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You might be surprised to find out that inside the $2 trillion stimulus package, the C.A.R.E.S. Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security), lies a very important provision for intellectual property (IP) owners.

On March 27, 2020, the C.A.R.E.S. Act was signed into law, and is mostly known for its unemployment benefits and business tax allowances. However, trademark and patent owners, as well as small business owners with IP needs, can also find relief in the form of filing deadline extensions.  

Under Section 12004, the director of the USPTO (United States Patent and Trademark Office) is given the authority to allow deadline extensions due to the CoVID-19 pandemic. For the USPTO, these extensions usually number 30 days. The U.S. Copyright Office has adjusted its own deadlines to offer 60-to-90 days on a case-by-case basis. 

Prior to the provision, the director of the USPTO had no authority to remove deadlines from its filing laws but had recently waived all fees required for expired renewal registrations. In other news, likeminded provisions are now being adopted across the globe, starting with Great Britain and China. 

The Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property (who is also the Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office) announced the extension by saying, “inventors and entrepreneurs are the lifeblood of our economy, and we recognize that many of them are having difficulty as a result of the effects of COVID-19”. 

That being said, extensions will not be granted to all filings or all applicants – persons filing for extensions must be able to prove that they have been negatively affected by CoVID-19. The USPTO has recently published a list of which deadlines are eligible for both trademarks and patents.  

If you have been affected by CoVID-19 and have need of filing trademarks, patents, or copyrights, you may be eligible for an extension – even backdated to March 27, 2020. Visit USPTO.gov or CopyRight.govfor more information and to request your extension.  

Until next time, I’m Francine D. Ward – Intellectual Property attorney. Feel free to reach out for a complimentary consultation if you need legal help during this difficult time. 

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