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Coronavirus Impacts on Trademarks

Mallory King - March 17, 2020 - Coronavirus Legal Issues, Trademark Law

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With COVID-19 (aka: “Coronavirus”) sweeping the world and creating uncertainty, it is wise to manage the crisis on a multitude of levels, in both your professional and personal worlds. This includes continuing to be mindful of any registered trademarks you own, any pending trademark applications you have filed, and any potential trademarks you wish to protect – along with all of the due dates and deadlines pertinent to each. Below are three important – and interesting! – updates regarding trademarks in the wake of the novel Coronavirus.

#1) USPTO Waived (Some) Petition Fees

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) 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 cancelled due to inability to timely respond to a trademark-related Office communication as a result of the effects of the Coronavirus outbreak.”

This waiver of fees does not, however, “grant waivers or extensions of dates or requirements set by statute” such as time periods for (1) filing a statement of use; (2) filing trademark renewals; and (3) filing an opposition or cancellation proceeding that the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (“TTAB”).

#2) Many International Offices Have Extended Deadlines

Several intellectual property offices around the globe have extended deadlines in response to the Coronavirus outbreak. 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) Coronavirus Related Trademarks Have Been Filed

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.

Need Help?

If you are a trademark applicant and/or owner that is having issues managing your application and/or registration due to Coronavirus (or other various reasons), Traverse Legal is here to help. We regularly file trademark applications; docket trademark due dates and renewal deadlines; respond to Office Actions; file Statements of Use; engage in cancellation and oppositions proceedings; and offer many other trademark services that are meant to decrease the burden on you – all while working within your budget. Allow us to ease your mind about your valuable trademarks during this unprecedented time. We are here for you.

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