On March 31, 2020, pursuant to authority granted under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act”), the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) and the U.S. Copyright Office (“USCO”) each announced that it will, in limited cases, extend statutory filing deadlines in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The USPTO will extend by 30 days the time to file certain documents and remit certain fees that would have been due between March 27, 2020 and April 30, 2020, if the delay in filing or payment was due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The USCO will allow additional time to make certain filings related to applications to register copyrights and requests by authors to terminate rights previously granted to third parties. As with the USPTO, a filer must demonstrate that the delay was due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Our prior Alert advised that during their closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the USPTO and USCO would continue to maintain their electronic filing systems and adopt certain revised procedures which enable lenders and other dealmakers to file documents to timely record their intellectual property rights. The available extensions announced by the USPTO and the USCO on March 31, 2020 generally do not impact the kinds of filings typically made by lenders and deal makers, namely, security interest grants and releases and ownership transfer filings. The extensions could, nonetheless, benefit lenders and other deal makers less directly. For example, borrowers may be able to meet the extended statutory filing deadlines to establish their intellectual property rights — assets that they have pledged as collateral to their lenders — and portfolio companies may be able to do the same. In any case, the relief granted is limited and processing delays continue to be the primary impact we anticipate for lending and other deal-related filings.
If you have any questions concerning this Alert, please contact your attorney at Schulte Roth & Zabel or one of the authors.
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