Now that the recent U.S. government shutdown has ended, the United States Patent and Trademark Office will remain open and will continue to operate as usual at least until January 15, 2014, when the continued funding of the U.S. government will again be the subject of legislative action.
Thereafter, if government funding is again not provided, the USPTO will likely be forced to shut down more promptly than in this last event. The USPTO would likely shut down most examining operations, but keep its electronic filing system up and running. Thus, patent and trademark applications may still be filed in the event the USPTO has to shut down in January. It is not yet clear, but it appears that Office Action responses may also be filed through the electronic filing system during a shutdown. Thus, we recommend that our clients plan to make all filings in accordance with their existing deadlines regardless of any possible additional shutdown. We will continue to post updates as the situation develops.