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USPTO Offers Prioritized Examination for COVID-19-Related Products and Services

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is offering prioritized examination for trademark and service mark applications covering goods and services that offer COVID-19 relief.

Historically, the USPTO examined trademark and service mark applications on a first-come-first-served basis. However, under this new program, if a mark identifies a qualifying COVID-19 medical product or service, applicants can petition to expedite the initial examination of the application. Moreover, as the USPTO views the pandemic as an “extraordinary situation,” it will waive the fees in connection with filing such petitions.

The goal of the program is to incentivize the development of potentially life-saving medical products and services and swiftly bring those products and services to market. If a petition is granted, the USPTO will advance the application ahead of previously filed applications for non-medical goods and services, and immediately assign it to an examining attorney. The USPTO estimates that the program will accelerate the examination process by two months.

To qualify for prioritized examination, a mark must identify either a medical service or medical research service for the prevention, diagnosis, treatment of, or cure for COVID-19, or it must identify a medical product used to prevent, diagnose, treat, or cure COVID-19. Such products must be subject to US Food and Drug Administration approval. Examples of qualifying medical products include pharmaceutical products or medical devices such as diagnostic tests, ventilators, and personal protective equipment, including surgical masks, face shields, gowns, and gloves. Notably, an application may also include goods or services that are related to the qualifying medical product or service.

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