Insights

Global Overview of IP Entity Responses to COVID-19 Crisis

Firm Thought Leadership

IP entities throughout the world have responded to the COVID-19 pandemic by closing physical locations, suspending in-person meetings, and in some cases extending deadlines. The following report outlines COVID-19 related measures taken by certain courts, IP offices, and other government agencies in the United States and around the world that regularly impact our clients. We also provide information on signature requirements in various jurisdictions and IP offices, including whether and how electronic signatures may be used, available here. We will continue to update this report as the situation develops.

Latest Updates Related to COVID-19:

The District of Colorado has restricted access to the courthouse and canceled all public and bar-related functions scheduled to take place at the courthouse through June 19.

The Western District of Texas has restricted access to the Albert Armendariz Sr. United States Courthouse until June 30. 

The EPO has postponed all oral proceedings in opposition scheduled through September 14 (previously through June 2) which have not either already been confirmed to take place by videoconference or will be held by videoconference with the parties’ consent under the pilot project.

In the Southern District of California, beginning on June 1, judges have the discretion to conduct in-person proceedings except jury trials in civil cases.

Access to all Northern District of California courthouses (San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose, and Eureka/McKinleyville) remains temporarily restricted to the public until June 1, and this period may be extended further.

The Indian Patent Office has postponed the Patent Agent examination until further notice.

In the Northern District of Texas, any person over the age of two must wear a mask and submit to screening to enter the Eldon B. Mahon United States Courthouse.

The USPTO has provided a website offering further information regarding the COVID-19 Prioritized Examination Pilot Program.

The Federal Circuit has suspended in-person arguments until further notice. 

In the Southern District of Texas, the Bob Casey Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse in Houston is now open to the public.  The Reynaldo G. Garza – Filemon B. Vela U.S. Courthouse in Brownsville will remain closed to the public until further notice.

The EPO has released further guidance regarding hearings before the Boards of Appeal.

The French IP Office (INPI) has provided more firm dates for the extension of deadlines.

The South Korean IP Office (KIPO) has extended the deadline for payment of PCT international patent application fees for one month beginning May 18.  The Office plans to expand its telephone and video capabilities to better facilitate patent trials and hearings.

The Victoria Division in the Southern District of Texas released an order continuing all jury trials (civil and criminal) through June 30.  The order also maintains the closure of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Federal Building, and noted that, upon reopening, all visitors must bring masks and wear them to enter.

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

Deadlines between March 27 and May 31 are extended until June 1 for certain items if the delay is caused by the COVID-19 outbreak.

Misc.

Handwritten signatures no longer required; Patents 4 Partnership programs has been launched, with a focus on COVID-19 related technologies.

May 18, 2020 – The USPTO has provided a website offering further information regarding the COVID-19 Prioritized Examination Pilot Program, available here

May 8, 2020 – The USPTO has announced a new COVID-19 Prioritized Examination Pilot Program for applications with claims covering a product or process that is subject to FDA approval for use in the prevention and/or treatment of COVID-19.  Under the Program, the USPTO will grant requests for prioritized examination to patent applicants that qualify for small or micro entity status without payment of the typical fees associated with other prioritized examination.  In addition, the USPTO will endeavor to reach final disposition of applications in this program within six months if applicants respond promptly to communications from the USPTO.

May 6, 2020 – The USPTO will allow the filing of plant patent applications and correspondence electronically until further notice.  

May 5, 2020 – The USPTO has released a form for applicants or patent owners to use when making the statement of delay due to the COVID-19 outbreak, available here. The statement is available to excuse certain deadlines, but not deadlines applicable to converting provisional applications.

May 4, 2020 – The USPTO has launched its Patents 4 Partnerships platform, https://developer.uspto.gov/ipmarketplace/search/patents, to provide a repository of patents and published applications related to the COVID-19 pandemic.  

April 30, 2020 – The USPTO and the EPO have released a joint statement promising to support innovation during the COVID-19 crisis, available here, https://www.uspto.gov/sites/default/files/documents/20200430_EPO-USPTO_JointStatement.pdf.  

April 29, 2020 – The USPTO has further extended the time to file certain patent and trademark-related documents and to pay certain required fees, which otherwise would have been due between March 27 and May 31, to June 1. 

April 20, 2020 – Patent Center Beta is now available.  This tool allows for electronic filing and management of patent applications in a single unified interface. Patent Center allows for submission of the specification, claims, and abstract as a single DOCX document without the need to manually separate sections. 

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

Deadlines, for certain matters, falling between March 27 and May 31 are extended until June 1, so long as the delay is caused by the COVID-19 outbreak

Misc.

 

April 28, 2020 – The USPTO has extended certain PTAB deadlines in accordance with the CARES Act.  Any filing with a deadline falling between March 27 and May 31 will be considered timely if filed on or before June 1. 

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

The Office’s emergency measures, including the extension of statutory deadlines, are extended until July 10. 

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.

May 8, 2020 – The Office has published an interim rule that amends its regulations regarding eligibility for the Office’s special registration procedure for “secure tests.”  Due to the COVID-19 emergency, certain tests normally administered at specified centers (as required by the prior regulations) are temporarily being administered remotely.  Under the interim rule, these tests will remain eligible for registration as secure tests, provided the administrator employs sufficient security measures. 

May 1, 2020 – The Office is extending deadlines until July 10

April 27, 2020 – The Office has launched a limited pilot program for electronic recordation that will eventually replace the current paper-based process. 

April 9, 2020 – The Office is extending the deadline until June 15 for public comment on those issues concerning the application of the statutory definition of publication to an online context identified in the Office’s December 4, 2019 inquiry.

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; certain oral arguments, previously postponed, will be held via teleconference.

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 28, 2020 – The Supreme Court has released guidance for the oral arguments to be held on May 4, 5, 6, 11, 12 and 13 via telephone conference. The guidance is available on the Court’s website, https://www.supremecourt.gov/publicinfo/press/pressreleases/pr_04-28-20

April 13, 2020 – The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments by teleconference for several cases that were previously postponed due to the outbreak, including U.S. Patent and Trademark Office v. Booking.com B.V., No. 19-46.  The Justices and counsel will all participate remotely; the Court anticipates providing live audio to the public. 

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; in-person oral arguments are suspended until further notice; all hearing will be conducted telephonically.  The public will have access to live audio for each panel scheduled for argument in April, May, and June 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.

May 18, 2020 – In-person arguments have been suspended until further notice.  Parties will be notified individually regarding oral arguments going forward.  The full administrative order on conducting oral arguments is available here

May 11, 2020 – The Court will hold all arguments telephonically during the June session.  The public will continue to have access to the live audio of these arguments via the link on the Court’s website (available here). 

April 24, 2020 – The Court has published proposed amendments to the Federal Circuit Rules of Practice, http://www.cafc.uscourts.gov/sites/default/files/rules-of-practice/notices/InitialPublicNoticeAmendments-04242020.pdf

April 21, 2020 –
The Court will hold all oral arguments telephonically during the May session. 

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 further notice; all employees teleworking until at least  July 10.

Deadlines

All Section 337 hearings scheduled to take place before July 10 are postponed.  Discovery is to continue, and staff participation will be decided on a case-by-case basis.

Misc.

Only electronic filings will be accepted.

May 14, 2020 – The USITC has extended all COVID-related measures until July 10

April 17, 2020 – The USITC is now closed to the public until further notice. 

April 15, 2020 – The USITC has extended all COVID-related measures until June 10

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.

District of Delaware

Updates available here

Present Status

Courtrooms

All jury trials set to begin before May 31 are continued; the courthouse has reopened.

Deadlines

Unchanged.

Misc.

The Court has created an Electronic Civil Summons form; all visitors and staff are required to wear a mask or other face covering in court facilities.

April 29, 2020 – The Court will allow any document to be signed electronically where the presiding judge determines it would be impractical to require a physical signature.

April 28, 2020 – All visitors are required to wear a mask or other face covering when in public areas of the courthouse or interacting with Court staff.  

April 17, 2020 – All jury trials set to begin before May 31 are continued pending further order of the Court. 

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 31 have been continued; visitor access restricted until May 31; beginning April 20, all EDTX Divisions, except the Beaumont Division, will be closed.

Deadlines

Unchanged.

Misc.

Judges have discretion over handling of in-person meetings.

April 22, 2020 – All jury trials through May 31 have been continued; visitor restrictions will also remain in place until May 31. 

April 20, 2020 – The Beaumont Division is open.  

April 14, 2020 – The Beaumont Division is closed to the public until further notice.  

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 through June 30 have been continued; all grand jury proceedings until June 30 have been continued; All hearings in the Waco Division will be held telephonically through May 31.  Access to the Alpine, Midland, and Pecos courthouses is restricted to designated personnel until further notice.  Access to the San Antonio courthouse is restricted to designated personnel until May 31.  Access to the Austin, Waco and El Paso courthouses is restricted until June 30.

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.

May 21, 2020 – Access to the Albert Armendariz Sr. United States Courthouse in El Paso is restricted until June 30

May 13, 2020 – Access to the United States Courthouse in Waco is restricted until June 30. 

May 11, 2020 – Access to the United States Courthouse in Austin is restricted to designated personnel until June 30 

May 8, 2020 – All trials scheduled to begin before June 30 are continued and will have a new date set by the presiding judge.  This applies only to trial dates; no other deadlines are extended.  Grand jury proceedings are also continued until June 30.  Each division will continue to determine any restriction on access to its courthouses.

May 6, 2020 – Access to the Alpine, Midland, and Pecos courthouses is restricted until further notice. 

April 27, 2020 – Entry to the United States Courthouse in Austin is restricted to designated personnel until May 31. 

April 16, 2020 – Entry to the John H. Wood, Jr. U.S. Courthouse in San Antonio and the Albert Armendariz, Sr. U.S. Courthouse in El Paso is restricted to designated personnel until May 31.

April 15, 2020 – All jury trials and grand jury proceedings through May 31 have been continued.

April 9, 2020 – The Waco Division has provided further guidance for parties with Markman hearings. For parties who have already had a Markman hearing, the Court will consider all reasonable adjustments to current scheduling orders provided that the parties first meet-and-confer about the proposed changes; if the parties cannot agree, they are directed to contact the Court’s law clerk to set-up a telephonic conference.  For parties with a Markman hearing scheduled between April 9 and May 1, the parties may choose to maintain their current hearing date or else they may choose to have it postponed to the week of May 11 and indicate their preferred day of the week.  If they choose the later, the court will provide preliminary claim constructions by 5PM the day before the Markman hearing is currently scheduled

April 7, 2020 – Entry to the Midland, Pecos, and Alpine courthouses are restricted to designated personnel until May 1

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 through May 31.

Deadlines

Bench and jury trials scheduled to begin through May 31 are continued.

Misc.

Masks must be worn to enter the Eldon B. Mahon United States Courthouse, the Earle Cabell Federal Building, the United States Courthouse at Dallas, and the Mary Lou Robinson Courthouse. 

May 21, 2020 – Any person over the age of two must wear a mask and must pass proper screening in order to enter the courthouses located in the Abilene, Lubbock, and San Angelo Divisions. 

May 18, 2020 – Any person over the age of two must wear a mask and submit to screening to enter the Eldon B. Mahon United States Courthouse.   Further, entrance to the Mary Lou Robinson Courthouse in the Amarillo Division has been restricted to those who have passed screening and the Courtroom is restricted to at most ten spectators, who must practice social distancing. 

May 15, 2020 – Any person over the age of two must wear a mask to enter the Earle Cabell Federal Building or United States Courthouse at Dallas.  

April 22, 2020 – Jury trials scheduled to begin through May 31 are continued and visitor restrictions have been extended to May 31.  

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 the Brownsville Division are continued; visitors are restricted in all Divisions.

All civil trials through July 6 are continued in the Houston/Galveston Division.

All jury trials through June 30 are continued in the Corpus Christi and Victoria Divisions.

All jury trials through May 31 are continued in the McAllen and Laredo Division. 

Beginning May 18, the Bob Casey Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse is open to the public.

The George P. Kazen Federal Building, Reynaldo G. Garza – Filemon B. Vela U.S. Courthouse, United States Courthouse and Custom House in Galveston, United States Courthouse in Brownsville McAllen Division Courthouse, and U.S. District Court (Victoria Division) are closed to the public until further notice.

The Corpus Christi Division remains closed until further notice.

Deadlines

Unchanged.

Misc.

Judges given discretion over handling of all other matters.

May 18, 2020 – The Victoria Division released an order continuing all jury trials (civil and criminal) through June 30.  The order also maintains the closure of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Federal Building, and noted that, upon reopening, all visitors must bring masks and wear them to enter.  The Houston and Galveston Divisions have released a new order slightly modifying the order of April 22.  However, all jury trials through July 6 remain continued, and other deadlines remain at the discretion of individual judges.

May 15, 2020 – In the Corpus Christi Division, all jury trials through June 30 are continued.   The Corpus Christi Division remains closed until further notice and upon reopening everyone entering the courthouse must wear masks.  

May 14, 2020 – The Reynaldo G. Garza – Filemon B. Vela U.S. Courthouse in Brownsville, Texas will remain closed to the public until further notice.   

May 13, 2020 – The Bob Casey U.S. Courthouse in Houston will reopen to the public on May 18.  All members of the public, employees, and contractors who enter the courthouse will be required to wear masks or face coverings where social distancing is not possible.  

April 30, 2020 – The Bob Casey U.S. Courthouse in Houston will be closed to the public through May 17, 2020.  This closure does not affect deadlines set by individual judges, and the Court’s Electronic Case Filing system is still operational.  

April 22, 2020 – In the Houston/Galveston Division, all jury trials through July 6 are continued. The alteration of other deadlines is still left to individual judges.   

April 20, 2020 – In the Victoria Division, all jury trials through May 31 are continued.  Alteration of other deadlines are left to the discretion of individual judges.   

April 13, 2020 – In the Laredo Division, all jury trials through May 31 are continued.  

April 10, 2020 – The Bob Casey U.S. Courthouse in Houston will remain closed to the public through May 1. The building will open to authorized tenants, contractors, and workers beginning April 17.  

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.  In the McAllen Division, all jury trials through May 31 are continued.

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.  From May 1 until June 1, only those having official business may enter the courthouses.

Deadlines

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

Electronic filings accepted through ECF.  Paper filings are allowed but strongly discouraged.

May 21, 2020 – Access to all Northern District of California courthouses (San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose, and Eureka/McKinleyville) remains temporarily restricted to the public until June 1, and this period may be extended further.  For information on electronic and paper submissions, the court has provided information available here.  

May 6, 2020 – A list of upcoming hearings as well as links to access the hearings via Zoom are available on the Court’s website here

April 30, 2020 – No jury trials until at least June 1.  Civil matters will be decided on the papers unless the presiding judge believes a hearing is necessary, in which case it will be held via telephonic or videoconference.  Access to courthouses is limited to official business until at least June 1  

April 20, 2020 – All civil hearings will be conducted via teleconference or videoconference until at least May 1.  Information on how to observe these hearings can be found on the court’s website: www.cand.uscourts.gov/zoom

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 June 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 which will proceed telephonically only.  All filing deadlines remain in place unless ordered by the presiding judge.

Misc.

Judges given discretion to hold hearings as they see fit; jurors will not be called before June 1, but all courtroom proceedings and deadlines remain unchanged.

April 13, 2020 – The Central District of California is extending its Continuity of Operations Plan through and including  June 1. 

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 further notice.

Deadlines

All jury trials through June 15 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.

Information on contacting the Clerk’s office can be found here.

May 13, 2020 – All courthouses are closed to the public until further notice.  

April 17, 2020 – Through June 1, all courthouses are closed to the public. All jury trials scheduled to begin before June 15 are continued; all civil matters will continue to be decided on the papers, where feasible.  

April 16, 2020 – The judicial emergency declared on March 17 is extended and will continue until May 2, 2021. 

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 May 16.

Beginning on June 1, judges have the discretion to conduct in-person proceedings except jury trials in civil cases. 

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.

May 20, 2020 – Beginning on June 1, judges have the discretion to conduct in-person proceedings except jury trials in civil cases.  

April 30, 2020 – All visitors to the courthouses are required to wear face coverings.

April 15, 2020 – All deadlines set out in the previous orders dated March 17 and March 23 have been extended by thirty days.  As a result, all jury trials are continued until May 16.  Parties should continue to avoid in-person submissions, instead using mail or electronic submission whenever possible.  

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 May 31 are continued; all filing and discovery deadlines falling between March 25 and April 30 are extended by 45 days; all filing and discovery deadlines falling between May 1 and May 31 are extended by 30 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.

May 1, 2020 – The Court has relaxed the requirement that the Oath of Admission to practice before the Court be administered by a judge, attorney, or notary, and allows applicants to submit an Affirmation instead.  Instructions can be found on the Court’s website here.  

April 27, 2020 – The Court has posted instructions on how to remotely “attend” public hearings.  Anyone wishing to do so should send an email to ecfhelp@njd.uscourts.gov stating that you would like to remotely attend a public hearing.  You must include your name and telephone number, the case name, case number, and the date and time of the hearing. 

April 17, 2020 – COVID-19 related measures are extended until May 31, except for filing and discovery deadlines.  Filing and discovery deadlines falling between May 1 and May 31 are extended by 30 days. 

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 June 15 are continued.

Deadlines

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

Misc.

Requirements to accomplish service by the USMS is suspended; The time period from April 27 through June 15 is excluded from the 90-day period to accomplish service under FRCP 4(m) for all cases.

May 11, 2020 – The time period from April 27 through June 15 is excluded from the 90-day period to accomplish service under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 4(m).  

April 21, 2020 – All petit jury selection and jury trials scheduled to begin before June 16 are continued.  

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

The Thurgood Marshall Courthouse is closed; the Daniel Patrick Moynihan and Charles L. Brieant Courthouses will remain open only for urgent matters. No jury trials will begin until further notice.

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.

April 21, 2020 – Jury trials are suspended until further notice. 

April 10, 2020 – Court operations for the period of April 13–May 4 will be altered as follows.  The Thurgood Marshall Courthouse will remain closed, except for grand jury matters; the Daniel Patrick Moynihan Courthouse will remain open only to hear urgent criminal matters and matters in which immediate relief is sought under FRCP 65(b).  Parties with civil matters that require the immediate attention of the judge must first the  Clerk of Court by calling (212) 805-0140, prior to (i) filing the papers online through ECF (preferred) or (ii) bringing papers to the courthouse.  The Charles L. Brieant Courthouse in White Plains will remain open, but will only receive emergency civil applications made directly to the assigned judge.  Extensions of time in civil cases remain in the discretion of individual judges.  

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.

March 13, 2020 – Any requirement that U.S. Marshals effect personal service of process under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 4(c)(3) or 28 U.S.C. § 1915(d) is suspended until further notice.  However, this does not apply to service by mail under N.Y.C.P.L.R. § 312-a, waivers of service under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 4(d), or service by electronic means.  In a case where U.S. Marshals have been order to serve process, the time for service under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 4(m) is tolled. 

District of Colorado

Updates available here

Present Status

Courtrooms

All trials beginning before July 6 are continued;the courthouse is restricted to those having official business through June 19.

Deadlines

Unchanged.

Misc.

All public and bar-related events scheduled to take place at the courthouse through June 19 are canceled.
May 21, 2020 – The Court has restricted access to the courthouse and canceled all public and bar-related functions scheduled to take place at the courthouse through June 19.  

May 6, 2020 – All civil and criminal trials scheduled to commence through July 6 are continued. 

April 24, 2020 – The Clerk’s Office Counter is closed.  If unable to file documents electronically  (through CM/ECF), pro se parties may email documents (in Microsoft Word or PDF format) to COD_ProSe_Filing@cod.uscourts.gov

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.  The Roszkowski Courthouse is closed until at least May 20.

Deadlines

Extended by 77 days; hearings, trials, and settlement conferences before May 29 are cancelled and will be rescheduled by the presiding judge on or after June 1.  (***Does not apply to deadlines relating to appeals***)  

Parties to a civil case without a docket entry or order since March 16 shall file a joint written status report by May 18.  

Jury trials scheduled for on or before June 26 are stricken and will be rescheduled by the presiding judge on or after June 29.

Misc.

May 15, 2020 – The Roszkowski Courthouse is closed until at least May 20, due to an individual who works at the Courthouse testing positive for the novel coronavirus.   

April 24, 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 29 are stricken, to be rescheduled by the presiding judge on or after June 1.  Jury trials scheduled for on or before June 26 are stricken and will be rescheduled by the presiding judge on or after June 29.

In any civil case without a docket entry or order since March 16 the parties shall file a joint written status report by May 18.  The report should be “as concise as possible” while still addressing: “(a) the progress of discovery; (b) the status of briefing on any unresolved motions; (c) settlement efforts. In addition, the report shall: (d) provide an agreed proposed schedule (or alternative proposals) for the next 45 days; (e) provide an agreed proposed revised discovery and dispositive motion schedule (or alternative proposals) in cases where the current schedule needs revision; (f) request any agreed action that the Court can take without a hearing; and (g) state whether the parties believe a telephonic hearing with the judge is necessary and time urgent, and, if so, identify the issue that warrants discussion.”
  

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.

 

May 7, 2020 – Effective immediately, Magistrate Judges and Senior Judges may schedule and conduct mediations in civil proceedings in accordance with normal practices of the Court.  All mediation will occur by video or telephone conference until further notice. 

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; if requests are within the office’s discretion, the office will seek to apply it.

April 9, 2020

Canada

Suspended Deadlines and Payment of Fees from March 16 to May 29.

The Office has provided a number of FAQs related to proceedings before the Canadian Intellectual Property Office, available here, which provide periodic updates.

May 19, 2020

China

Currently Open.

Where a party has lost rights due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it may, no later than 2 years after the pandemic ends, request restoration of those rights.

The Office has provided an English-language information sharing website for patents related to COVID-19, available here.

April 30, 2020

EPO

Suspended Deadlines Until June 2.

Oral Proceedings before the Board of Appeals will resume on May 18; oral proceedings before Opposition Divisions up to September 14 are postponed; videoconferences still available; oral proceedings before Examining will proceed via videoconference.  Any documents filed during telephonic or video hearings must be submitted via email.

May 21, 2020

EUIPO

Suspended Deadlines Until May 18.  Guidelines for those still requiring extended deadlines are available on the office’s website.

May 15, 2020

France

Facilities to remain closed until at least June 2. 

Deadlines between March 12 and June 23 are postponed to July 23 if the initial deadline was one month, and August 23 if the initial deadline was equal or greater than 2 months.

The Office (INPI) has provided an IP Advice hotline in most regions, available by appointment.

May 15, 2020
Germany

Suspended Deadlines Until May 4.

Hearings and Oral Proceedings cancelled through June 30.

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

April 30, 2020

India

Office is open, but with reduced capacity.

All Hearings from March 25 – May 3 Cancelled.

Suspended Deadlines Through May 17 to July 1.  Petitions for Extension of Deadlines under sub-rule (6) of Rule 6 may be submitted no later than one month after the end of the COVID-19 crisis.

Patent Agent examination is postponed until further notice.

May 20, 2020

Israel

The Office is continuing operations without personal presence in its offices. 

Likely to grant properly requested extensions due to circumstances caused by the pandemic on a case-by-case basis.

No files will be closed due to a failure to respond until June 30.

Hearings before the Registrar will be modified as follows:

a. Hearing deadlines between March 22 and April 1 are postponed until May 15.
b. Hearing deadlines between April 2 and May 1 are postponed until June 15.
c. Hearing deadlines between May 2 and May 15 are postponed for 30 days.

May 10, 2020

Japan

Guidance regarding the application of relief measures by the JPO in light of COVID-19 has been released on the Office’s website, https://www.jpo.go.jp/e/news/koho/saigai/covid19_legitimate_reasons.html

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.

The Japanese Post Office has suspended mail to certain countries and there may be a delay in sending notices of refusal and statements of grant for (1) international design applications under the Geneva Act of the Hague Agreement; and (2) international trademark applications under the Madrid Protocol.

(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 30, 2020

Mexico

Suspended Deadlines and Operations until May 30.

Accepting Filings Only Online.

April 28, 2020

South Korea

Deadlines between March 21 and May 30 extended until May 31, but statutory deadlines are unaffected.  The Office is preparing to enable telephone and video channels for certain patent trial matters.

The payment period for all PCT international application fees is delayed by one month beginning May 18.

May 20, 2020

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

WIPO

Continuing Operations; Physically Closed.

April 9, 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; all communications should be done by electronic means.

May 5, 2020 – WIPO has launched an online tool to track the steps taken by the worldwide IP community in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  It can be accessed here

April 21, 2020 – WIPO has introduced a new functionality for PATENTSCOPE to facilitate the location and retrieval of information contained in published patent documents that may be useful for innovators developing new technologies to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. 

April 9, 2020 – All communications with WIPO offices under the Patent Cooperation Treaty, the Madrid System, and the Hague System should be done by electronic means, as no physical communications will be accepted.    

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 most of WIPO personnel.

European Patents

Practice Group Head: Neil Coulson

European Patent Office

Updates available here

Present Status

Offices

Oral proceedings before Boards of Appeal will resume on May 18; oral proceedings in opposition until September 14 are postponed until further notice unless already confirmed for videoconference; oral proceedings in examination will proceed via videoconference.

Deadlines

Deadlines falling on or after March 15 are extended to June 2.  Any documents received late will be deemed to have been received in due time if accompanied with evidence within five days of the end of the disruption, that the delay was caused by the exceptional circumstances within ten days of the due date.

Misc.

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

May 21, 2020 – The EPO has postponed all oral proceedings in opposition scheduled through September 14 (previously through June 2) which have not either already been confirmed to take place by videoconference or will be held by videoconference with the parties’ consent under the pilot project.  

May 19, 2020 – The EPO has released training materials and an FAQ for oral proceedings taking place by video conference, available here.  Further, in order to ensure the safety of all participant, the EPO has instituted certain restrictions that allow members of the public to attend hearings before the Boards of Appeal, including: the completion of a screening questionnaire by all participants and submission of interest in attendance to the EPO well in advance of the hearing. Further information regarding hearings before the Boards of Appeal is available here. 

May 15, 2020 – The Boards of Appeal will resume hearings on May 18.  Parties and their representatives will be asked to inform the registry as soon as possible if they intend to attend. 

May 13, 2020 – Documents filed during telephone consultations and during hearings and interviews conducted by videoconference must now be emailed to the EPO and can no longer be faxed.  Instructions on how to submit these documents can be found on the EPO’s website here. 

May 6, 2020 – The EPO expects to resume holding oral proceedings before the Boards of Appeal, to a limited extent, on Monday, May 18.  While members of the public will be allowed to attend, only limited spots will be available. 

May 4, 2020 – The EPO has extended all oral proceedings in opposition until June 2 

May 1, 2020  The EPO has further extended deadlines until June 2

April 30, 2020 – The EPO and the USPTO have released a joint statement promising support for innovators during the COVID-19 crisis, available here.

April 16, 2020 – In light of COVID-19, the Office has extended all deadlines under the EPC and PCT to May 4, 2020. Any documents received late will be deemed to have been received in due time if accompanied with evidence within five days of the end of the disruption, that the delay was caused by the exceptional circumstances within ten days of the due date. 

April 14, 2020 – The Office no longer considers certain countries or regions as higher risk for COVID given the global nature of the pandemic.

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 canceled.

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 May 17 extended to May 18.

Misc.

 

May 15, 2020 – EUIPO's COVID-19 measures will come to an end on May 19.  Parties may still request that certain deadlines be extended where allowed by statute; more information on these deadlines is available on the office’s website, here. 

April 29, 2020 – EUIPO has further extended all deadlines until May 18.   

April 15, 2020 – The deadline for nominations and applications for the DesignEuropa Awards has been extended until May 8

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; payments by check or over the phone will not be accepted.

May 13, 2020 – The Office has provided additional information for emailing documents. 

May 7, 2020 – The Office has reviewed the status of the interrupted days period and has decided to continue it.  The Office will next review the interrupted days period on May 28 and will give at least two weeks’ notice prior to the end of the period.

May 4, 2020 – The Office can now issue Certified Office Copies by email, using the appropriate form: Patent Form 23, Trade Mark TM31R, or Design DF23. Further, payments and refunds may  be done entirely online, using the Office’s online payment tool (https://fees.ipo.gov.uk/pay), by bank transfer, or use of an IPO deposit account.  Payment will not be accepted by check or over the phone.  

April 20, 2020 – The Office has confirmed continuation of the Interrupted Days period, including the suspending of posting out of documents and notifications. The situation will be reevaluated on May 7.  

April 16, 2020 – UKIPO no longer has fax capability. 

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.If the office has the discretion to allow an extension of time, it will seek to do so.

Misc.

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

April 22, 2020 – The Office has provided a standard text for requesting an extension of time.  Extensions of time up to three months are available and are free of charge.  These arrangements will be in place until at least May 31 

April 9, 2020 – Applicants are advised to check the IP Australia website frequently for updates on the office’s response to COVID-19.  If applicants are affected by the outbreak the office will allow for extensions of time where it has discretion to do so. 

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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