In late January 2015, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) plans to begin sending courtesy email reminders of upcoming post-registration maintenance filing deadlines for §8 and §71 declarations and §9 renewals to registration owners who have (1) “live” registrations on the date of sending; (2) provided a valid email address to the USPTO; and (3) authorized email communication. No reminders will be sent by regular mail, and no follow-up emails will be attempted for undeliverable emails.
As I prepared for my Copyright & Trademark class this morning, I needed to pull the text of one of the sections of the Copyright Act. So I surfed on over to Copyright.gov to access the full text of the Act when I bumped into an odd-looking notice page.
Without really looking at the text, I figured my browser had auto-completed the last URL I’d visited at the site so I typed in copyright.gov myself and hit send. The odd-looking notice page appeared again and there it was … an official notice that due to the government shutdown the Copyright Office is closed:
Despite the Copyright Office closure, the United States Patent & Trademark Office remains open … at least for several weeks! It’s hardly a silver lining but not all agencies are impacted in the same way.
The USPTO notice reads as follows:
During the general government shutdown that began October 1, 2013, the United States Patent and Trademark Office will remain open, using prior year reserve fee collections to operate as usual for approximately four weeks. We continue to assess our fee collections compared to our operating requirements to determine how long we will be able to operate in this capacity during a general government shutdown. We will provide an update as more definitive information becomes available.
Should we exhaust these reserve funds before the general government shutdown comes to an end, USPTO would shut down at that time, although a very small staff would continue to work to accept new applications and maintain IT infrastructure, among other functions. (Should it become necessary for USPTO to shut down, details of the agency’s plan for an orderly shutdown are available on page 78 of the United States Department of Commerce’s shutdown plan, available here.)