USPTO facilities closed to the public

All USPTO offices will be closed to the public beginning Monday, March 16, 2020 until further notice.  Employees, contractors, and those with access badges will continue to use the USPTO facilities and USPTO operations will continue without interruption.

Deadlines: Patent and trademark application deadlines and other deadlines are not extended.

19 thoughts on “USPTO facilities closed to the public

  1. 1

    Ridiculous. The USPTO has to be one of the most tone-deaf organizations that has ever existed. What’s the obsession with putting pressure on applicants at all costs?

    1. 1.1

      Some deadlines are statutory and can only be changed by Congress.

      Congress won’t be able to do that after Trump dismisses them sine die (for their own protection).

      1. 1.2.1

        Are you kidding me? People are isolating in their homes be many are going to find it hard to afford even basics. Paying to prosecute patents is not going to be high on the list of things people will want to pay for in a time of need. Some corporate clients probably won’t care. Individual inventors will care deeply.


          Ah, so your concern is less “interaction/exposure” and more the nature of competing costs….

          There will of course be a MASSIVE ripple effect due to the disturbance across the spectrum.

          On example alone: Huffington Post indicated that the cancelation of the NCAA March Madness tournament has a direct financial impact of 933 million dollars in lost revenue. And that is but one single sliver.


            Every sector of the economy will be impacted, that is true. My concern is also with interaction. I’ve worked at other small firms (solo for the last 10 years). Most of these firms have staff that operate docketing systems that require employees in the office. Some operate their own servers to maintain data privacy. These firms will have to force people to staff their offices to enable attorneys to work from home. No one was prepared for this type of event. Some firms still work with paper client files…


              I have to wonder what the patent office did just over 100 years ago in view of the Spanish Flu pandemic (which was far worse).

                1. I wonder 6.

                  One reason why is a friend showed me a document from that time period with a particular major city enacting all kinds of ‘shut-down’ protocols (much like today).

                  IIRC, 1/3 of the entire world’s population was infected with more than 5 million deaths…

                2. “IIRC, 1/3 of the entire world’s population was infected with more than 5 million deaths…”

                  Small potatoes on a saturday morning before sm all p ox, mease ls, m umps n reu bella etc. were taken out.

                  It’s basically like someone said on tw atter the other day:

                  imagine telling a WW 2 trooper about to hit nor mandy or iwo ji ma that the whole country shut down so that a few tens of thousands of people didn’t di e.

                  Still, the people in Italy seem to be all saying that it’s a big hai ry deal so I guess we gotta do what we gotta do. The pres and DOC are surely putting out releases to the federal gubmi t workers enough to get everyone to stay home.


            I think that Bluto is referring to the lack of deadline extension. The PTO closes when it snows a few inches and output slows to a trickle, leaving applicants less time to respond to final office and advisory actions, for example. But when there is a blizzard where we are, that’s our tough luck. Presumably, people that opt for in-person interviews believe they will be more efficient than the other options. The PTO is eliminating those and not providing any compensating forbearance. To the extent that the PTO is limited by statute, the PTO should have been lobbying for flexibility for decades. That the clock does not stop after a response to a final office action is filed is absurd. Applicants should not have to pay extension of time fees because the Office doesn’t issue an advisory action or notice of allowance in a timely manner. But that’s what the rules/statutes require.


              Exactly. Applicants are being forced to pay for prosecution to keep files alive. There are applicants who are going to have to seriously consider abandoning applications versus paying basic bills. Any small or micro entity should be given the option to defer prosecution for at least 6 months.


                Is this “exactly?” I read Les’s comments as applying even without a pandemic having its widespread effects.

                Not that I am questioning that the timing aspect could be improved, mind you….

                Also, I do understand that for especially smaller entities, there well may be much more “interaction” intensive aspects, but even the current state of dealing with the pandemic, there is no law firm — or general business shutdowns being mandated.

                The efforts so far have been directed to the larger scale ‘humans in a crowd’ types that may provide for a ‘flatten the curve’ effect.

                I think that your views, while certainly having a degree of concern, have not yet been invoked by a “general business” decree. If or when that happens, I suspect that interactions with the Patent Office will be included.

                1. The EPO and other foreign patent offices are already allowing delays. Thanks for your input, but you’d argue with a fence post if it would listen.

                2. What another Sovereign chooses does not dictate the state of our Sovereign or its choices.

                  As I noted, there is NO “general” business moratorium — as of yet. If we come to that, I certainly expect the Patent Office to reflect such (that’s not an argument, is it?)

                  Now, if the legal context of our discussion had to do with sports, schools, bars, or restaurants, your position would have more traction (I certainly hope that THAT too is not an argument).

    2. 1.3


      You may be aware of this, but the USPTO just published an alert regarding the COVID-19 impact. In the alert, the Office is waiving petition fees in certain situations (while noting that the alert does NOT provide any waivers or extensions of dates or requirements set by statute.

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