Effect of Industry 4.0 on Patent Filings

Since Jan 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has taken control over the entire globe and putting the day to day life on halt. Almost every country has “lockdown” ultimately.  It caused a massive impact on all the business lines.  IPR is not spared from this. 

Based on the present situation, the USPTO has taken specific steps and made some announcements.  The following are some of the crucial pointers-

  • The USPTO has kept its business open by making some adjustments considering the safety of its employees and the general public. All workplaces of the USPTO have been shut to the general public since March 16, 2020, until further notification. However, all the interactions related to USPTO, personal meeting, and interviews are now conducted via video/teleconference.
  • “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,” said Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office Andrei Iancu. “As a result, we are working to provide as much relief as possible to our stakeholders, consistent with our ability to maintain the USPTO’s fee-funded operations. We are especially mindful of the outsized impact on small businesses and independent inventors and have provided additional relief for these groups. Ultimately, our goal is to ensure not only that inventors and entrepreneurs can weather the storm, but that they can hit the ground running once it passes.”  (source: https://www.uspto.gov/about-us/news-updates/uspto-announces-extension-certain-patent-and-trademark-related-timing
  • The USPTO gave extensions to file certain patent and trademark-related documents and to pay specific fees.
  • The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act signed into law on March 27, 2020, which has provided some relief to individuals and businesses which are affected by the COVID-19 situation.
  • It also offers relief to intellectual property owners confronting challenges meeting filing and response deadlines due to the unexampled health situation.
  • Deadlines of various trademark filing and Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, which are actually due between March 27, 2020, and April 30, 2020, is extended for 30 days from the initial due date for those affected by the situation.
  • The extension is done only if any of the practitioner, applicant, registrant, or other person related to the filing was personally affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • The USPTO also extended deadlines for patent applications, patent re-examinations, and certain transactions before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board.
  • USPTO waives original handwritten signature requirement
  • Inquiries related to patents can be emailed to [email protected] or can reach by telephone to the Office of Patent Legal Administration at (571) 272-7704 or (571) 272-7703 for reexamination
  • Inquiries related to PTAB can be emailed to [email protected] (for PTAB appeals) or [email protected] (for interferences).   
  • Inquiries related to Trademarks can be emailed to [email protected] or reached by telephone at (571) 272-8950
  • The regular updates of USPTO events can be found at events page on USPTO.gov 

While the COVID-19 pandemic introduces various challenges for most business operations, currently, the United States Patent and Trademark Office is continuing its operations without a break with few adjustments.





Effects, COVID 19, interactions, operations, USPTO