USPTO remains open…for now (Part 2)

As you will be aware the earlier shutdown of non-essential government services in the US has ended. Fortunately the shutdown was relatively short and did not eventuate in any long delay for patent applicants. You will also be aware that the ending of the shutdown was in the context of the debt ceiling being temporarily raised. Accordingly, it is not out of the question that a further shutdown will eventuate, or that the political partisanship will intensify so as to make such a possibility more likely and more prolonged.

While the USPTO’s website remains silent on the matter, a report from the Intellectual Property Owners Association states:

USPTO Operating Reserve Replenished by Continuing Resolution that Ended Government Shutdown –

During the quarterly meeting of the USPTO’s Trademark Public Advisory Committee last Friday, Chief Financial Officer Tony Scardino said the legislation passed last week to reopen the partially-closed federal government at current spending levels until January 15 would replenish funds spent out of prior year reserve fee collections to keep the agency open during the partial government shutdown.

So, in short, the present calm, whilst appreciated, may not last. This again emphasises the prudence in our earlier suggestion to review your US applications. In light of these more recent developments we retain our recommendation that you ascertain if any of your existing US applications should be, for commercial reasons, advanced in the short-term to reduce the risk of being caught up in any subsequent official slowdown or shutdown that may eventuate. You may also consider if it is warranted to bring forward the filing of a US national phase application based upon a currently pending PCT application.

Our attorneys are available to assist you consider the relevant issues and to formulate and implement the best possible strategy.