Verna Law, P.C. currently has cases in the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, the Southern District of New York, the Eastern District of New York, the District of New Jersey, the Central District of California, and the Western District of Washington.
The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board appears to be running normally, except that the TTAB’s building itself is closed. The United States Patent and Trademark Office’s building is closed. But the USPTO is still running, accepting applications, and the TTAB general case calendars are unaffected. Oral arguments will be heard via other means.
Until further notice, examiner and examining attorney interviews, Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) and Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) oral hearings, and other similar in-person meetings with parties and stakeholders scheduled to take place at USPTO offices on or after Friday, March 13, 2020 will be conducted remotely by video or telephone. Parties will receive further instructions on how to participate by video or telephone in advance of the interview, hearing, or meeting.
The Southern District of New York, Eastern District of New York, Central District of California, and District of New Jersey courthouses are open to all except those who have visited China, Italy, Iran, South Korea, and Japan but all judges have ordered their clerks to work from home. Some judges allow conference calls for discovery matters, but dispositive, substantive hearings on motions will most likely be delayed. Deadlines for drafting motions and responses will not be delayed as the filing systems are electronic.
The Western District of Washington has closed.
However, all courts have said that motions that can be decided without an oral argument will be decided. Every judge will handle the situation differently, though.
Here is a lightly edited transcript of the video blog:
I’ve been asked how the novel coronavirus has affected the intellectual property system in the United States. And, apart from the fact that I haven’t shaved since Saturday, the answer is it really hasn’t affected the system all that much.
The United States Patent and Trademark Office, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, all are operated under the same federal agency and they’ve had systems in place for years for remote work. That means every time I call a trademark examining attorney or a patent examining attorney to ask what’s wrong with an application, I’m calling them at home.
Most employees are at home already. Fighting budget woes, the Patent and Trademark Office has already had this system in place. With electronic filing and work from home, the Patent and Trademark Office is operating almost normally.
So, what about the courts?
Well, federal courts are generally, closed or the judges themselves are not holding hearings in the courthouse.
But, for many of my cases, if there’s a substantive hearing, we’re rescheduling it for some kind of telephone conference and, therefore, it can be recorded by the court. Frankly, the electronic filing system for the court, for the federal courts is still in operation. So, deadlines really haven’t changed.
Yes, if there’s a trial, your trial is going to be held until a later date. If there’s a substantive motion that can only be heard in court that’s going to be held until a later date.
But, apart from that, the Patent and Trademark Office is running. The Patent Trial and Appeal Board and the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board are all running.
We can file intellectual property without a problem. And, for the most part, the administrative courts as well are running without an issue. I’m Anthony Verna, managing partner Verna Law, P.C., were we focus on intellectual property: patents, trademarks, and copyrights. And we’ll talk to you next time. Thank you.