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Is Your Trademark Application COVID-19-Related? Your Registration May Be Prioritized.

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Many businesses are being forced to adapt in the current economic climate. COVID-19 has changed things in many ways. For entrepreneurs, creators, and problem-solvers, it has offered a new set of opportunities to serve. As businesses act quickly to adapt and start creating solutions to the problems we face today, regulators are looking for ways to ease the path for these innovators. In June, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) took one such step in announcing its Prioritized Examination Program.

What is the Prioritized Examination Program?

The USPTO’s Prioritized Examination Program is a regulator’s response to the “critical need to develop and help speed to market medical products and services to combat the COVID-19 virus.” Basically, the USPTO has looked at their application and approval process and decided it might take too long for critical medical goods and services to work their way through the system. Instead, this program offers specific trademark applicants the opportunity to prioritize their IP registration.

Who is Eligible for the Prioritized Examination Program?

Although businesses of all kinds are changing their goods and services to meet the unique needs of customers during a pandemic, there are only specific businesses that will be able to take advantage of  the Prioritized Examination Program. According to the Program’s website, applicants seeking registration are only eligible for the following medical goods or services related to COVID-19:

  • Pharmaceutical products or medical devices such as diagnostic tests, ventilators, and personal protective equipment (PPE), 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 (USFDA),
    • Medical services or medical research services for the prevention, diagnosis, treatment of, or cure for COVID-19

Under the first bullet, products or devices that are “subject to approval” by the FDA include those that have submitted Investigational New Drug (IND) applications, Investigational Device Exemptions (IDE), New Drug Applications (NDA), Biologics License Applications (BLA), Premarket Approvals (PMA), or Emergency Use Authorizations (EUA). The website also notes that, although the applications must meet one of the above criteria, they may also include other related goods and services.

How Do You Apply for an Expedited Review Under the Prioritized Examination Program?

If your trademark application meets one of the above requirements, you can request expedited review by filing a petition with the Director of the USPTO. Ordinarily, such petitions require a fee; however, the fee has been waived for such petitions.

In order to access this Program, an applicant should file its trademark protection application as usual. Once submitted, the applicant can use the assigned serial number to submit a TEAS Petition to the Director Form. On Step 3 of the form, there is a place to indicate the reason for your request for prioritized examination. Here, indicate COVID-19 as the reason. In the explanation section, include a statement setting forth why your medical goods or services qualify for prioritized examination.

How Much Faster is Expedited Review?

According to the USPTO’s website, taking advantage of the Prioritized Examination Program could expedite your application by up to two months. However, the speed with which your application is processed will also depend on how quickly you are able to respond to any communications from the USPTO. If you believe that your application may be eligible for this Program, you may want to consult with an experienced trademark attorney, who can help you prepare your application, complete your petition, and quickly respond to any communications from the USPTO.

To learn more, or to get started on your application, click here to sign up for a consultation with The Brand Protected ®. We are always here to support you. Our goal is to see you succeed.

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