related systems.  The WIPO’s Arbitration and Mediation Center is also continuing its work processing domain name disputes under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy and other alternative dispute resolution cases.  The WIPO’s physical offices are closed for non-essential staff and the public and all meetings are postponed or canceled through the end of April.

March 17, 2020 – All events and meetings organized by WIPO have been canceled. However, the WIPO offices remain open. WIPO premises are closed except for essential personnel, but remote working arrangements have been made for the majority of WIPO personnel.

European Patents

Practice Group Head: Neil Coulson

European Patent Office

Updates available here

Present Status

Offices

No oral proceedings before Boards of Appeal until at least April 30; oral proceedings before examining and oppositions divisions postponed unless already scheduled for videoconference.

Deadlines

Deadlines falling between March 15 and April 16 extended to April 17.

Misc.

All organized events cancelled through May; customers are encouraged to use the EPO’s online services.

April  6, 2020 – The Office has provided further guidance for using online services during this time.  All customer service agents are now working from home.  Customers are encouraged to use their electronic Mailbox to receive EPO communications and use the Office’s online filing (CMS) and web-form filing for all procedures with the exception of: opposition, revocation, limitation, and appeal proceedings.  

April 1, 2020  – The Office has published a notice concerning oral proceedings and interviews to be held by videoconference. Oral proceedings held by videoconference are equivalent to those held on the premises of the EPO. Parties may request an oral proceeding be held on the premises of the EPO, with discretion given to the competent division.  Where the direct taking of evidence is required, oral proceedings will not be held. Further, other serious concerns may prevent a proceeding from being held via videoconference. No recording can be made of any part of oral proceedings held by videoconference.  

March 30, 2020 – Fees fixed by the decision of 12 December 2019 will not apply to payments effected on or after 1 April 2020 and having a due date on or before 31 March 2020, or for which the period for payment expires on that date. 

March 23, 2020 – All EPO organized events for March, April, and May have been cancelled.

March 18, 2020 – All deadlines (for applicants under both the EPC and the PCT) in the period between March 15 and April 16 have been extended to April 17. Further, there will be no oral proceedings before the Boards of Appeal between March 16 and March 27. Oral proceedings before examining and oppositions divisions have been postponed, until further notice, until April 17, except those proceedings which have already been confirmed to be done by videoconference.  Further, all events hosted by the EPO have been postponed indefinitely. Other search, examination, and opposition activities will proceed. Given the uncertainty surrounding the present situation, they do not recommend making use of any extensions and will strive to meet all original deadlines so as not to cause any procedural delays or risk penalties. Anyone who has visited a high-risk area are asked not to visit the EPO.

European Union Intellectual Property Office

Updates available here

Present Status

Offices

Closed until further notice; all employees have been instructed to telework.

Deadlines

All deadlines between March 9 and April 30 extended to May 1.

Misc.

 

March 19, 2020 –  The Executive Director has issued a decision that all time limits which fall between March 9 and April 30 have been extended to May 1 (which in effect extends the time limits to May 4).  The Office also provided further guidance that the reference to all time limits is meant to be read literally and applies to all procedural deadlines, whether set by the Office or by statute.  However, the extension does not apply to any proceedings before other authorities, for example bringing an action before the General Court against decisions by the Boards of Appeal.  This extension is automatic, and applicants need not make a special application for it to apply.  In response to the “state of alarm” declared by the Spanish government on March 14, effective immediately all EUIPO staff will work from home. Otherwise, all business at the EUIPO should continue as usual.  

UKIPO

Updates available here

Present Status

Offices

Physical offices are closed; majority of staff have been equipped to work from home; no physical hearings will be booked or take place until June 1.

Deadlines

Deadlines for patents, supplementary protection certificates, trademarks, and design have been extended indefinitely until the end of the interrupted days period.

Misc.

All events and meetings have been canceled; the public may use the email address paperformcontingency@ipo.gov.uk to correspond with the office; no paper forms, faxes, or correspondence will be processed at this time; for Section 22 or 23 queries, please call 01633-813558.

April  2, 2020 – The Office requests that applicants do not use the paperformcontingency@ipo.gov.uk for requests under Section 23 (permission to file patent applications abroad) or for Section 22 applications in general. Instead, the Office directs applicants to call 01633-813558 for advice.  

March 27, 2020 – Until further notice, March 24 and all subsequent days have been declared interrupted days.  Therefore, any deadlines for patents, supplementary protection certificates, trademarks, and designs, along with related applications, are extended until the end of the interrupted days period. The Office will provide a minimum two weeks’ notice to applicants and rights holders before ending the interrupted days period and will review the situation on April 17. Further, no paper forms, faxes, or paper correspondence can be processed at this time.  Customers are encouraged to communicate with the office at paperformcontingency@ipo.gov.uk.  

March 23, 2020 – UKIPO has created an email address that can used to correspond with the office in lieu of fax or mail.  The public is asked to use this address and use online services wherever possible. 

March 19, 2020 – The office confirms that its services are unaffected at present. However, the majority of employees have been equipped and will to work from home. Further, hearings will be conducted over telephone, and no in-person hearings will occur until June 1.

IP Australia

Updates available here

Present Status

Offices

Closed, with staff working from home; hearings will be conducted via video conference, telephone or written submission until further notice.

Deadlines

Applicants may request an extension of certain eligible deadlines through the standard process.

Misc.

All events and meetings have been canceled through the end of April.

April 1, 2020 – The staff of IP Australia is working from home, and so the office is no longer accepting physical filings.  Applicants are advised to use the office’s eService tool for filings. 

March 26, 2020 – IP Australia remains open for business; staff is largely working remotely, and hearings are being conducted via video or teleconference or on the papers. 

March 20, 2020 – Hearings will be conducted via video conference, telephone or written submission until further notice. The deadline extension guidance issued on March 19 applies to Plant Breeder’s Rights applications as well. Applicants should note that some time periods, including requirements to file a PBR application within the allowable prior sales period and submitting documents for priority claims in relation to foreign applications, cannot be extended. PBR examiners will not be conducting the examination of field trials for PBR purposes that involve domestic flights or overnight stays until further notice.

March 19, 2020 – Where an applicant cannot carry out an action within time due to the COVID-19 outbreak an extension of time may be available. Requests for extensions of time will need to be made in the normal way, accompanied where required by a declaration setting out how the COVID-19 outbreak interfered with responding in time. Requests for waiver or refund of the fee for the extension of time will be considered on a case by case basis as per current practice. Applicants should note that some time periods cannot be extended. Applicants should check with IP Australia or an intellectual property professional if they are uncertain whether an extension of time is possible.

 

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