- The United States Patent and Trademark Office has been operating normally
It has been business as usual at the USPTO since the U.S. federal government shutdown on Saturday, December 22, 2018, at midnight. This is because the USPTO had funds set aside in an “Operating Reserve.”
- The USPTO will run out of funds soon
The Operating Reserve funds are projected to run out on Jan. 26, 2019, five weeks from the initial shutdown – but it is possible that the USPTO will shut down before or after that date. Once the Operating Reserve funds are below a certain level, the USPTO will shut down examination activities.
- Some operations will continue
Staff will remain to:
- Receive new applications and other examination, post examination, post-issuance, and PTAB or TTAB filings.
- Receive payments of fees.
- Maintain IT infrastructure.
- Expect Delays
In a statement on April 18, 2018, Andrei Iancu, Director of the USPTO, has made it a goal to reduce backlog and cut down on examination times. This shutdown has the potential to reverse his efforts. Not only will existing applications be left pending, but new applications will only add to the workload for examiners. Inventors, trademark holders, and practitioners should expect delays that will compound as the shutdown lasts.