The following message comes from Wilbur Ross, Secretary of Commerce. The main point is that USPTO will remain in operation even if there is a government ‘shutdown.’:
As many of you are aware, annual funding for the government expires on January 19th. The Administration does not believe it is necessary for a lapse in funding to occur and looks forward to working with the Congress to finalize appropriations for this year.
However, prudent management requires that we be prepared for all contingencies, including the possibility that a lapse could occur. A lapse would mean that a number of government activities would cease due to a lack of appropriated funding and that a number of employees would be temporarily furloughed. To prepare for this possibility, we are working to update our contingency plans for executing an orderly shutdown of activities that would be affected by a lapse in appropriations.
Should such a lapse occur, the USPTO would still have access to prior year fee collections, which enables the agency to continue normal operations for a few weeks. USPTO employees should report to work as normal until and unless you receive notice otherwise. We are working with your Office of General Counsel and Chief Financial Officer to update our contingency plans should the USPTO need to execute an orderly shutdown of activities after that point.
Thank you for your hard work, dedication, and patience through this process, and for all that you do for the Department of Commerce and the American people.
Wilbur L. Ross
Secretary of Commerce