USPTO Operations Unaffected by Government Shutdown….For Now

With many government agencies shutting down all but the most essential operations today, including the International Trade Commission (ITC), the USPTO remains open. With roughly 4 weeks of funding available, the USPTO expects to maintain operational status. Likewise, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) appears to be safe at least for another week.

The last time the government shut down for a protracted period, 1995, the USPTO was largely unaffected as a fee funded agency That said, if the impasse were to extend beyond 4 weeks, the agency will implement a contingency plan to ensure that statutory mandated review periods for patent reexamination (90 day review period) and PTAB proceedings (12-18 month trial period) are not jeopardized. Also, IT support will remain to ensure that patent applications can continue to be e-filed.