USPTO Operating Status

The USPTO has indicated that, if the partial government shutdown continues, funding for patent operations may run out by the second week of February. Based on the USPTO’s prior statements, this would mean that no actions will be issued, Examiners will not be available for interviews, and it is possible that the PTAB will neither issue papers nor hold oral arguments. Due dates, however, will continue to be in force, and the USPTO will continue to accept filings. Trademark operations will remain open until at least early April.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issued an order last week indicating that it will remain open during the shutdown and that, absent a grant of either a motion for extension of time or a motion to stay in a particular case, all filing deadlines remain in effect. Oral arguments will also continue to be heard as scheduled. It is likely that U.S. district courts will also maintain operations even if funding runs out. However, clients should monitor the status of any specific courts where cases are pending.

We will continue to monitor the status of the USPTO and the federal courts and provide further updates and information.