As you will be aware the earlier shutdown of non-essential
government services in the US has ended. Fortunately the shutdown
was relatively short and did not eventuate in any long delay for
patent applicants. You will also be aware that the ending of the
shutdown was in the context of the debt ceiling being temporarily
raised. Accordingly, it is not out of the question that a further
shutdown will eventuate, or that the political partisanship will
intensify so as to make such a possibility more likely and more
While the USPTO's website remains silent on the matter, a
recent report from the Intellectual Property Owners Association (http://www.ipo.org/) states:
USPTO OPERATING RESERVE REPLENISHED BY CONTINUING
RESOLUTION THAT ENDED GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN — During the
quarterly meeting of the USPTO's Trademark Public Advisory
Committee last Friday, Chief Financial Officer TONY SCARDINO said
the legislation passed last week to reopen the partially-closed
federal government at current spending levels until January 15
would replenish funds spent out of prior year reserve fee
collections to keep the agency open during the partial government
So, in short, the present calm, whilst appreciated, may not
last. This again emphasises the prudence in our earlier suggestion
to review your US applications. In light of these more recent
developments we retain our recommendation that you ascertain if any
of your existing US applications should be, for commercial reasons,
advanced in the short-term to reduce the risk of being caught up in
any subsequent official slowdown or shutdown that may eventuate.
You may also consider if it is warranted to bring forward the
filing of a US national phase application based upon a currently
pending PCT application.
Our attorneys are available to assist you consider the relevant
issues and to formulate and implement the best possible strategy
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
Shelston IP has been awarded the MIP Global Award for
Australian IP Firm of the Year 2013.
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