CARES ACT and IP: More Flexibility and Protection
Many businesses and individuals who own or wish to register to own intellectual property rights, as well as the lawyers assisting them, are finding it hard to meet certain deadlines due to the COVID-19 pandemic for various reasons.
Thankfully, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act of 2020 has granted both the Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) and the Register of Copyrights the newfound authority to extend these deadlines during the “Emergency Period” in an effort to relieve the difficulties brought on by the health-crisis.
On March 31, 2020, both the PTO Director and the Register of Copyrights issued notices that certain intellectual property filing deadlines and fees may be extended during the Emergency Period. Required filings for proceedings, and Patent and Trademark application deadlines, including the associated fees, are extendible by 30 days during this Emergency Period, “provided the filing is accompanied by a statement that the delay in filing or payment was due to the COVID-19 outbreak.” The Director must also “determine that the emergency ‘materially affects’ the function of the PTO, prejudices the rights of trademark or patent applicants, registrants, owners or others appearing before the PTO, or prevents them from filing a document with the PTO or paying a PTO fee.” This temporary rule is particularly significant for trademark and patent owners who are finding it difficult to meet statutory deadlines when filing or renewing their trademark applications or prosecuting to protect their IP rights.
Similarly, the Register of Copyrights has also extended copyright registration and notices of termination deadlines to persons who show that they could not meet the deadline due to the pandemic. Although the Register has not specified the exact length of the extension, affected copyright owners will receive some additional length of time on the three-month window for registering a new work, and those who are prevented from serving or recording notices of termination within the required time periods will also be given accommodations.
Both the USPTO and the Register of Copyright shall have the authority to extend or modify deadlines for the duration of the national emergency declaration (invoked on March 13, 2020) and for the 60 days following the expiration of the emergency.
Author: Jennifer Kleinman and Daniel Koburger
First Published: 05/05/2020