Tuesday, 18 May 2021 20:40

U.S. PTO Initiates a Pilot Prioritized Review Program for Appeals and a Conference Pilot Program for Oppositions Against Applications Related to COVID-19

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In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the critical need to develop and help speed to market medical products and services to combat COVID-19, the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (“PTO”) initiated the COVID-19 Prioritized Trademark Examination Program in June of 2020. This program allowed applicants to file a Petition to Director (fees waived) under 37 CFR § 2.146(a)(3) seeking to have the Director exercise supervisory authority to advance the initial examination of the application out of its regular order. To be eligible for prioritized initial examination under this procedure, an applicant must seek registration for one or more of the following medical goods or services related to COVID-19:

  • Pharmaceutical products or medical devices such as diagnostic tests, ventilators, and personal protective equipment, including surgical masks, face shields, gowns, and gloves, that prevent, diagnose, treat, or cure COVID-19 and are subject to approval by the United States Food and Drug Administration; and/or
  • Medical services or medical research services for the prevention, diagnosis, treatment of, or cure for COVID-19.

For more information, click HERE.

To further support efforts to combat COVID-19, the U.S. PTO is now initiating a Pilot Prioritized Review Program for Appeals Related to COVID-19. With this program, the Trademark Trial & Appeal Board (“TTAB”) will expedite the review of and the issuance of ex parte appeal decisions for applications examined under the COVID-19 Prioritized Trademark Examination Program. Under this program, the TTAB aims to issue the appeal decision for an application examined under the COVID-19 Prioritized Trademark Examination Program within six (6) months of the filing of the notice of appeal, provided: 1) the applicant does not file a request for reconsideration, 2) no requests for remand are filed and granted, and 3) no extensions of time to file the briefs are requested. In addition, the U.S. PTO is initiating a Conference Pilot Program for Oppositions Against Applications Related to COVID-19. With this program, a TTAB attorney or judge may participate in the parties’ mandatory settlement and discovery planning conference (discovery conference) if the involved application was examined under the COVID-19 Prioritized Trademark Examination Program. These programs are being offered on a temporary basis. For more information, click HERE.

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Emily Mola

Ms. Mola earned her Bachelor’s degree in History, magna cum laude, from the Florida International University, and a Juris Doctor degree and Certificate in Intellectual Property Law from the Florida International University, College of Law. While at FIU Law, she served as the President of the Intellectual Property Student Association. As a result of her dedication to intellectual property law, she earned three CALI Excellence for the Future Awards in focused academic coursework. Ms. Mola is the recipient of the International Trademark Association’s 2020 Ladas Memorial Award for her article, Trademark Law’s Capability to Protect Traditional Cultural Expressions from Unauthorized Borrowing and Theft. Ms. Mola is a 2018 Microsoft/Hispanic National Bar Association’s Intellectual Property Legal Institute scholar.