October 3, 2013 in Commentary, News

NEWS : How does the government shutdown affect USPTO processing?

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Without delving into the politics behind the government shutdown, many of my clients are curious about whether and how the current shutdown will be affecting any matters they have pending before the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) or applications that they’re considering submitting.

Because the USPTO generates a considerable amount of revenue, its budget is controlled with more independence than most parts of the government. In particular, the USPTO’s reserve allows it to remain in operation, at least for now, even as other agencies are forced to shutter their doors and furlough their staff. Nonetheless, the USPTO is taking steps to reduce extraneous spending, such as cancelling conferences.  It’s expected that the USPTO can operate as normal for a last few weeks. However, there are additional US budgetary triggers that could force the USPTO to restrict its operations as early as mid-October.  In the meantime, courts dealing with patent matters continue to adjudicate those matters.

What does this mean for new USPTO applications?

Clients currently preparing or considering submitting patent and trademark applications are encouraged to get their applications together and submitted to the USPTO as soon as a possible to avoid the risk that their applications will get caught up in processing delays.

Please contact Zak Shusterman if you have any questions about an application you’re considering submitting or how the government shutdown might affect your intellectual property strategy.