The USPTO has now indicated that the Patent Office will need to stop operations coming the second week of February. Although this information is a bit vague, indications from Examiner’s I have spoken with point to February 4th, which is the first day of a new bi-week.
As mentioned in our previous posts, electronic filing will be maintained by a skeleton crew to make sure that priority dates and responses to Office Actions are received.
In addition to expecting delays, there are a couple of considerations that patent attorneys and clients should be considering. First, if an after-final response has been filed, it is possible that it will not be evaluated before the statutory deadline or a response could require immediate action to avoid further costs. Second, any examiner interviews should be done sooner rather than later to allow time for the examiner to act, if needed, as a result of an interview.
The Trademark Office has stated that operation can run into mid-April. The Copyright Office will be stay open as they Copyright Office is “not directly affected by the partial government shutdown.” Likewise, jurisdictions handling a wealth of IP-related dispute will continue operating, including the Federal Circuit and the District of Delaware.
The International Trade Commission (ITC) has been closed for business since the very beginning of the Federal government’s partial shutdown in December.