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Interim Changes to Federal Trademark Guidelines

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COVID-19 is still continuing to cause disruptions within the world on a multitude of levels. Even so, it is important now more than ever for business owners and managers to hone in on the finer details of their business models and keep tabs on all pertinent concerns. This includes any registered trademarks you own, any pending trademark applications you have filed, and any potential trademarks you wish to protect - as well as all of the due dates and deadlines pertinent to each.

One of the last things you'd expect the Coronavirus to affect is your trademarks, so how can that be?

  1. The United States Patent and Trademark Office considers the Coronavirus to be an “extraordinary situation” for affected trademark applicants and owners. In response to Coronavirus, the USPTO has closed its offices to the public (effective March 16, 2020) and is waiving petition fees for “trademark applications and registrations that were abandoned and/or canceled due to inability to timely respond to a trademark-related Office communication as a result of the effects of the Coronavirus outbreak.” Click here to learn more.
  2. International offices have been kind enough to extend deadlines. For example, The China National IP Administration (“CNIPA”) has extended deadlines for any trademark applicant or registrant affected by Coronavirus. The EU Intellectual Property Office (“EUIPO”) has extended all time limits expiring between March 9th and April 30th until May 1, 2020. The Spanish IP Office (“OEPM”) has announced that all deadlines pending are suspended until the state of emergency is over.
  3. Some companies and individuals have taken the Coronavirus outbreak as an opportunity to acquire trademark rights for Coronavirus related trademarks. For instance, the USPTO currently has trademark applications pending for “CORONAVIRUS“; “CORONAVIRUS SURVIVAL GUIDE“; “COVID 19“; “CORONAVIRUS SURVIVOR“; “I SURVIVED CORONAVIRUS“; and “I SURVIVED THE CORONAVIRUS 2020.” These trademark applications are largely seeking registration in association with goods such as t-shirts, hats, and other similar merchandise. Whether these trademarks succeed in achieving registration, however, remains to be seen.
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