Thought Leadership

Global Overview of IP Entity Responses to COVID-19 Crisis

Client Updates

IP entities throughout the world have responded to the COVID-19 pandemic by closing physical locations, suspending in-person meetings, and in some cases extending deadlines.  The following report outlines COVID-19 related measures taken by certain courts, IP offices, and other government agencies in the United States and around the world that regularly impact our clients.  We also provide information on signature requirements in various jurisdictions and IP offices, including whether and how electronic signatures may be used, available here.  We will continue to update this report as the situation develops.

Latest Updates Related to COVID-19:

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has announced a COVID-19 deferred-fee provisional patent application pilot program.  Director Iancu has released a blog post outlining the Office’s transition to all virtual hearings. 

The Supreme Court will hear all oral arguments scheduled for the October session by telephone conference.

In the Central District of California, Southern Division, certain in-person hearings can now proceed, and the Santa Ana Courthouse is open for official court business.

The Southern District of California has extended its judicial emergency, including a continuation of all jury trials until October 14. 

The District of Delaware transitioned to Phase 2 of the District’s Re-Opening Plan on September 15.

In the Southern District of Texas, Corpus Christi Division, all jury trials through October 31 are continued and the U.S. Courthouse is closed to the public until further notice.  Jury trials in the Houston and Galveston Divisions may resume on October 13.  

The European Patent Office (EPO) will begin to use Zoom for certain oral proceedings in oppositions.  Further, the Office will now require all visitors from high risk areas to confirm they have had a recent negative COVID-19 test.

The Australian IP Office (IP Australia) has extended certain relief measures through October 31.  Customers affected by the Stage 4 restrictions in Victoria are encouraged to contact the Office. 

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) will hold the third annual Conference on the Global Digital Content Market remotely because of COVID-19 from September 16-18. 

The Taiwan Intellectual Property Office (TIPO) will hold the 2020 Taiwan Innotech Expo—the first major international exhibition to be held in-person since the COVID-19 outbreak began—from September 24-26 at the Taipei World Trade Center. 

The European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) annual high-level meetings that occur in the margins of the WIPO General Assemblies in Geneva will take place virtually during September and October because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The German IP Office (DPMA) has extended its hygiene measures in light of rising positive COVID-19 cases throughout the country. 

United States

Patent, Trademark, & Copyright Prosecution

USPTO

Updates available here

Practice Group Heads: Hogene Choi and Samir Bhavsar

Present Status

Offices

Closed to public until further notice.

Deadlines

After May 31, relief will be available to large entities on a case by case basis.  Deadlines between March 27 and July 30 for restoring priority of certain applications are extended.

Misc.

The Office has announced a COVID-19 deferred-fee provisional patent application pilot program, beginning on September 17.

Initial examination of applications for trademarks related to COVID-19 products or services may be advanced in certain circumstances.

Handwritten signatures no longer required; Patents 4 Partnership programs has been launched, with a focus on COVID-19 related technologies; applications for patent term extensions may be submitted via EFS.

September 18, 2020 – USPTO Director Andrei Iancu has released a blog post outline the Office’s seamless transition to all-virtual hearings in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

September 16, 2020 – The USPTO has announced a deferred-fee provisional application pilot program for inventions that combat COVID-19.  Qualifying subject matter must concern a product or process related to COVID-19 and require FDA approval for COVID-19 use (regardless of whether such approval has been granted).  The Official Notice will be published here on September 17.

August 21, 2020 – The 21st annual Invention-Co hosted by the USPTO will take place virtually in light of COVID-19.

July 23, 2020 – Director Iancu addressed the National Association of Manufacturers on combating counterfeit products during a pandemic and highlighted the USPTO COVID-19 Response Resource Center, which includes, among other things, resources to help the public identify and report instances of fraud and counterfeiting relating to COVID-19, available here.  

June 30, 2020 – The USPTO has launched a website to answer applicants’ questions regarding the Office’s prioritized trademark examination of certain COVID-19 related products and services.  The website is available here.

June 29, 2020 – The USPTO has extended the time to pay certain patent-related fees for small and micro entities from July 1 to September 30.  These fees include basic filing fees, issue fees, and maintenance fees.  In addition to this extension, other extensions of time and other relief remain available on a case-by-case basis.  The USPTO has also waived the fee for filing a petition for revival of an abandoned application, so long as the petition is accompanied by a statement explaining how the delay in filing or payment was due to the COVID-19 outbreak.  More information is available here

June 15, 2020 –
The USPTO will accept petitions to advance the initial examination of applications for marks used to identify qualifying COVID-19 medical products and services.  The fee for such petitions is also waived.  The full notice is available here.

June 12, 2020 – The USPTO has provided addition relief and extended the time period for filing petitions for certain rights of priority or benefit and waived the associated petition fees:

  • For Non-Provisional applications seeking the benefit of a provision application for which the twelve month period for filing ends between March 27 and July 30, when the petition is accompanied by a statement that the failure to timely file was due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the USPTO will:
    • Permit the two-month time period under 35 U.S.C. § 119(c) to run until the later of (1) July 31 or (2) the expiration of the two month period set forth in 35 U.S.C. § 119(c); and
    • Waive the petition fee.
  • For International Applications, the USPTO will waive petition fees under 37 C.F.R. § 1.17(m) for a petition under 37 C.F.R. § 1.452 (to restore the right of priority) where the time period for filing ended between March 27 and July 30, provided that the application (1) is filed within the two-month period set forth in 37 C.F.R. § 1.452 and (2) is accompanied by a statement that failure to file was due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

June 3, 2020 – The USPTO launched the COVID-19 Response Resource Center to provide stakeholders and other interested parties with improved access to USPTO initiatives, programs, and other helpful intellectual property related information regarding the COVID-19 outbreak. 

June 1, 2020 – The USPTO and JPO published a joint message describing how their close cooperative relationship is vital to combating COVID-19 by supporting inventors around the world.  More information on the message is available here.  

May 29, 2020 – The USPTO will allow filing of patent term extension applications via EFS until further notice.  The application must include: an appropriate document description; an email address; and the applicable fee.   

May 27, 2020 – The USPTO has further extended the time to file certain patent and trademark related documents and fees for small and micro entities due between March 27 and June 30 to July 1. Similar relief will be available to large entities on a case by case basis, and requests may be submitted through a petition for an extension of time or a petition to revive. Further, the Office has extended its waiver of petition fees for filing a petition for revival of an application that became abandoned on or before June 20, if accompanied by a statement that the delay in filing or payment was due to the COVID-19 outbreak.  

May 18, 2020 – The USPTO has provided a website offering further information regarding the COVID-19 Prioritized Examination Pilot Program, available here

May 8, 2020 – The USPTO has announced a new COVID-19 Prioritized Examination Pilot Program for applications with claims covering a product or process that is subject to FDA approval for use in the prevention and/or treatment of COVID-19.  Under the Program, the USPTO will grant requests for prioritized examination to patent applicants that qualify for small or micro entity status without payment of the typical fees associated with other prioritized examination.  In addition, the USPTO will endeavor to reach final disposition of applications in this program within six months if applicants respond promptly to communications from the USPTO.

May 6, 2020 – The USPTO will allow the filing of plant patent applications and correspondence electronically until further notice.  

May 5, 2020 – The USPTO has released a form for applicants or patent owners to use when making the statement of delay due to the COVID-19 outbreak, available here. The statement is available to excuse certain deadlines, but not deadlines applicable to converting provisional applications.

May 4, 2020 – The USPTO has launched its Patents 4 Partnerships platform, https://developer.uspto.gov/ipmarketplace/search/patents, to provide a repository of patents and published applications related to the COVID-19 pandemic.  

April 30, 2020 – The USPTO and the EPO have released a joint statement promising to support innovation during the COVID-19 crisis, available here, https://www.uspto.gov/sites/default/files/documents/20200430_EPO-USPTO_JointStatement.pdf.  

April 29, 2020 – The USPTO has further extended the time to file certain patent and trademark-related documents and to pay certain required fees, which otherwise would have been due between March 27 and May 31, to June 1.

April 20, 2020 – Patent Center Beta is now available.  This tool allows for electronic filing and management of patent applications in a single unified interface. Patent Center allows for submission of the specification, claims, and abstract as a single DOCX document without the need to manually separate sections. 

April 6, 2020 – The USPTO released a series of FAQs and accompanying answers relating to deadline extensions for patent and trademark applications.  See https://www.uspto.gov/patent/laws-and-regulations/cares-act-faqs for patent related deadlines and https://www.uspto.gov/trademark/laws-regulations/cares-act-faqs for trademark related deadlines. 

March 31, 2020 – For patents, due dates between March 27 and April 30 will be extended 30 days from the initial date it was due, provided that the filing is accompanied by a statement that the delay was due to the COVID-19 outbreak, for the following items: reply to a pre-examination office action by a small or micro-entity; reply to an Office notice or action; issue fee; notice of appeal; appeal brief; reply brief; appeal forwarding fee, request for an oral hearing before the PTAB; amendment reopening prosecution in response to PTAB decision; maintenance fees for small or micro entities; request for rehearing of a PTAB decision.  The 12 month date to convert provisional applications, and the 30 month date to enter national stage, have not been altered. For trademarks the same extensions are available for: response to an Office Action; statement of use; notice of opposition; priority filing basis; affidavits of use or excusable nonuse; renewal application.

March 19, 2020 – Requirements for original handwritten signatures have been waived.

March 16, 2020 – The USPTO has notified applicants that it will be waiving all fees for petitions to revive patent and trademark applications where abandonment occurred due to circumstances associated with COVID-19. However, all statutory deadlines remain in place. For patents these include: deadlines for priority under 35 U.S.C. §§ 119, 120; co-pendency requirements; payments of issue fees; and reply statements by a requester in an ex parte reexamination. For trademarks these deadlines include: the 36-month deadline for filing a statement of use under 15 U.S.C. §1051; filing affidavits of continued use or excusable non-use; filing a renewal; filing an opposition or cancellation proceeding.

March 15, 2020 – The USPTO closed all offices to the public until further notice. Offices remain open for employees, contractors, and those with access badges.

PTAB

Updates available here

Practice Group Heads: Brian Oaks and Chad Walters

Present Status

Offices

Closed to public until further notice; all hearings/hearings will be conducted remotely.

Deadlines

 

Misc.

A number of operational FAQs have been released on the Board’s website.

A new Fast-Track Appeals Pilot Program has been launched. 

July 2, 2020 – The PTAB has announced a new Fast-Track Appeals Pilot Program for certain ex parte appeals.  More information available here.

June 9, 2020 –
The PTAB updated a number of operational FAQs, available here.  

May 29, 2020 – The PTAB has released a number of operational FAQs, available here

May 4, 2020 – The USPTO answered 19 FAQs in response to the extension of deadlines under the Cares Act (available here).  

April 28, 2020 – The USPTO has extended certain PTAB deadlines in accordance with the CARES Act.  Any filing with a deadline falling between March 27 and May 31 will be considered timely if filed on or before June 1.

April 6, 2020 – The USPTO released a series of FAQs and accompanying answers, including some related to PTAB practice, available at https://www.uspto.gov/patent/laws-and-regulations/cares-act-faqs

March 31, 2020 – Upon request to the USPTO affirming that a filing due between March 27 and April 30 was or may be delayed because of the COVID-19 outbreak, the PTAB shall provide a 30 day extension of time for: a requested for rehearing of a PTAB decision; a petition to the Chief Judge; or a patent owner preliminary response.  No additional relief is available before the TTAB, but requests for extensions or reopening of time may be made.  

March 13, 2020 – Until further notice, all PTAB and TTAB in-person meetings, including oral hearings, will be conducted remotely by video or telephone. Parties will receive instructions on a case-by-case basis.

U.S. Copyright Office

Updates Available here

Practice Group Head: Paul Reilly

Present Status

Offices

Closed to public until further notice.

Deadlines

The Office’s emergency measures, including the extension of statutory deadlines, are extended until November 9. 

Unchanged for electronic submissions; for submissions requiring physical deposits, the three month deadline under section 412 will be tolled between March 13 and the date the disruption ends.

For registration applications filed before April 2, the Office will contact applicants and give them the option of providing an electronic copy to allow the Office to examine it remotely.

For registration applications filed on or after April 2, the applicant will have the option of providing an electronic copy in lieu of the required physical copies provided it is accompanied by a declaration (available on the Office’s website) that the electronic and physical copies are identical.

Certain deadlines of Notices of Intention, Statements of Account, and royalty payments have been tolled until the end of the disruption period.

Misc.

All filings should be electronic; where physical filing is required, must be accompanied by electronic filing; requests for expedited processing may now be submitted by email.

Starting June 29, to qualify for group registration of newsletters, the newsletter is only required to be published bi-monthly.

The initial determination in Web V webcaster rate setting proceedings is extended by up to 120 days.

September 2, 2020 – The Office is further extending emergency measures, including the extension of statutory  deadlines, through November 9 for persons affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

July 10, 2020 – The Office is further extending the temporary adjustments to certain timing provisions for persons affected by the COVID-19 emergency through September 8.  These adjustments relate to three aspects of copyright law, including:

  • tolling the time period under section 412 within which a copyright owner must register his or her work following its first publication in order to be eligible for certain statutory remedies in an infringement action;
  • tolling certain timing requirements for the service or recording of notices of termination, whereby authors may seek to recapture copyright interests that were transferred to others; and
  • tolling certain timing requirements for the service of Notices of Intention (NOIs) and delivery of Statements of Account (SOAs) relating to the use of compulsory licenses for the making and distribution of phonorecords under section 115. 

More information is available here.

July 6, 2020 – The Office announced that it is extending the deadline for the Board’s initial determination in the Web V webcaster rate setting proceedings by up to 120 days, thus extending the deadline for the issuance of an initial determination from December 16, 2020, to April 15, 2021.  The Board requested the initial determination deadline be extended in light of a delay in the hearing date resulting from the closure of the Library of Congress.   

June 18, 2020 – The Office has updated the timing requirements for serving Section 115 Notices of Intention and Statements of Account.  These adjustments do not affect substantive payment obligations, but only reflect specific timing adjustments. The following adjustments apply:

  • Notice of Intention: The requirement for serving a NOI will be tolled during the period of disruption if the affected 1) entity has sent a clear alert to the copyright owner that the NOI cannot be served by paper and provides an option for allowing electronic delivery, 2) the notice is served within 30 days of the end of the disruption, and 3) complies with the general conditions set out below.
  • Statements of Account and Royalty Payments: The requirement for monthly or annual SOA to be served will be tolled during the period of disruption if the affected entity 1) has sent a clear alert to the copyright owner that the SOA cannot be served by paper and provides an option for allowing electronic delivery , 2) serves the SOA within 30 days of the end of the disruption, 3) complies with the general conditions outline below, and 4) continues to make timely payments unless they show an inability to make the required payments.

The general conditions with which affected entities must comply are as follows:

  • A certification that the failure to serve the NOI, SOA, or royalty payment was caused by the national emergency.
  • The adjustment is only available to NOIs and SOAs that were previously sent in paper format before the national emergency.
  • Entities using this adjustment must make contact information available, including an option to opt out of temporary electronic delivery.
  • Entities using this adjustment must provide a means for copyright owners to opt in (temporarily) to electronically delivery and, separately, to direct deposit of payments.
  • Entities using this adjustment must maintain a record of licensees by copyright owners for which these adjustments are used.
  • Digital Music Providers must continue to deliver royalty payments to their chosen administrator.
  • Meet the due diligence requirements of Section 115(d).

May 28, 2020 – The Office issued a final rule on group registration of newsletters, effective June 29, that changes the publication frequency requirement from bi-weekly to bi-monthly. 

May 27, 2020 – The Office now permits members of the public to submit requests for expedited processing (“special handling”) of document recordation submissions by email.  

May 8, 2020 – The Office has published an interim rule that amends its regulations regarding eligibility for the Office’s special registration procedure for “secure tests.”  Due to the COVID-19 emergency, certain tests normally administered at specified centers (as required by the prior regulations) are temporarily being administered remotely.  Under the interim rule, these tests will remain eligible for registration as secure tests, provided the administrator employs sufficient security measures.

May 1, 2020 – The Office is extending deadlines until July 10

April 27, 2020 – The Office has launched a limited pilot program for electronic recordation that will eventually replace the current paper-based process. 

April 9, 2020 – The Office is extending the deadline until June 15 for public comment on those issues concerning the application of the statutory definition of publication to an online context identified in the Office’s December 4, 2019 inquiry.

April  7, 2020 – The Office has suspended requirements for physical submission of certain materials.  As a result, electronic submission is permitted for certain materials and services, including: filing notices of termination for recordation; requests for reconsideration of refusals to registers; and requests for removal of personally identifiable information from the public record. Further information and services affected can be found on the Copyright Office’s website, https://www.copyright.gov/rulemaking/coronavirus-electronic-submissions/?loclr=eanco.  

April 6, 2020 – The CARES Act includes a provision which allows the Register of Copyrights to “toll, waive, adjust or modify” filing deadlines in light of the pandemic, including extending registration deadlines.  The Copyright Office has issued a notice on emergency relief for Section 115 Paper Processes during the pandemic, temporarily adjusting certain timing provisions for Notices of Inquiry, Statements of Account, and potentially royalty payments as they relate to processing physical specimens.  More detail is available on the Copyright Office’s website https://www.copyright.gov/coronavirus/.

March 31, 2020 – No timing provisions are changed for submissions that are entirely electronic. For electronic submissions which require a physical deposit, applicant should include a statement that the applicant is unable to submit the physical deposit due to the COVID-19 outbreak, providing supporting evidence, in which case the three-month window for submission under section 412 will be tolled between March 13 and the date that the disruption ends. Sufficient evidence includes but is not limited to evidence that they are 1) subject to a stay-at-home order or 2) unable to access physical materials due to closure of the business where they are located. If applicant is unable to submit an application electronically or physically, they may provide a written statement describing this inability once the disruption is complete, and the three-month window under section 412 will be tolled between March 13 and the date that the disruption ends, with satisfactory evidence including 1) a statement that the applicant did not have access to a computer and/or the internet and 2) a statement that the applicant was prevented from accessing or sending required physical materials.  

March 26, 2020 – All Library of Congress buildings are closed to the public until further notice. 

March 20, 2020 – The Office will now send refusal letters via email instead of sending a physical copy through the mail.  The letter will be sent as a PDF attachment to the email address provided in the registration application.  Also included will be instructions as to how to respond to the Office in order to request reconsideration of the registration decision.  The Office will follow similar procedures for responding to requests for reconsideration.

March 18, 2020 – The Office has implemented a special handling procedure for registration of copyrighted works. In effect until the Library of Congress is reopened to the public, physical deposits and paper applications cannot be examined at this time. As such, all applicants should submit electronic applications and digital deposits through the electronic registration (“eCO”) system. Where a physical deposit is required, applicants must still submit these, however, they should additionally submit an electronic deposit and a declaration that the two are identical.

Patent Litigation

Practice Group Heads: Douglas Kubehl and Roger Fulghum

U.S. Courts have updated the Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) website.  The new website is available at https://pacer.uscourts.gov

The Federal Courts have released the Federal Judiciary COVID-19 Recovery Guidelines, designed to help individual courts facilitate reopening in light of the COVID-19 crisis.  The guidelines outline a Four-Phase Opening plan which District Courts can adapt and use to fit their specific situations.  Before proceeding to each phase, the court should first meet three criteria:

  • No COVID-19 confirmed or suspected cases in the court facility within a 14-day period or a deep clean of exposed areas has occurred; and
  • A sustained downward trend of cumulative COVID-19 cases in the surrounding community over a 14-day period; and
  • Rescission of local restrictive movement and/or shelter-in-place orders.

In Phase One, vulnerable employees will continue to work from home, and employees who enter the courthouse or offices will maintain proper social distancing and proper precautionary measures should be observed, such as wearing masks.  On-site proceedings should still be limited, with only critical cases taking place on the premises.  Facilities that have been closed to the public should remain so, unless local health officials have reopened similar public facilities and “enhanced screening” should be employed to ensure that employee risk of exposure is minimized.  Large venues and common areas should be closed if possible, or at least be permitted minimal occupancy.

In Phase Two, vulnerable employees should continue to work from home.  Employees who must enter the courthouse or offices should continue to practice social distancing.  Where social distancing is not possible, proper precautionary measures should be used.  Preparations should be made for increased filing and other court proceedings (e.g. Grand Jury proceedings) which may begin again during this phase, though an emphasis should be placed on accepting filings remotely wherever possible.  Limited public access can be implemented, so long as enhanced screening is used to minimize the risk of further infection and spread.

In Phase Three, vulnerable individuals may return to work, but should practice social distancing and take appropriate precautionary measures when social distancing is not possible.  On-site proceedings and activities can be fully resumed, though large venues and common areas should operate under social distancing protocols where possible.  At this point, facilities may consider terminating the use of enhance screening for entrance.

Finally, in Phase Four, vulnerable individuals may resume work activities with no need for additional precautionary measures.  All activities, proceedings, and meeting may resume without restrictions, including access by the public. 

As individual courts implement these guidelines, we will continue to update this report appropriately.

Supreme Court

Updates available here

Present Status

Courtrooms

Closed to public until further notice.  All oral arguments for the October session will be held by telephone conference.

The Court is in recess until October 5.

Deadlines

Deadline of any petition for writ of certiorari is extended to 150 days from the date of the lower court judgment, order denying discretionary review, or order denying a timely petition for rehearing.

Misc.

 

September 16, 2020 – The Supreme Court will hear all oral arguments scheduled for the October session by telephone conference.  A live audio feed will be provided to the media pool and a transcript of oral arguments posted on the Court’s website the day after oral arguments. 

July 10, 2020 – The Supreme Court will release summer order lists on August 3, August 24, and September 11.  Summer order lists usually consist of actions taken by the Court on motions in pending cases, petitions for rehearing, and other miscellaneous matters.  

July 9, 2020 – With the release of opinions on the morning of July 9, the Supreme Court will be in recess until the first Monday of October 2020 (October 5).

July 8, 2020 – The Supreme Court will announce all remaining opinions ready during this Term of Court on July 9, beginning at 10 a.m.

April 28, 2020 – The Supreme Court has released guidance for the oral arguments to be held on May 4, 5, 6, 11, 12 and 13 via telephone conference. The guidance is available on the Court’s website, https://www.supremecourt.gov/publicinfo/press/pressreleases/pr_04-28-20

April 13, 2020 – The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments by teleconference for several cases that were previously postponed due to the outbreak, including U.S. Patent and Trademark Office v. Booking.com B.V., No. 19-46.  The Justices and counsel will all participate remotely; the Court anticipates providing live audio to the public.

April 3, 2020 – All oral arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court scheduled for the April session have been postponed. The Court is considering a range of options to permit it to reschedule arguments before the end of the term. 

March 19, 2020 – The deadline to file all petitions for writ of certiorari have been extended to 150 days from the day of the lower court judgement, order denying discretionary review, or order denying a timely petition for rehearing.

March 16, 2020 – All oral arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court scheduled for the March session have been postponed indefinitely. The building will be closed to the public, although open for official business, and no filing deadlines have been extended.

Federal Circuit

Updates available here

Practice Group Head: Michael Hawes

Present Status

Courtrooms

Public access may be granted on a case-by-case basis through October 19; in-person oral arguments are suspended until further notice; all hearing will be conducted telephonically.  The public will have access to live audio for each panel scheduled for argument in April, May, and June available here.

Deadlines

 

Misc.

The Federal Circuit Judicial Conference is canceled; effective March 23, the Clerk’s Office is providing limited telephone support, if parties have a pending case please email: casequestions@cafc.uscourts.gov.

September 11, 2020 – The Federal Circuit extended the order restricting public access to the National Courts Building through October 19.  Members of the public wishing to access the National Courts Building must submit requests no later than 24 hours in advance to the Circuit Executive and the Clerk of Court.  Decisions will be made on a case-by-case basis by the Chief Judge.  The full order is available here.   

August 13, 2020 – Public access to the National Courts Building complex remains restricted until September 14.  To gain access, members of the public must submit requests 24 hours in advance to the Circuit Executive and the Clerk of Court for the appropriate court.  The decision for admission will be made by the Chief Judge of the appropriate court, or her designee.  More information is available here.   

July 1, 2020 – Amendments to the Federal Circuit Rules have gone into effect and apply to all cases filed or pending on or after July 1. The final version of the amended rules is available here.

June 26, 2020 – The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit and the U.S. Court of Federal Claims will allow public access to the courthouses on a case-by-case basis beginning June 29 and will continue until August 14.  Requests for access must be submitted no later than 24 hours in advance and should be submitted to the Circuit Executive and the Clerk of Court for the appropriate court.  The decision for admission will be made by the Chief Judge of the appropriate court, or her designee.   

June 16, 2020 – The Federal Circuit has released final amendments to the Federal Circuit Rules of Practice, available here.  

June 8, 2020 – Due to ongoing activity surrounding the National Courts Building, all paper filings through June 10 are extended to June 11.  Electronic filing deadlines remain in effect.  Oral arguments on June 8 will proceed as scheduled.  

June 5, 2020  – The National Courts Building is closed to staff and the public on Friday, June 5, 2020.  The Clerk's Office will be temporarily inaccessible for submitting paper filings, mail and courier deliveries, and night box submissions.  Arguments scheduled for June 5 are canceled and will be rescheduled.  Electronic filing remains available and paper submissions due on June 5 will be deemed as timely filed if received the next day the court is open to the public.  

June 2, 2020 – As of 1:30 pm (EST) on June 2, the Clerk’s Office will be temporarily inaccessible for submitting paper filings, mail, and courier deliveries, and night box submissions.  Electronic case filing remains available through CM/ESF and electronic filing deadlines remain in effect.  Paper filings and submissions due on June 1 or June 2, 2020, will be deemed as timely filed if received by the next day the court is open to the public.

June 1, 2020 – As of 1:00 p.m. (EST) on June 1, the Clerk’s office will be temporarily inaccessible for submitting paper filings.  Electronic case filing remains accessible, and paper filings and submissions due on June 1 will be deemed as timely filed if received by the next day the court is open to the public.

May 18, 2020 – In-person arguments have been suspended until further notice.  Parties will be notified individually regarding oral arguments going forward.  The full administrative order on conducting oral arguments is available here

May 11, 2020 – The Court will hold all arguments telephonically during the June session.  The public will continue to have access to the live audio of these arguments via the link on the Court’s website (available here). 

April 24, 2020 – The Court has published proposed amendments to the Federal Circuit Rules of Practice, http://www.cafc.uscourts.gov/sites/default/files/rules-of-practice/notices/InitialPublicNoticeAmendments-04242020.pdf

April 21, 2020 –
The Court will hold all oral arguments telephonically during the May session. 

April  6, 2020 – The Court has provided links for accessing live and recorded audio of each argument on its website, http://www.cafc.uscourts.gov/public-access-arguments 

April 1, 2020 – The Court will provide public and media access to the live audio of each panel scheduled for argument during April.  Access information will be posted to the Court’s website at 9am EDT on the day of argument, with conference lines open at 9:15am EDT.  Recordings of the arguments will be posted to the Court’s website at the conclusion of arguments each day. 

March 27, 2020 – The Clerk’s Office provided guidance regarding service of documents outside of the court’s electronic filing system. Under Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 25(c)(2), parties may electronically serve each other by any electronic means upon consent. If a party does not consent to an alternate method of service, the Clerk’s Office recommends 1) designating a person to print and mail necessary documents or 2) filing a motion to delay service of process. 

March 23, 2020 – Beginning March 23, the Clerk’s Office will be providing limited support by telephone as a result of increased call volume. Parties with a pending case should email: casequestions@cafc.uscourts.gov; parties who do not have a pending case or who have general questions should email publicinformation@cafc.uscourts.gov.  

March 20, 2020 – Parties are specifically directed not to file paper copies of any filing until further notice (although the Clerk’s Office may require paper filings in individual cases as needed or require paper copies to be filed at a later date).  Filings that can only be submitted in physical form will continue to be received at the Court’s night mailbox.  The Clerk’s Office will continue issuing Notices to Advise of Scheduling Conflicts and require a response from counsel; travel restrictions due to COVID-19 are NOT a sufficient basis for a scheduling conflict due to the availability of telephonic conferences for oral argument.

The May 15 Federal Circuit Judicial Conference and related events are canceled, with the hope of rescheduling for a later date.

March 18, 2020 – All cases scheduled for argument in April will be conducted by telephonic conference and no in-person hearings will occur. Parties who had in-person arguments scheduled should look for an updated notice in their file. 

March 16, 2020 – Public access has been restricted to the National Courts Building complex, so only those with authorized access may enter.

March 12, 2020 – The Federal Circuit will be proceeding with arguments scheduled for April, with certain adjustments. Certain cases are being removed from the argument schedule, to be decided only on the submitted briefs. For cases remaining on the argument schedule, where the lawyers for both parties are local, then arguments will proceed in-person as scheduled. However, if counsel for either party is located outside the National Capital area, arguments will be conducted by telephonic conference at their scheduled date and time.

ITC

Updates available here

Practice Group Head: Lisa Kattan

Present Status

Courtrooms

Closed to public until further notice or until Phase Three; all employees teleworking until further notice.

Deadlines

All Section 337 hearingsare postponed until further notice or until the agency enters Phase Three.  Discovery is to continue, and staff participation will be decided on a case-by-case basis.

Title VII filings have resumed their noon petition filing deadline.

Misc.

Only electronic filings will be accepted.

July 20, 2020 – The USITC will use WebEx Meeting to conduct Section 337 hearings and investigative conferences involving confidential business information.  More information about such hearings can be found here

June 26, 2020  Title VII filings have resumed their noon petition filing deadline.  Accordingly, all petitions filed after 12:00 noon shall be deemed as filed on the next business day.  

June 22, 2020 – The USITC extended its COVID-19 Action Plan and entered Phase One of its Three-Phase Plan to reopen.  Commission employees will continue teleworking and visitors are not allowed entry to the building until Phase Three.  All in-person hearings are postponed until further notice or until the agency enters Phase Three.   

May 14, 2020 – The USITC has extended all COVID-related measures until July 10

April 17, 2020 – The USITC is now closed to the public until further notice.

April 15, 2020 – The USITC has extended all COVID-related measures until June 10

March 31, 2020 – The USITC is now closed to the public entirely until at least April 24. 

March 20, 2020 – All Title VII (antidumping and countervailing duty) preliminary phase staff conferences for the next 60 days are canceled.  The Commission will not hold in-person hearings on final phase Title VII investigations, five-year (sunset) reviews, and those held under Section 332 and Section 131.  Interested parties will be invited to submit certified written responses.

March 17, 2020 – The ITC is implementing a number of policies in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, all of which will remain in effect until at least May 12, 2020. First, the Secretary’s Office will only accept electronic filings and all employees will be teleworking full time until further notice. Second, visitor access will be limited only to visitors with a statutory matter. Finally, all Section 337 hearings within 60 days will be postponed, with more specific guidance given on a case-by-case basis.

District of Delaware

Updates available here

Present Status

Courtrooms

All jury trials set to begin before September 15 are continued; the courthouse has reopened.

Deadlines

Unchanged.

Misc.

The Court has created an Electronic Civil Summons form; all visitors and staff are required to wear a mask or other face covering in court facilities; individual judges may alter deadlines at their discretion, but are encouraged to hold all hearings by telephone or video conference.

Phase Two operations commenced on September 15.

September 15, 2020 – The Court transitioned to Phase 2 of the District’s Re-Opening Plan on September 15.  The transition has no direct impact on any particular proceeding but allows the presiding judge to make case-specific decisions.  

September 1, 2020 – All jury trials scheduled to begin before September 15 are continued.

July 17, 2020 – All jury trials scheduled to begin before August 31 have been continued until further notice. 

July 16, 2020 – The Court issued an order requiring all visitors to wear a mask or face covering in all common areas and when interacting with Court staff.  Presiding judges will determine if and when masks can be removed in the courtroom. The full order is available here

June 22, 2020 – All jury trials scheduled to begin on or before July 31, have been continued until further notice.   

June 15, 2020 – The Court released re-opening guidelines for all courthouses that includes a four phase approach and announced that Phase One operations will begin on June 17.  The re-opening guidelines are available here.   

May 27, 2020 – All jury trials schedule to begin before June 30 are continued, pending further order of the Court.  Individual judges may adjust other deadlines accordingly. 

April 29, 2020 – The Court will allow any document to be signed electronically where the presiding judge determines it would be impractical to require a physical signature.

April 28, 2020 – All visitors are required to wear a mask or other face covering when in public areas of the courthouse or interacting with Court staff.  

April 17, 2020 – All jury trials set to begin before May 31 are continued pending further order of the Court. 

March 23, 2020 – The District Court has created an Electronic Civil Summons form for use without requiring the Clerk to print, sign, seal, and handle the originals. The Summons can be attached to the complaint and the Clerk will return the summons to counsel as an attachment to be printed and used for service.  Alternatively, the form may be used pursuant to FRCP Rule 4 without sending copies to the Clerk’s Office for approval. Counsel is still required to scan a “Summons Return Executed” docket item once service has been completed. 

March 21, 2020 – The J. Caleb Boggs U.S. Courthouse will reopen at 8:00am on March 23. All other orders remain in effect. 

March 19, 2020 – The J. Caleb Boggs U.S. Courthouse has been closed until further notice. Electronic filings have not been affected and parties should continue such submissions as usual.

March 18, 2020 – The District Court ordered that all civil and criminal jury selections and jury trials scheduled to begin before April 30, 2020, are continued pending a further order from the Court. All deadlines set by Federal or Local Rules or orders remain in effect unless modified by the Court or assigned judge. The Court previously restricted visitor access to prevent anyone who is experiencing possible COVID-19 symptoms from entering, even if they have a schedule appointment. Where someone (in particular counsel) is prevented from entering due to these restrictions, they should contact the judge’s chambers directly.

Southern District of Florida

Updates available here

Present Status

Courtrooms

All jury trials on or after March 30 are continued until January 21, 2021;  all persons entering the Courthouse may be subject to screening, and once inside the courthouse, must wear a face mask and maintain social distancing.

Deadlines

Judges in civil cases may extend or alter other deadlines at their discretion.

Misc.

Judges are strongly encouraged, where a hearing is required, to hold such proceedings over telephone or video conference.

August 11, 2020 – The screening procedures and mask requirement set in the June 29 order are continued.  Further, all jury trials set to begin on or after March 30 are continued until January 4, 2021.

August 10, 2020 – The Court has released a “COVID-19 Concerns and Issues” page which allows members of the public to submit to the court potential exposure to COVID-19 for the purpose of contact tracing and notice to other parties, available here.

June 29, 2020 – All persons entering any federal courthouse may be subject to screening and must following social distancing guidelines and wear a face mask.  All jury trials on or after March 30 are continued until October 13.  Individual judges may continue to hold hearings, conferences, and bench trials but are strongly encouraged to do so via telephone or video conferencing. 

May 31, 2020 –
All jury trials scheduled to being on or after March 30, are continued until August 31.  Visitor access remains restricted, and those who enter the courthouse must wear a face mask and maintain social distancing while within the courthouse.   

April 3, 2020 – All jury trials scheduled to begin on or after March 30 are continued until July 6.  Judges may continue other civil deadlines at their discretion.

March 20, 2020 – Presiding judges may continue to hold hearings, conferences, and bench trials at their discretion, but are strongly encouraged to conduct proceedings by telephone or video conference.

March 18, 2020 – Courthouse workers will, wherever possible, be placed on telework status effective immediately. Only necessary staff will be present at the courthouse.

March 13, 2020 – Courthouses in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, Fort Pierce, and Key West will remain open.  All jury trials scheduled to begin between March 16 through March 30 are continued. Individual judges are given discretion to alter trial-specific deadlines in civil matters.

March 12, 2020 – Any person who is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or who has visited a quarantined area, Italy, Iran, South Korea, Japan, or China within the previous 14 days is restricted from entering the courthouse.  

Eastern District of Texas

Updates available here

Present Status

Courtrooms

Jack Brooks Courthouse in Beaumont closed through August 28 and Ward R. Burke Courthouse in Lufkin closed through August 27;  The other courthouses are open to visitors.

Deadlines

Unchanged.

Misc.

Judges have discretion over handling of in-person meetings; notarized handwritten signature requirement for admission suspended until November 24.

August 26, 2020 – The Court has further suspended the requirement of handwritten signatures on requests for admission for 90 days (now ending on November 24). 

August 25, 2020 – The Jack Brooks Courthouse in Beaumont will be closed through August 28, and the Ward R. Burke Courthouse in Lufkin will be closed through August 27.

August 24, 2020 – CM/ECF and PACER will be unavailable from September 4 at 5:00 PM to September 7 at 5:00 PM.  Therefore, no filings will be possible during this time. 

May 26, 2020 – Attorney’s seeking admission in the Eastern District of Texas are no longer required to provide an original handwritten signature for the next 90 days (until August 24).  Applications with electronic signatures thereon will be accepted for the next 90 days.

April 22, 2020 – All jury trials through May 31 have been continued; visitor restrictions will also remain in place until May 31.

April 20, 2020 – The Beaumont Division is open.  

April 14, 2020 – The Beaumont Division is closed to the public until further notice. 

April 2, 2020 – On April 10, 2020, the Beaumont Division Clerk’s Office will be open from 8:00 am – noon, but all other Eastern District of Texas Divisions will be closed.

March 17, 2020 – The District Court has restricted visitor access until May 1 to prevent anyone who is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, or who have travelled to China, South Korea, Japan, Iran, or Western Europe within the preceding 14 days. Furthermore, the Plano Courthouse is closed until April 2, 2020.

March 16, 2020 – The District Court has implemented a number of measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. First, all jury trials until May 1, 2020 have been continued. Second, individual judges may continue to hold in-person bench trials, appointments, and hearings as they deem appropriate. Each judge is given discretion to handle their own dockets as they deem appropriate. Third, all non-case specific events occurring at the courthouse are canceled. Finally, all courthouses will remain open for business, but employees may telework where possible.

Western District of Texas

Updates available here

Present Status

Courtrooms

Open subject to restrictions.  All jury and bench trials through September 30 have been continued except in the Waco Division where bench and jury trials will resume as early as September 1, and the Midlands/Odessa, and Pecos Divisions where trials are set to begin again; all grand jury proceedings will continue according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.  Access to the Alpine and San Antonio courthouses is restricted to designated personnel until further notice.  Access to the El Paso and Austin courthouses is restricted until September 30.

Deadlines

Unchanged (other than trial dates) unless modified by presiding judge.

Misc.

Judges have discretion over handling of in-person meetings; slides for any Markman hearings in the Waco Division must be emailed to the Court within 6 hours of receiving preliminary instructions from the Court; slides for non-Markman hearings in the Waco Division must be emailed at least 24 hours before the hearing; the San Antonio Division has released general rules and policies for hearings by telephone or video conference.

August 27, 2020 – Access to the Austin courthouse is restricted until September 30.  All visitors must wear face masks and pass any screening procedures and social distancing instructions as directed by Court Security. 

August 21, 2020 – The El Paso Division has limited court access to essential workers and those having business before the court.  All visitors must wear masks, subject to a temperature check, and follow social distancing guidelines.  The full order is available here.

August 20, 2020 – The Midlands/Odessa and Pecos Divisions determined that it is safe to begin trials and provided safety protocols for jury selection and in-person trials.  The full order is available here.

August 18, 2020 – The Waco Division has determined that it is safe to conduct bench and jury trials beginning as early as September 1.  When trials resume, all persons in the courtroom must wear a mask except for witnesses who are testifying and attorneys who are examining a witness or making a statement to the jury.  The court has also prohibited persons who are at-risk of transmitting COVID-19 from entering the courthouse.  The full order is available here.

August 13, 2020 – Restricted access in the El Paso Division has been extended through September 30.  A face mask is required for entry and social-distancing protocols must be observed within the courthouse at all times.

August 6, 2020 – All jury and bench trials through September 30 are continued.  However, courts within the district may opt to conduct jury trials if, based on the facts and circumstances unique to that division, it would not compromise the health and safety of court personnel, litigants, counsel, law enforcement, witnesses, and jurors.   

July 28, 2020 – Restricted access in the El Paso Division has been extended until August 31.  A face covering is required for entry.  

July 17, 2020 – Judge Albright, in the Waco Division, has released a revised general Order Governing Proceedings in patent cases, which will be made available on his website.  

July 16, 2020 – Restricted access to courthouses in the Austin Division has been extended until August 31

July 15, 2020 – The San Antonio Division has released general rules and policies for telephonic and video conference hearings, available here.

July 2, 2020 – All jury trials through August 31 are continued.  However, courts within the district may opt to conduct jury trials if, based on the facts and circumstances unique to that division, it would not compromise the health and safety of court personnel, litigants, counsel, law enforcement, witnesses, and jurors.   

June 25, 2020 – Restricted access to the El Paso courthouse has been extended until July 31.  Restricted access to the San Antonio Courthouse has been extended until further notice.  

June 24, 2020 – Restricted access to the Austin and Waco courthouses has been extended until July 31.  

June 18, 2020 – All bench and jury trials scheduled to begin through July 31 are continued.  Individual judges may hold in-person hearings, sentencing proceedings, and conferences but are encouraged to do so through video or telephonic means.  All courthouses are open for business subject to restrictions imposed by judges; however, many employees are still teleworking.  The full order is available here.       

June 11, 2020 – Entry to the United States Courthouse in Midland, Pecos, and Alpine continued to be restricted to designated personnel until further notice. 

May 21, 2020 – Access to the Albert Armendariz Sr. United States Courthouse in El Paso is restricted until June 30

May 13, 2020 – Access to the United States Courthouse in Waco is restricted until June 30.

May 11, 2020 – Access to the United States Courthouse in Austin is restricted to designated personnel until June 30

May 8, 2020 – All trials scheduled to begin before June 30 are continued and will have a new date set by the presiding judge.  This applies only to trial dates; no other deadlines are extended.  Grand jury proceedings are also continued until June 30.  Each division will continue to determine any restriction on access to its courthouses.

May 6, 2020 – Access to the Alpine, Midland, and Pecos courthouses is restricted until further notice.

April 27, 2020 – Entry to the United States Courthouse in Austin is restricted to designated personnel until May 31.

April 16, 2020 – Entry to the John H. Wood, Jr. U.S. Courthouse in San Antonio and the Albert Armendariz, Sr. U.S. Courthouse in El Paso is restricted to designated personnel until May 31.

April 15, 2020 – All jury trials and grand jury proceedings through May 31 have been continued.

April 9, 2020 – The Waco Division has provided further guidance for parties with Markman hearings. For parties who have already had a Markman hearing, the Court will consider all reasonable adjustments to current scheduling orders provided that the parties first meet-and-confer about the proposed changes; if the parties cannot agree, they are directed to contact the Court’s law clerk to set-up a telephonic conference.  For parties with a Markman hearing scheduled between April 9 and May 1, the parties may choose to maintain their current hearing date or else they may choose to have it postponed to the week of May 11 and indicate their preferred day of the week.  If they choose the later, the court will provide preliminary claim constructions by 5PM the day before the Markman hearing is currently scheduled

April 7, 2020 – Entry to the Midland, Pecos, and Alpine courthouses are restricted to designated personnel until May 1

April 6, 2020 – Entry to the San Antonio courthouse is restricted to designated personnel until May 1.

April 3, 2020 – Entry to the Austin courthouse is restricted to designated personnel until May 1.

March 24, 2020 – All trial settings scheduled before May 1 are cancelled pending further order of the court, except for certain criminal matters. 

March 24, 2020 – Judge Albright has issued an order that all hearings in the Waco Division will be held telephonically until further notice.  Further, for non-Markman hearings, PowerPoint slides must be emailed to the Court at least 24 hours before the hearing.  For Markman hearings, slides must be emailed within 6 hours of receiving preliminary constructions from the Court. The Order of March 20 has been amended to clarify that certain criminal matters will be directed under the discretion of the Presiding District Judge or Magistrate Judge.   

March 23, 2020 – Through one of our partners, who is a member of Judge Albright’s Working Group, we understand that Judge Albright will hold all hearings telephonically until at least May 1.  Presentation materials will be provided by email in advance of the hearing. 

March 20, 2020 – The Courts of the Western District of Texas are closed, except for certain criminal matters.

March 20, 2020 – Through one of our partners, who is a member of Judge Albright’s Working Group, we understand that Judge Albright will soon issue a General Order that no in-person civil hearings will be held in his court until May 1.

March 19, 2020 – The Court issued two new standing orders related to COVID-19 response restricting access to the El Paso and Waco courthouses to certain designated personnel.

March 16, 2020 – All grand jury proceedings until May 1, 2020 have been continued.

March 13, 2020 – The District Court has implemented a number of measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. First, all jury trials until May 1, 2020 have been continued. Second, individual judges may continue to hold in-person bench trials, appointments, and hearings as they deem appropriate. Each judge is given discretion to handle their own dockets as they deem appropriate. Parties are encouraged to participate in conferences by telephone or video. Third, all non-case specific events occurring at the courthouse are canceled. Finally, all courthouses will remain open for business, but employees may telework where possible.

Northern District of Texas

Updates available here

Present Status

Courtrooms

Visitors are restricted until further notice.

Deadlines

Unchanged 

Misc.

Masks must be worn to enter the Eldon B. Mahon United States Courthouse, the Earle Cabell Federal Building, the United States Courthouse at Dallas, the Mary Lou Robinson Courthouse, and the Graham B. Purcell, Jr., Post Office and Federal Building. 

September 10, 2020 – All persons over the age of two entering the Eldon B. Mahon U.S. Courthouse in Fort Worth must wear a mask.  Further, no more than two people may occupy a courthouse elevator at any one time.

July 8, 2020 – All jury trials in the Dallas Division through July 31 are continued.  

June 19, 2020 – All jury trials in the Dallas Division through July 17 are continued.  

May 29, 2020 – Court restrictions regarding access and number of visitors in each courthouse proceeding will remain in effect until further notice. Specifically, visitors experiencing flu-like symptoms, who have been quarantined, or who have travelled to a country for which the CDC has issued a Level 3 Travel Health Notice within the previous 14 days are prohibited from accessing the courthouse and the U.S. Marshall Service may restrict the number of visitors allowed during any court proceeding.  

May 22, 2020 – Any person over the age of two must wear a mask to enter the court in the Graham B. Purcell, Jr., Post Office and Federal Building in the Wichita Falls Division. 

May 21, 2020 – Any person over the age of two must wear a mask and must pass proper screening in order to enter the courthouses located in the Abilene, Lubbock, and San Angelo Divisions. 

May 18, 2020 – Any person over the age of two must wear a mask and submit to screening to enter the Eldon B. Mahon United States Courthouse.  Further, entrance to the Mary Lou Robinson Courthouse in the Amarillo Division has been restricted to those who have passed screening and the Courtroom is restricted to at most ten spectators, who must practice social distancing.

May 15, 2020 – Any person over the age of two must wear a mask to enter the Earle Cabell Federal Building or United States Courthouse at Dallas.  

April 22, 2020 – Jury trials scheduled to begin through May 31 are continued and visitor restrictions have been extended to May 31.  

March 20, 2020 – Visitors experiencing flu-like symptoms, have been quarantined, or have travelled to a country for which the CDC has issued a Level 3 Travel Health Notice within the previous 14 days are prohibited from accessing the courthouse.

March 13, 2020 – All civil bench and jury trials scheduled to begin through May 1 are continued. This continuance doesn’t affect any other deadlines.  Courts will remain open for business, but many employees will be teleworking.  Judges may continue to hold in person proceedings in their discretion, but are encouraged use hold hearings and conferences by telephone or video.

Southern District of Texas

Updates available here

Present Status

Courtrooms

All civil trials through May 31 in the Brownsville Division are continued; visitors are restricted in all Divisions.

All civil trials through September 30 are continued in the Houston/Galveston Division.  Jury trials may resume on October 13.

All jury trials through October 31 are continued in the Corpus Christi Division.

All jury trials through September 30 are continued in the Victoria Division.

All jury trials through September 30 are continued in the Laredo Division. 

All jury trials through October 5 are continued in the McAllen Division.

The Bob Casey Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse is closed to the public from June 29 to July 10. It will reopen on July 13

The United States Post Office and Courthouse in the Galveston Division is closed to the public from June 29 to July 10.

The McAllen Division Courthouse is closed to the public until further notice.

The George P. Kazen Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse in the Laredo Division is closed until further notice.

The Reynaldo G. Garza – Filemon B. Vela Courthouse in the Brownsville Division and the U.S. Courthouse in Corpus Christi are closed to the public until further notice. 

The Victoria Division Courthouse is open to the public subject to screening procedures until further notice.

Deadlines

Unchanged.

Misc.

Judges given discretion over handling of all other matters.

In the Corpus Christi Division, individual judges will determine whether to hold proceedings via Zoom, telephone, or otherwise. 

September 17, 2020 – In the Houston and Galveston Divisions, jury trials may resume on October 13 with appropriate hygienic safeguards in place.  All non-case-specific events before December 31 are cancelled. 

September 15, 2020 – In the Corpus Christi Division, the U.S. courthouse is closed to the public until further notice and all jury trials scheduled to begin through October 31 are continued.

September 9, 2020 – In the Laredo Division, all jury trials through September 30 are continued, and the George P. Kazen Federal Building and United States Courthouse in Laredo remains closed to the public until further notice.  Individual judges may hold bench trials, in-person hearings, scheduling conferences, and other court proceedings.   

September 4, 2020 –
In the McAllen Division, all jury trials through October 5 are continued.

August 26, 2020 – In the Corpus Christi Division, all persons entering the courthouse must use an automated temperature scanner before entry, and any people meeting the following criteria will be denied entry:

  • Travel, or close contact with anyone was has travelled to any country covered by a Level 3 Travel Health Notice from the CDC;
  • Under a request to self-quarantine by a doctor or medical professional;
  • Diagnosed with, or in contact with anyone diagnosed with, COVID-19;
  • Having a fever, cough, or shortness of breath.

August 10, 2020 – All jury trials through September 30 are continued in the Corpus Christi, Houston, and Galveston Divisions.   

August 5, 2020 – All jury trials in the Victoria Division through September 30 are continued.  Further, all non-case specific event scheduled to occur between this date and September 30 are cancelled.

August 3, 2020 – All jury trials in the Laredo Division through August 31 are continued.  Further, all persons entering the Victoria Division Courthouse will be required to use an automated temperature scanner before entry.  Further people meeting any of the following criteria will be denied entry:

  • Travel, or close contact with anyone was has travelled to any country covered by a Level 3 Travel Health Notice from the CDC;
  • Under a request to self-quarantine by a doctor or medical professional;
  • Diagnosed with, or in contact with anyone diagnosed with, COVID-19;
  • Having a fever of at least 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit, cough, or shortness of breath.

July 30, 2020 – All jury trials in the McAllen Division through September 7 are continued to a date to be reset by each presiding judge.  Judge will retain discretion over handling of other proceedings and matters for each of their cases.  All non-case specific events through September 7 are cancelled and will be rescheduled as appropriate.

July 29, 2020 – In  the Galveston Division, all persons entering the United States Post Office and Courthouse must use the automated temperature scanner before entering.

July 24, 2020 – In the Brownsville Division, all persons entering the courthouse must submit to a temperature check and answer COVID-19 screening questions.

July 17, 2020 – The Brownsville District court has released an online request form for Remote Access to Courtroom Proceedings, available here.

July 8, 2020 – All jury trials in the Corpus Christi Division through August 31 are continued.  Though the courthouse is currently closed to the public, upon reopening all who enter the courthouse must wear masks or faces covering and maintain social distancing where possible.  Judges retain discretion to alter deadlines and hold proceedings in person as they see fit.  The Bob Casey U.S. Courthouse in Houston and the U.S. Courthouse in Galveston will reopen to the public on July 13.  All visitors are required to wears masks or face coverings and observe social distancing where possible.  

July 1, 2020 – Courts in the Corpus Christ Division will independently decide whether to conduct proceedings via Zoom, telephone, or in person.  Further procedures for attending Zoom-hosted proceedings are available here.

June 30, 2020 – In the McAllen Division, all jury trials through August 3 are continued.  Individual judges have discretion in deciding whether to hold bench trials, in-person hearings, scheduling conferences, and other court proceedings; however, the use of telephone or video conferencing is encouraged.   

June 26, 2020 – The Reynaldo G. Garza – Filemon B. Vela Courthouse in the Brownsville Division is closed to the public until further notice.  The Bob Casey U.S. Courthouse in the Houston Division and the United States Post Office and Courthouse in the Galveston Division are closed to the public from June 29 to July 10.  The George P. Kazen Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse in the Laredo Division is closed until further notice, and all jury trials in the Laredo Division through July 31 are continued.  All courts are encouraged to use remote or virtual proceedings when feasible and in the interests of justice.

June 24, 2020 – The United States Courthouse in Corpus Christi is closed to all visitors and employees, except judges and their staff unless expressly authorized to enter the premises, until June 29 absent further developments.  Despite the physical closing of the building, the Courthouse remains open for official business, and the electronic filing system remains unaffected.  

June 11, 2020 – All jury trials scheduled to being through August 3 in the Corpus Christi Division are continued to a date to be reset by each presiding judge.  These continuances do not affect any deadlines other than the jury trial dates.  Individual judges may continue to hold bench trials, in-person hearings, scheduling conferences, and other court proceedings.  Judges are still encouraged to hold case proceedings by telephone or video conferences wherever possible.

June 8, 2020 – All jury trials scheduled to begin through June 30 in the Laredo Division are continued to a date to be reset by each presiding judge.  These continuances do not affect any deadlines other than the jury trial dates.  Individual judges may continue to hold bench trials, in-person hearings, scheduling conferences, and other court proceedings.  Judges are still encouraged to hold case proceedings by telephone or video conferences wherever possible. 

June 4, 2020 – All jury trials scheduled to begin through August 3 in the Houston and Galveston Divisions are continued to a date to be reset by each presiding judge.  Judges are still encouraged to hold case proceedings by telephone or video conferences whenever possible. 

June 1, 2020 – All jury trials in the McAllen Division through July 3 are continued.   

May 28, 2020 – The Reynaldo G. Garzo – Filemon B. Vela U.S. Courthouse in Brownsville, Texas will reopen on June 1, with proper precautions (faces masks and social distancing) required for all visitors.

May 18, 2020 – The Victoria Division released an order continuing all jury trials (civil and criminal) through June 30.  The order also maintains the closure of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Federal Building, and noted that, upon reopening, all visitors must bring masks and wear them to enter. The Houston and Galveston Divisions have released a new order slightly modifying the order of April 22.  However, all jury trials through July 6 remain continued, and other deadlines remain at the discretion of individual judges.

May 15, 2020 – In the Corpus Christi Division, all jury trials through June 30 are continued.   The Corpus Christi Division remains closed until further notice and upon reopening everyone entering the courthouse must wear masks. 

May 14, 2020 – The Reynaldo G. Garza – Filemon B. Vela U.S. Courthouse in Brownsville, Texas will remain closed to the public until further notice.   

May 13, 2020 – The Bob Casey U.S. Courthouse in Houston will reopen to the public on May 18.  All members of the public, employees, and contractors who enter the courthouse will be required to wear masks or face coverings where social distancing is not possible. 

April 30, 2020 – The Bob Casey U.S. Courthouse in Houston will be closed to the public through May 17, 2020.  This closure does not affect deadlines set by individual judges, and the Court’s Electronic Case Filing system is still operational.  

April 22, 2020 – In the Houston/Galveston Division, all jury trials through July 6 are continued. The alteration of other deadlines is still left to individual judges.   

April 20, 2020 – In the Victoria Division, all jury trials through May 31 are continued.  Alteration of other deadlines are left to the discretion of individual judges.   

April 13, 2020 – In the Laredo Division, all jury trials through May 31 are continued. 

April 10, 2020 – The Bob Casey U.S. Courthouse in Houston will remain closed to the public through May 1. The building will open to authorized tenants, contractors, and workers beginning April 17.  

April 7, 2020 – The U.S. District Court (Victoria Division), including related facilities in the Martin Luther King, Jr. Federal Building is closed to the public until further notice.  

April 3, 2020 – Beginning April 6, the McAllen Division and Brownsville Division Courthouses will be closed to the public until further notice.  In the McAllen Division, all jury trials through May 31 are continued.

April 2, 2020 – The Southern District of Texas has issued several orders closing multiple courthouses to the public.  The Bob Casey Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse is closed to the public beginning April 2 through April 10, reopening on April 13.  The George P. Kazen Federal Building will be closed to the public effective April 6, 2020.  The Reynaldo G. Garza – Filemon B. Vela U.S. Courthouse is closed to the public until further notice.  The United States Courthouse and Custom House in Galveston is closed until further notice. 

March 20, 2020 – McAllen Division has restricted access to the courthouses for any visitors who are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or have travelled to high-risk areas. No deadlines or other requirements have been changed. 

March 19, 2020 – Courts in the Laredo Division have restricted visitor access. Further, all trials set to begin in April have been continued to a date set by each presiding judge.

March 18, 2020 – Within the Houston, Galveston, Corpus Christi, Victoria, and Brownsville Divisions, all civil trials scheduled to begin through May 1 are continued. Further, visitors to courthouses in those divisions who are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or have travelled to high-risk areas are now prohibited from entry.

March 12, 2020 – All civil trials in the Houston and Galveston Divisions have been suspended until April 1, but all other courthouses remain open. All other matters remain in effect at the discretion of the presiding judge. Reasonable accommodations will be made for anyone required to appear in a specific court who exhibits COVID-19 or flu-like symptoms. Attorneys are encouraged to appear by telephone or video for non-evidentiary hearings whenever possible.

Northern District of California

Updates available here

Present Status

Courtrooms

Only authorized visitors (court staff, jurors, and other persons authorized by a judge) may enter courthouses in the Northern District until further notice.

All civil hearings will be conducted either by teleconference or videoconference until further notice.

No new jury trial in civil cases will be conducted through September 30.

Deadlines

Unchanged.

Misc.

Any requirement for personal service of process by USMS is suspended and the time for service in civil cases is tolled until further notice.

Electronic filings accepted through ECF.  Paper filings are allowed but strongly discouraged.

SurveyMonkey juror questionnaires will replace a portion of in-person voir dire

July 27, 2020 – The court released information on how members of the public can observe video and telephonic court proceedings.  Information on accessing videoconferences is available here, and a list of upcoming hearings is available here

July 23, 2020 – No new jury trials will be conducted through September 30; however, judges may offer bench trials by videoconference in lieu of postponement.  Other proceedings such as motion hearings, case management conferences, pretrial conferences, settlement conferences, and ADR proceedings may be conducted via telephone or videoconference.  Any local rules requiring that a courtesy copy be provided to the judge are suspended.  

July 1, 2020 – The court will begin emailing SurveyMonkey juror questionnaires to minimize the time prospective jurors must spend in the courthouse for voir dire during the COVID-19 pandemic.

June 24, 2020 – No new jury trials will be conducted through September 30; however, judges may offer bench trials by videoconference in lieu of postponement.  Members of the press and public may remotely observe hearings via videoconference or teleconference.  Access to all courthouses remains temporarily restricted to the public until further notice.  The court will continue accepting electronic filings through ECF.  Paper filings, although discouraged, are available via a drop box at the San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose courthouses. 

June 3, 2020 – All Courthouse in the Northern District of California will be closed entirely through June 8. 

June 2, 2020 – All Courthouses in the Northern District of California will be closed through June 3 out of an abundance of caution.  

May 29, 2020 – Effective June 1, the courthouses of the Northern District of California will institute the following safety protocols.  All visitors will be screened for COVID-19 symptoms before being allowed entrance to the courthouses.  Only authorized visitors will be allowed to enter courthouse property, and further must wear a face covering in public areas in order to enter the building and maintain proper social distancing while within the building.  Members of the public and press may only access proceedings by teleconference or videoconference.  All proceedings will have a reduced maximum capacity in order to allow for social distancing.  

May 21, 2020 – No new jury trial in civil cases will be conducted through September 30.  All civil hearings will be conducted either by teleconference or videoconference until further notice.  Members of the public and press can hear and/or observe telephonic and video hearings.  Further information on observing hearings is available here.  

May 21, 2020 – Access to all Northern District of California courthouses (San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose, and Eureka/McKinleyville) remains temporarily restricted to the public until June 1, and this period may be extended further.  For information on electronic and paper submissions, the court has provided information available here.  

May 6, 2020 – A list of upcoming hearings as well as links to access the hearings via Zoom are available on the Court’s website here

April 30, 2020 – No jury trials until at least June 1.  Civil matters will be decided on the papers unless the presiding judge believes a hearing is necessary, in which case it will be held via telephonic or videoconference.  Access to courthouses is limited to official business until at least June 1  

April 20, 2020 – All civil hearings will be conducted via teleconference or videoconference until at least May 1.  Information on how to observe these hearings can be found on the court’s website: www.cand.uscourts.gov/zoom

April 6, 2020 – Courthouse closures and consolidation measures have been extended until May 1.

April 3, 2020 – Under the CARES Act, members of the press and public are permitted to hear and/or observe telephonic and video hearings, free of charge.  

March 30, 2020 – All personal service of process by the US Marshall Service is suspended, and the time for service in all civil cases under FRCP 4(m) is tolled until further notice.  

March 25, 2020 – The Oakland, San Jose, and Eureka/McKinleyville Courthouses are closed entirely to the public, and essential courthouse operations will be consolidated and relocated to the San Francisco Courthouse, until at least April 7.  Hearings will continue to be held by video or teleconference where practical. 

March 23, 2020 – The San Jose Courthouse is closed to staff and the public until April 7. 

March 19, 2020 – Governor Newsom has ordered that all California residents remain at home except for essential travel until further notice.

March 18, 2020 – All civil hearings held by teleconference will be conducted on a conference call that is available to members of the press and the public at no charge.

March 17, 2020 – The District Court has suspended many operations until May 1, 2020. No jury trials will be commenced before May 1, 2020, with all civil matters to be decided on the papers as submitted. All courthouses within the Northern District of California will be closed to the public until May 1, 2020, with an exception made for those with official court business.

March 16, 2020 – The Mayor of San Francisco ordered a shelter-in-place for all residents of the city and county of San Francisco. Exempted from the order are court personnel and those acting under a court order. Further, legal providers (such as law firms) are defined as “Essential Businesses” when acting in compliance with a legal obligation.

Central District of California

Updates available here

Present Status

Courtrooms

All Courthouses, except the Santa Ana Courthouse are closed to the public until further notice.

The Santa Ana Courthouse is open for official court business.

Deadlines

Except in the Southern Division, no hearings in civil cases will go forward, except for emergency time-sensitive matters which will proceed telephonically only.  All filing deadlines remain in place unless ordered by the presiding judge.

In the Southern Division, emergency, in-person hearings may proceed at the presiding judge’s discretion.  Non-emergency hearings must occur via telephone or video conference.

Misc.

Judges given discretion to hold hearings as they see fit; jurors will not be called before June 22, but all courtroom proceedings and deadlines remain unchanged.

September 14, 2020 – In-person, emergency hearings for civil matters may proceed in the Southern Division at the discretion of the presiding judge.  Further, the Santa Ana courthouse is open for official court business, subject to certain entry requirements.  No jury trials will resume until further notice.  

August 6, 2020 – All Courthouses are closed to the public.  All jury trials are continued until further notice, and all appearances in civil cases must be via telephone or video conference. 

July 17, 2020 – The Court implemented enhanced screening procedures for all persons entering the courthouse that includes a health questionnaire and temperature check, beginning July 20.  

June 1, 2020 – All individuals are required to wear face coverings in United States Courthouses.  Individual judges will determine the face covering policy for their respective courtrooms and chambers.

May 29, 2020 – The Central District of California adopted a plan for the phased resumption of Court operations.  In phase 1, the return of certain staff to the courthouses to prepare for limited in-court hearings, will begin no earlier than June 1. During phase 1, the courthouses will remain closed to the public and no in-court hearings will take place. In phase 2, the reopening of the courthouses for limited in-person hearings, will be implemented three weeks after phase 1 and no earlier than June 22. During this phase, limited in-court hearings will take place in criminal and civil matters. In phase 3, the resumption of jury trials will be implemented at a date to be determined.  More information on the plan can be found here.  

April 13, 2020 – The Central District of California is extending its Continuity of Operations Plan through and including  June 1.

March 20, 2020 – Effective immediately and until further notice, the Court grants to mediators the authority to excuse a party, a party’s representative, or an attorney from in-person attendance at a mediation conducted under General Order No. 11-10. At the discretion of the assigned mediator, mediations held through the Court’s ADR Program may be conducted by video or telephone conference.

March 19, 2020 – Governor Newsom has ordered that all California residents remain at home except for essential travel until further notice.

March 19, 2020 – The Court has activated its Continuity of Operations Plan. All courthouses are closed to public from March 23 through May 1. Electronic filing is available for all parties, but those who cannot use it are advised to mail materials to the Court Clerk.

March 17, 2020 – No jurors will be called into service in the courts until at least April 13.

March 12, 2020 – As of now, the District Court has not implemented any general operating procedures beyond preventing entrance to the courthouses where the visitor has traveling to any country with a level two or three travel health notice from the CDC.

Eastern District of California

Updates available here

Present Status

Courtrooms

All courthouses closed until further notice.  All authorized visitors to the courthouses must wear face coverings.

Deadlines

All jury trials through June 15 are continued; presiding judges retain discretion to alter deadlines for courtroom proceedings and filing.

Misc.

All civil matters will be decided on the papers; where a hearing is required, it will be performed via telephone or videoconference.

Information on contacting the Clerk’s office can be found here.

July 28, 2020 – Face coverings are now required in all courthouses.  They are also required in all private agency spaces where social distancing cannot be maintained. 

July 22, 2020 – The Court has released guidance for parties to using Zoom during hearings or other proceedings, available here

May 13, 2020 – All courthouses are closed to the public until further notice.  

April 17, 2020 – Through June 1, all courthouses are closed to the public. All jury trials scheduled to begin before June 15 are continued; all civil matters will continue to be decided on the papers, where feasible. 

April 16, 2020 – The judicial emergency declared on March 17 is extended and will continue until May 2, 2021. 

March 18, 2020 – All courthouses are closed to the public until May 1. All civil matters will be decided on the papers, subject to discretion of the Judge.  Where a hearing is necessary, it will be held by telephone or videoconference.

March 17, 2020 – Federal Courthouses in Sacramento, Modesto, Fresno, Bakersfield, Yosemite, and Redding will remain open, subject to certain restrictions. All jury trials until May 1 are continued. Judges retain discretion to amend deadlines for courtroom proceedings and filings as they see fit.

March 12, 2020 – Persons experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or who have travelled to China, Iran, South Korea, the United Kingdom, and certain parts of Europe are prohibited from entry into E.D. Courthouses.

Southern District of California

Updates available here

Present Status

Courtrooms

The Edward J. Schwartz, James M. Carter & Judith N. Keep, and U.S. Courthouse in El Centro, remain open.

Deadlines

All jury trials have been continued until October 14.

Beginning on June 1, judges have the discretion to conduct in-person proceedings except jury trials in civil cases.

Misc.

Electronic or mail filings are required, though where necessary physical submissions may be made at the Clerk’s Office drop-off box.  No in-person submissions should be made.

September 18, 2020 – The Court has further extended the judicial emergency, which excuses personal appearances and in-person filings in civil cases, and continued jury trials until October 14.

August 24, 2020 – The Court issued a target start date for conducting jury trials for August 31 and adopted protocols for safely conducting such trials.  In particular, only one trial will start per week per floor.  More information is available here.

August 14, 2020 – The Court extended the safety protocols for in-person court appearances originally put in place on June 10, until September 10.  The Court also extended the judicial emergency, excused personal appearances and in-person filings in civil cases, and continued jury trials until September 14

July 13, 2020 – The Court extended the judicial emergency, excused personal appearances and in-person filings in civil cases, and continued jury trials until August 14.  The full order is available here.   

July 6, 2020 – The Court has extended the safety protocols for in-person court appearances, put in place on June 10, until August 9.  The Court has also made available a form for requesting permission to appear telephonically or by videoconferences during the COVID-19 public emergency, available here.

June 11, 2020 – All jury trials are continued until July 15

June 10, 2020 – The Court adopted safety protocols for in-person court proceedings which include, inter alia, that all persons must wear face masks and be symptom free, that all persons must maintain social distancing, and that masks must be worn at all times in the courtroom unless the Judge authorizes removal.  More specific information on general considerations, courtroom rules, and the taking of testimony and exhibits is available here.  

May 27, 2020 – The Court has selected a Strategic Committee on Resumption of Regular Court Proceedings, including District Judges, Magistrate Judges, and other attorneys.  

May 20, 2020 – Beginning on June 1, judges have the discretion to conduct in-person proceedings except jury trials in civil cases.  

April 30, 2020 – All visitors to the courthouses are required to wear face coverings.

April 15, 2020 – All deadlines set out in the previous orders dated March 17 and March 23 have been extended by thirty days.  As a result, all jury trials are continued until May 16.  Parties should continue to avoid in-person submissions, instead using mail or electronic submission whenever possible.  

March 23, 2020 – Personal appearance (unless ordered by a judicial officer) after March 23 is excused. Further, no documents should be filed in person, but should be mailed or filed electronically.  If in person submission must be made, documents should be deposited in the Clerk’s Office after-hours drop-off box.

March 17, 2020 – The Edward J. Schwartz and James M. Carter & Judith N. Keep Courthouses in San Diego and the U.S. Courthouse in El Centro remain open for business.  All jury trials in the Southern District of California are continued until April 16, 2020.  Further, all trial related proceedings (such as hearings, conferences, and bench trials) are given to the discretion of individual district judges.

March 13, 2020 – The Court has restricted from visitation any person who has travelled, within the last 14 days, to a country for which the CDC has issued a Level Two or Three travel health notice as well as any person experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or who has visited a quarantined area within the last 14 days.

District of New Jersey

Updates available here

Present Status

Courtrooms

 

Deadlines

All jury trials until September 30 are continued; all filing and discovery deadlines falling between March 25 and April 30 are extended by 45 days; all filing and discovery deadlines falling between May 1 and May 31 are extended by 30 days.

Misc.

The use of electronic signatures is given to the discretion of the presiding judges; the court has provided guidance for conducting remote hearings.

All persons who enter any court facility are required to wear a face covering and maintain six feet of social distancing.

August 17, 2020 – All jury trials are continued until September 30

July 1, 2020 – The Court released COVID-19 Phase Two Guidelines, which outlines its plan for moving to Phase Two of re-opening.  Phase Two Guidelines are available here.  

June 8, 2020 – The Court released updated operating hours for the Finance Office during phase one of re-opening which is available here.

June 1, 2020 – Courthouses in the District of New Jersey will be closed through June 5.

May 26, 2020 – The Court has released COVID-19 Recovery Guidelines, which outlines their plan for reopening courthouses in the District of New Jersey. 

May 22, 2020 – All civil jury selections and trials through August 31 are continued.  The Court also issued an order requiring that all persons seeking entry to any court facility in the District of New Jersey are required to wear a face covering and maintain six feet of social distancing.  The full order is available here.   

May 1, 2020 – The Court has relaxed the requirement that the Oath of Admission to practice before the Court be administered by a judge, attorney, or notary, and allows applicants to submit an Affirmation instead.  Instructions can be found on the Court’s website here.  

April 27, 2020 – The Court has posted instructions on how to remotely “attend” public hearings.  Anyone wishing to do so should send an email to ecfhelp@njd.uscourts.gov stating that you would like to remotely attend a public hearing.  You must include your name and telephone number, the case name, case number, and the date and time of the hearing.

April 17, 2020 – COVID-19 related measures are extended until May 31, except for filing and discovery deadlines.  Filing and discovery deadlines falling between May 1 and May 31 are extended by 30 days.

March 30, 2020 – Judges have been given discretion to allow for the use of electronic signatures anywhere that an actual signature is impracticable or imprudent.

March 25, 2020 – The Court has provided guidelines for conducting remote hearings, available here.

March 24, 2020 – All filing and discovery deadlines in civil matters falling between March 25 and April 30 are extended by forty-five (45) days.

March 16, 2020 – Visitors who have been diagnosed with or in contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19 or who have been asked to self-quarantine by medical professionals are prohibited from entering the courthouse.  Courthouses will remain open, but all jury trials scheduled to being before April 30 ware continued.  All other deadlines will remain unchanged except as ordered by the judicial officer.  Judges may continue to hold proceedings at their discretion, but are encouraged to conduct proceedings by telephone or videoconference where practicable.  

Eastern District of New York

Updates available here

Present Status

Courtrooms

Courthouses remain open subject to certain screening requirements; all jury trials before September 14 are continued.

Deadlines

Deadlines may be altered at the discretion of the presiding judge.

Misc.

Requirements to accomplish service by the USMS is suspended; the time period from April 27 until further notice of the court is excluded from the 90-day period to accomplish service under FRCP 4(m) for all cases. 

September 8, 2020 – The Court has released its plan for the resumption of jury trials, which are expected to begin again on September 14, barring further orders.  The plan, available here, outlines requirements for anyone participating in a jury trial, including jurors, court staff, and counsel.

August 5, 2020 – All persons entering the courthouse must undergo a screening processing including:

  • Having their temperature taken;
  • Answering screening questions related to possible COVID-19 exposure;
  • Wearing a mask covering both mouth and nose;
  • Placing items to be screened in individual plastic bags. 

Further, all persons within the courthouse must wear a face mask, practice social distancing, and abide by all health and hygiene signage throughout the courthouse.  Finally, entry will be denied to those who meet certain criteria, including:

  • Travel internationally or to a state which meets the criteria for required quarantine in New York State;
  • Under a request to self-quarantine by a doctor or medical professional;
  • Diagnosed with, or in contact with anyone diagnosed with, COVID-19;
  • Having a fever, cough, shortness of breath, new loss of taste or smell, extreme fatigue, chills, headache or muscle pain, unless the symptoms are attributable to another known condition;
  • Released from a federal, state, or local jail/prison/etc.

June 30, 2020 – The requirements to accomplish service by the U.S. Marshall service is suspended in all cases on or after June 15. Further, the time period from April 27 until further order of the court is excluded from the 90-day period to accomplish service under FRCP 4(m).

June 15, 2020 – All jury trials scheduled to begin before September 14 are continued until further notice. Further extensions of time are left to the discretion of the presiding judges.  

May 11, 2020 – The time period from April 27 through June 15 is excluded from the 90-day period to accomplish service under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 4(m).  

April 21, 2020 – All petit jury selection and jury trials scheduled to begin before June 16 are continued.  

March 27, 2020 – Requirements to accomplish services by the U.S. Marshall Service is suspended in all cases filed on or after March 18. 

March 17, 2020 – Only certain authorized visitors may enter the Brooklyn and Central Islip Courthouses, including persons ordered to appear by a judge. 

March 16, 2020 – Courthouses in Brooklyn and Central Islip will remain open subject to certain restrictions.  All jury trials scheduled to begin before April 27 are continued.  Judges are given discretion to alter other trial-specific deadlines.  Where hearings are necessary, judges are strongly encouraged to hold them by telephone or video conference.

March 9, 2020 – Persons experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or who have visited China, South Korea, Japan, Italy, or Iran within the last 14 days are prohibited from entry into EDNY courthouses.  

Southern District of New York

Updates available here

Present Status

Courtrooms

The Court has entered Phase II of its phased re-entry plan. 

Courthouses are open to the public; all visitors must complete a COVID questionnaire before entering.  Jury trials remain suspended until further notice.

Deadlines

Judges given discretion to adjust deadlines;Counsel are advised to check with individual judges for extensions of time in civil cases.

Misc.

All non-case related events are cancelled; judges encouraged to conduct proceedings by telephone or video.

Members of the public, including attorneys, must complete a questionnaire and have their temperature taken before being allowed entry to the courthouse; trial participants are allowed to bring a cell phone into the courthouse. 

September 9, 2020 – Through December 31, trial participants, including attorneys and co-counsel, are authorized to bring one cell phone into the courthouse.  Trial participants must follow the directions of the Clerk of Court and Deputy Clerks regarding the use of cell phones at all times.

September 2, 2020 – The Court released a COVID-19 entry questionnaire that visitors must complete before entering the courthouse.  The questionnaire is accessed via a QR code, available here.

August 11, 2020 – The Clerk of Court is permitted to excuse from service any potential jurors who have COVID-19, symptoms of COVID-19, or have been exposed to COVID-19.

July 9, 2020 – Members of the public, including attorneys, must complete a questionnaire and have their temperature taken before being allowed entry to the courthouse.  The questionnaire, available here, must be filled out online the day of entry and, if accepted, the court will send a QR code to the visitor’s personal device for entry to the courthouse.  

July 6, 2020 – The Court released a checklist for filing new matters with a sealing application during COVID-19 via a court drop box, available here.  

July 2, 2020 – Beginning on July 6, courthouses will reopen to the public, going to Phase II of the Phased Re-Entry Plan.  All visitors must answer screening questions and submit to a body temperature test.  Once inside the courthouse, visitors are required to wear masks, observe social distancing, and wash or sanitize their hands often.  

June 12, 2020 – The Court has commenced a phased re-entry plan, details available here.  

June 12, 2020 – The Court issued an order that prevents all individuals who have had COVID-19, symptoms of COVID-19, or have been exposed to COVID-19 from entering the courthouse for 14 days.  The order also requires all visitors to pass through a screening (temperature check and questionnaire), requires all individuals to wear a mask, and requires that all individuals follow social distancing.  The full order is available here.

June 11, 2020 – The Court will proceed to Reentry Phase I (certain staff return to work at the courthouses, which remain open for business but generally closed to members of the public) on June 15.  No dates have been set for proceeding to Phases II, III, or IV.  All jury trials remain suspended until further notice, but individual judges may hold hearings, conferences, and bench trials, preferably via telephone or videoconference.  The full order is available here.

April 21, 2020 – Jury trials are suspended until further notice. 

April 10, 2020 – Court operations for the period of April 13–May 4 will be altered as follows.  The Thurgood Marshall Courthouse will remain closed, except for grand jury matters; the Daniel Patrick Moynihan Courthouse will remain open only to hear urgent criminal matters and matters in which immediate relief is sought under FRCP 65(b).  Parties with civil matters that require the immediate attention of the judge must first the  Clerk of Court by calling (212) 805-0140, prior to (i) filing the papers online through ECF (preferred) or (ii) bringing papers to the courthouse.  The Charles L. Brieant Courthouse in White Plains will remain open, but will only receive emergency civil applications made directly to the assigned judge.  Extensions of time in civil cases remain in the discretion of individual judges.  

March 30, 2020 – The Thurgood Marshall Courthouse is closed; no SDNY staff will be on site and no matters will be heard except for grand jury proceedings.  The Daniel Patrick Moynihan Courthouse is open for emergency matters only: urgent criminal matters and matters for which immediate relief is sought pursuant to Rule 65(b).  Parties seeking a TRO or to file under seal must call the Clerk of the Court at (212) 805-0140 between 8:30 AM and 4:00 PM Monday through Friday.  

March 24, 2020 – Public entry to the Daniel Patrick Moynihan Courthouse through the Worth Street entrance only; public entrance to the Thurgood Marshall Courthouse through the Centre Street entrance only.  Anyone with disabilities who cannot enter from Centre Street will be accommodated at the Pearl Street entrance.

March 20, 2020 – Governor Cuomo has ordered all non-essential businesses to keep workers at home and advised all New Yorkers to remain indoors as much as possible.

March 20, 2020 – For emergency applications that are submitted in a case pending before the court, attorneys are directed to file the emergency application in ECF and call chambers and leave a voicemail alerting the judge to the filing.  Mediation will no longer take place in the courthouse, and mediators and the parties are encouraged to use alternate locations or other methods of convening mediation sessions.

March 16, 2020 – All civil and criminal trials scheduled to begin before April 27, 2020 are continued, with discretion given to individual judges regarding trial-specific deadlines. Judges are strongly encouraged to conduct court proceedings by telephone or video where possible, but ultimate discretion is given to the individual judges. All non-case related activities and events have also been canceled and entry into the courthouse has been restricted to those with official court business.

March 13, 2020 – Any requirement that U.S. Marshals effect personal service of process under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 4(c)(3) or 28 U.S.C. § 1915(d) is suspended until further notice.  However, this does not apply to service by mail under N.Y.C.P.L.R. § 312-a, waivers of service under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 4(d), or service by electronic means.  In a case where U.S. Marshals have been order to serve process, the time for service under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 4(m) is tolled. 

District of Colorado

Updates available here

Present Status

Courtrooms

All jury trials through October 4 are continued; the courthouse is restricted to those having official business until further notice.

Deadlines

Unchanged.

Misc.

All public and bar-related events scheduled to take place at the courthouse through August 28 are canceled.

All visitors must wear face masks and maintain social distancing.

August 19, 2020 – All jury trials through October 2 are continued until further notice by the court. 

July 27, 2020 – All jury trials through September 4 are continued. 

July 13, 2020 – The Court has released a set of Jury Trial protocols which provide the protocols which the Court will following in summoning jurors, selecting jurors, empaneling juries, and other trial procedures.  The full protocols are available here.

July 2, 2020 – Beginning on August 3 and continuing until further notice, no civil trial requiring a jury of 10 or more jurors is allowed in the Wayne Aspinall Courthouse and Colorado Springs courtroom.  Parties may request a non-jury trial or a trial with less than 10 jurors.  

June 15, 2020 – The Court continued all civil trials through July 31.  The Court also ordered that all courthouse visitors must wear a face mask and maintain social distancing.  Any visitors who have COVID-19, symptoms of COVID-19, or have had close contact with any person diagnosed with COVID-19 are not allowed to enter for at least 14 days.  Further, all public and bar-related functions at the courthouse scheduled to occur through August 28 are canceled.  The full order is available here.  

May 21, 2020 – The Court has restricted access to the courthouse and canceled all public and bar-related functions scheduled to take place at the courthouse through June 19.  

May 6, 2020 – All civil and criminal trials scheduled to commence through July 6 are continued. 

April 24, 2020 – The Clerk’s Office Counter is closed.  If unable to file documents electronically  (through CM/ECF), pro se parties may email documents (in Microsoft Word or PDF format) to COD_ProSe_Filing@cod.uscourts.gov

March 27, 2020 – 
All trials scheduled to begin before May 1 are continued subject to further order from the presiding judge.  Until May 1 only those with official business (including parties and counsel of record) will be permitted to enter the courthouses.

March 13, 2020 – All cases scheduled to commence through April 3 are continued. Further, all visitors who have been to China, Europe, Iran, Japan, South Korea, or any country with a CDC Level 3 Travel Health notice, with a diagnosis or symptoms of COVID-19, and those who have had close contact with someone who has travelled to one of the listed countries are prohibited from entry.

Northern District of Illinois

Updates available here

Present Status

Courtrooms

All persons seeking entry to the Dirksen or Roszkowski U.S. Courthouses must observe the precautions put into place be each courthouse.

Deadlines

Extended by 77 days; civil case hearings, bench trials, and settlement conferences may be scheduled and conducted by the presiding judge by remote means; in-court hearings are limited to urgent matters that cannot be conducted remotely.  

Jury trials scheduled before August 3 will not be conducted and will be rescheduled by the presiding judge.

Misc.

The Clerk’s office in the Eastern and Western Divisions are open during normal business hours; local rules 5.2(f) and 5.3(b) are suspended; public gatherings are suspended.

Face coverings must be worn by all persons in the Dirksen or Roszkowski Courthouses.

September 4, 2020 – The Court issued a Sixth Amended General Order that prohibits public gatherings at Courthouses and suspends locals rules 5.2(f) and 5.3(b).  The Court will vacate, amend, or extend the order no later than November 16.  The full order is available here.

August 10, 2020 – The Dirksen Courthouse is closed on August 10 due to police activity in the downtown area.  The Clerk’s Office will be closed and all in person court proceedings will be rescheduled.

July 29, 2020 – The Court released a memorandum summarizing its plan for conducting jury trials during the pandemic, available here.  Specific highlights of the plan include:

  • No more than one jury trial may begin on a given day;
  • Jurors must wear facemasks and maintain social distancing;
  • All juror rooms will be arranged so as to maintain social distancing;
  • Prospective jurors will complete written questionnaires, provided by the trial judge, that include common questions asked of all jurors;
  • Civil jury trials are limited to 8 jurors;
  • During trial, counsel will be prohibited from approaching witnesses or roaming through the courtroom;
  • Traditional “sidebars” are prohibited, and discussions that must occur outside the jury’s presence will require sending the jury out of the room.

July 23, 2020 – The Court is currently updating its Attorney Admission program and is not accepting bar petitions or trial bar renewals.   

July 10, 2020 - The Court issued a Fifth Amended General Order that vacates all previous General Orders.  The Fifth Amended General Order states that (a) the court is open and accessible, subject to certain limitations; (b) civil case hearings, bench trials, and settlement conferences may be scheduled and conducted by the presiding judge by remote means; (c) in-court hearings are limited to urgent matters that cannot be conducted remotely; (d) civil jury trials will not be conducted before August 3, and trials set to begin before August 3 will be reset by the presiding judge; (e) the Clerk’s Office in the Eastern and Western Divisions are open during normal business hours; (f) local rules 5.2(f) and 5.3(b) are suspended through September 14; and (g) all public gatherings are suspended through September 14 at both the Everett McKinley Dirksen U.S. Courthouse in Chicago and the Stanley J. Roszkowski U.S. Courthouse in Rockford.  The full order is available here.   

June 5, 2020 – The Dirksen and Roszkowski U.S. Courthouses have put in place precautions that must be observed in order to enter:

• Observe social distancing while waiting to be screened at the security station.
• All visitors must wear face coverings in all public places (including courtrooms unless excused by the presiding judge.
• Elevators are restricted to two occupants per car.
• Disinfectant stations are available through the buildings.
• Anyone who is sick, experiencing a fever above 100.4 degrees, or experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms should not enter the Courthouses. 

June 4, 2020 – Access to the Dirksen Courthouse has returned to normal, although masks must still be worn until further notice.

June 3, 2020 – On June 3, the Dirksen Courthouse will be closed to all public access.  The public and media will be allowed telephone (audio only) access to any Northern District of Illinois District Court proceeding through the docket of the case.

June 2, 2020 – On June 2, the Dirksen Courthouse will be closed to all public access.  The public and media will be allowed telephone (audio only) access to any Northern District of Illinois District Court proceeding through the docket of the case. 

May 27, 2020 – All persons seeking entry to the Dirksen or Roszkowski U.S. Courthouses must wear a face covering or will be held in contempt.  Free disposable masks are provided by security.  

May 26, 2020 – The Court issued a Fourth Amended General Order that vacates all previous General Orders.  The Fourth Amended General Order states that (a) the court is open and accessible, subject to certain limitations; (b) civil case hearings, bench trials, and settlement conferences may be scheduled and conducted by the presiding judge by remote means; (c) in-court hearings are limited to urgent matters that cannot be conducted remotely; (d) civil jury trials will not be conducted before August 3, and trials set to begin before August 3 will be reset by the presiding judge; (e) the District Court Clerk’s Office in the Dirksen United States Courthouse in Chicago, Illinois, is closed to public entry through June 15; (f) the District Court Clerk’s Office in the Stanley J. Roszkowski United States Courthouse in Rockford, Illinois, is closed to public entry through June 15; (g) local rules 5.2(f) and 5.3(b) are suspended through July 15; and (h) all public gatherings are suspended through July 15 at both the Everett McKinley Dirksen U.S. Courthouse in Chicago and the Stanley J. Roszkowski U.S. Courthouse in Rockford.  The order is available here  

May 15, 2020 – The Roszkowski Courthouse is closed until at least May 20, due to an individual who works at the Courthouse testing positive for the novel coronavirus.   

April 24, 2020 – All deadlines in civil cases have been extended by an additional 28 days.  Extensions do not apply to appeal-related deadlines or deadlines set by FRCP 50(b) or (d), 52(b), 59(b), (d), or (e), or 60(b).  Hearings, bench trials, and settlement conferences scheduled for or before May 29 are stricken, to be rescheduled by the presiding judge on or after June 1.  Jury trials scheduled for on or before June 26 are stricken and will be rescheduled by the presiding judge on or after June 29.

In any civil case without a docket entry or order since March 16 the parties shall file a joint written status report by May 18.  The report should be “as concise as possible” while still addressing: “(a) the progress of discovery; (b) the status of briefing on any unresolved motions; (c) settlement efforts. In addition, the report shall: (d) provide an agreed proposed schedule (or alternative proposals) for the next 45 days; (e) provide an agreed proposed revised discovery and dispositive motion schedule (or alternative proposals) in cases where the current schedule needs revision; (f) request any agreed action that the Court can take without a hearing; and (g) state whether the parties believe a telephonic hearing with the judge is necessary and time urgent, and, if so, identify the issue that warrants discussion.”
 

March 30, 2020 – All deadlines in civil cases have been extended by an additional 28 days. Extensions do not apply to appeal-related deadlines or deadlines set by FRCP 50(b) or (d), 52(b), 59(b), (d), or (e), or 60(b).  Hearings, bench trials, and settlement conferences scheduled for or before May 1 are stricken, to be rescheduled by the presiding judge on or after May 4.

March 20, 2020 – The clerks’ offices are closed to the public.

March 17, 2020 – In all civil cases, all deadlines are extended by 21 days; hearings, trials, and settlement conferences between March 17 and April 3 are cancelled and will be rescheduled by the presiding judge on or after April 6.  These extensions do not apply to any deadlines for filing a notice of appeal, but if the parties file a timely extension of time to appeal then the Court deems that good cause exists in light of ongoing public-health concerns.

District of Massachusetts

Updates available here

Present Status

Courtrooms

Visitors restricted; all jury trials scheduled on or before September 8 are continued.

 

Deadlines

Judges given discretion to continue deadlines in civil cases.

Misc.

Members of the public are able to access teleconference and videoconference hearings online.

All persons in the Donohue Federal Building are required to wear a suitable mask or face covering.

A limited number of in-person, non-jury proceedings are allowed in designated courtrooms.  All participants must wear masks, except when testifying, and fill out a health self-assessment. 

July 15, 2020 – The Court will begin conducting a limited number of in-person, non-jury proceedings if further delay will harm the interests of justice and the law does not permit video proceedings.  These proceedings will take place in designated courtrooms reconfigured for social distancing, and all participants must wear masks except witnesses under oath who will testify behind a plexiglass barrier.  All participants must also complete a health self-assessment before the proceeding begins.  The full order is available here.    

July 7, 2020 – Emergency amendments to the jury plan were approved excusing certain classes of people from jury duty for COVID-19 related issues.  More information is available here

June 1, 2020 – All persons in the Donohue Federal Building are required to wear a suitable mask or face covering.  Judges may modify this requirement during a legal proceeding as justice may require.  

May 27, 2020 – All jury trials scheduled to begin on or before September 8 are continued until further notice.  The Court may issue other orders concerning future continuances as necessary.  

May 7, 2020 – Effective immediately, Magistrate Judges and Senior Judges may schedule and conduct mediations in civil proceedings in accordance with normal practices of the Court.  All mediation will occur by video or telephone conference until further notice. 

March 31, 2020 – Hearings by video and teleconference will be available to the public via a tool on the Court’s website. 

March 30, 2020 – All jury trials scheduled to begin on or before May 29 are continued until further notice. Judges given discretion to continue civil trial deadlines.

March 12, 2020 – The District Court has restricted visitor access until further notice to prevent anyone who is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, or who have travelled to China, Italy, Iran, Japan, and South Korea within the preceding 14 days. Further, all jury trials scheduled to begin before April 27 are continued until further notice.  Hearings, conferences, and bench trials will continue at the discretion of individual judges, but judges are strongly encouraged to conduct proceedings by telephone or video conference.

International

World Patent Office Watch List

Jurisdiction

Status

Reported

Australia

No Physical Filings Accepted

Deadline extensions available upon request; if requests are within the office’s discretion, the office will seek to apply it.

Fees for some extensions of time that are requested through October 31 in response to the COVID-19 Pandemic will be waived.

New regulations offer more flexibility for the Office to grant fee exemptions.  Customers affected by the Stage 4 restrictions in Victoria are encouraged to contact the office to discuss their options.  The office can be reached through their online portal (here) or by phone (local: 1300 651 010; international: +61 2 6283 2999).

September 14, 2020

Canada

The designated days period has ended.  Normal deadlines and fee payment dates are resumed.

Deadlines and fee payment dates which fall between March 16 and August 27 are extended to August 28.

On August 5, the Office updated a number of FAQs related to proceedings before the Canadian Intellectual Property Office, available here.

August 28, 2020

China

Currently Open.

Where a party has lost rights due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it may, no later than 2 years after the pandemic ends, request restoration of those rights.

The Office has provided an English-language information sharing website for patents related to COVID-19, available here.

The CNIPA issued a joint statement with the EPO stating that both offices are standing in solidarity with one another to overcome COVID-19.  In particular, the CNIPA noted that it has restored rights, reduced requested certification materials, and waived fees for overdue patent annual fee payments to assist patentees.  The statement is available here

On July 21, the CNIPA hosted, via video conferencing, the 13th meeting of IP5 Heads of Office.  The meeting focused on strategic measures to combat COVID-19 as well as IP5 cooperation. 

July 21, 2020

EPO

All in-person events through December 31 will take place online, unless indicated otherwise.

The Office released a joint statement with the IP5 heads of office which confirmed that all five offices will continue to work together to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Office has released a collection of documents outlining EPC contracting states’ responses to COVID-19 as well as joint responses with other IP Offices.

Oral Proceedings before the Board of Appeals will resume on May 18 and parties must comply with their revised measures to participate; oral proceedings before Opposition Divisions up to December 31 are postponed; videoconferences still available; oral proceedings before Examining will proceed via videoconference.  Any documents filed during telephonic or video hearings must be submitted via email.  The Office will begin testing the use of Zoom for certain oral proceedings before the Opposition Divisions.

All organized live events are postponed until September 14. 

All visitors are required to sign a declaration that they have not visited any high risk areas in the two weeks prior to visiting the EPO.  The EPO is also requesting that external partners refrain from visiting if they recently visited a high risk area.

The EPO released joint statements with the USPTO and KIPO that note measures the EPO has taken to support inventors during the COVID-19 crisis such as extending fee deadlines, providing time extensions, updating patent databases for coronavirus-related technologies, and offering flexibility on hearings. The Office has also released an informative video series entitled Inventors Against Coronavirus

September 14, 2020

EUIPO

New features are available through the Office’s eComm service for communication with the office.  The Office is providing a pro bono hub which seeks to match SMEs with IP professionals willing to provide pro bono services.  Parties are encouraged to contact the EUIPO Examiner dealing with their file by calling the information center at +43.965.13.9100.

Guidelines for those still requiring extended deadlines are available on the office’s website.

The EUIPO republished a news article which provides guidance on time limits after the end of the extension period.

The DesignEuropa ceremony has been postponed until October 2021.

The Executive Director released a video update which noted that the Office has seen an increase in trademark filings during the pandemic in comparison to previous years and confirmed that employees will return to the EUIPO’s headquarters in the beginning of September.  

The EUIPO annual high-level meetings that occur in the margins of the WIPO General Assemblies in Geneva will take place virtually during September and October because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

September 17, 2020

France

Deadlines between March 12 and June 23 are postponed to July 23 if the initial deadline was one month, and August 23 if the initial deadline was equal or greater than 2 months.

The Office (INPI) has provided an IP Advice hotline in most regions, available by appointment.

The INPI Academy will resume face-to-face trainings September 29.

August 6, 2020
Germany

The Office remains closed to the public until further notice but remains fully operational.  The Office has also extended its COVID-19 hygiene measures in light of the rise of positive COVID-19 cases throughout the country.

The Office allows parties unable to pay annual, maintenance, extension, or renewal fees due to COVID-19 to submit a request for legal aid or re-establishment of rights if certain requirements are met.  More information on such requests is available here.

The Office is asking all applicants to refrain from making any requests that are not absolutely necessary.

The Office will begin reopening on July 1 and will allow hearings and oral proceedings unless new cases increase uncontrollably.  All visitors must have an appointment to enter the Office and will be required to complete COVID questionnaires and wear a mask. 

September 17, 2020

India

The Office will begin conducting Show-Cause Hearings through video conferencing if applicants’ consent.

Office is open, but with reduced capacity.

The Office will begin accepting requests under the Patent Prosecution Highway on August 10.

Petitions for Extension of Deadlines under sub-rule (6) of Rule 6 may be submitted no later than one month after the end of the COVID-19 crisis.

Patent Agent examination is postponed until further notice.

The Office passed an order on June 19 extending the limitation period for various acts, proceedings, filing of any reply/document, payment of fees, etc. relating to intellectual property matters (IP Filings) due on or after 15 March 2020 until further directions are passed by the Hon’ble High Court of Delhi.

August 27, 2020

Israel

The Office is continuing operations without personal presence in its offices. 

Throughout September, the Office expects to finish examination of trademark applications received through May and June.

Likely to grant properly requested extensions due to circumstances caused by the pandemic on a case-by-case basis. 

September 3, 2020

Japan

The Office has released precautionary procedures for attending oral hearings, including:
- wearing a mask at all times
- not visiting if showing any cold or flu symptoms
- sitting only in designated areas
- temperature check as prerequisite for attendance. 

Guidance regarding the application of relief measures by the JPO in light of COVID-19 has been released on the Office’s website, https://www.jpo.go.jp/e/news/koho/saigai/covid19_legitimate_reasons.html

Special procedures for those affected by the COVID-19 outbreak have been posted to the JPO’s website, https://www.jpo.go.jp/e/news/koho/saigai/covid19_procedures.html.

The Japanese Post Office has suspended mail to certain countries and there may be a delay in sending notices of refusal and statements of grant for (1) international design applications under the Geneva Act of the Hague Agreement; and (2) international trademark applications under the Madrid Protocol.

(1) The late filing of a response to an Office Action due to the coronavirus outbreak will be relieved if the response is filed with a document explaining legitimate reason of the late filing. We contacted JPO to make sure that the legitimate reason includes one at the representative of applicants.

(2) The following procedures can be filed even within two months from the date the reason disappears but within six months at the latest. The procedure needs to be filed with a document explaining legitimate reason of the late procedure.
- filing of a divisional application;
- payment of registration and first through third annuities; and
- filing of an appeal against a Decision to Refuse.

(3) The following procedures can be filed even within two months from the date the reason disappears but within one year at the latest. The procedure needs to be filed with a document explaining legitimate reason of the late procedure.
- filing of translation; and
- filing of Request for Examination

 

June 10, 2020

Mexico

Accepting Filings Only Online.

Issued a publication explaining new procedures for filing documents in-person and electronically.

Issued a publication explaining guidelines for re-opening, available here.

Issued notifications regarding the protection of intellectual property, available here.

July 29, 2020

South Korea

Inventions and other developments related to COVID-19 are to be supported by the Office’s IP-R&D strategy.

The KIPO released a joint statement with the EPO that notes measures the KIPO has taken to support inventors during the COVID-19 crisis such as extending application and fee deadlines, introducing new online tools and services, and providing up-to-date patent databases for coronavirus-related technologies.  The full statement is available here.

The world’s five largest intellectual property offices (IP5) agreed to strengthen their cooperation to help tackle challenges posed by COVID-19.  In particular, the IP5 heads of office took stock of recent progress in advancing cooperation in the areas of new emerging technologies and artificial intelligence; enhancing harmonization of practices and procedures; strengthening work-sharing efforts; improving the quality and efficiency of examination, and further enhancing access to patent information.  The full statement is available here.

July 23, 2020

Taiwan

Applicants may apply for reinstatement where deadline was missed due to COVID-19.

The TIPO offered six new services to fight against the spread of COVID-19 including, but not limited to, making the information of global-pandemic prevention relevant patents accessible and making the information of potential COVID-19 drug patents accessible.  Further information can be found here

The TIPO announced relief for patent and trademark applicants who miss statutory or specified time periods because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The TIPO will hold the 2020 Taiwan Innotech Expo—the first major international exhibition to be held in-person since the COVID-19 outbreak began—from September 24-26 at the Taipei World Trade Center.

September 15, 2020

WIPO

Continuing Operations; Physically Closed.

The WIPO released a joint statement with Cornell University, INSEAD, and the 2020 GII Knowledge Partners that analyzes COVID-19’s expected impact on global innovation.

The WIPO will hold the third annual Conference on the Global Digital Content Market remotely because of COVID-19 from September 16-18.

September 15, 2020

WIPO

Updates available here.

Present Status

Offices

Closed to public until further notice.

Deadlines

Unchanged.

Misc.

All events and meetings have been canceled through the end of April; all communications should be done by electronic means.

September 15, 2020 – The WIPO will hold the third annual Conference on the Global Digital Content Market remotely because of COVID-19 from September 16-18. 

September 2, 2020 The WIPO released a joint statement with Cornell University, INSEAD, and the 2020 GII Knowledge Partners that analyzes COVID-19’s expected impact on global innovation, available here.

July 20, 2020 – WIPO has released a new online tool, the Madrid Application Assistant, available here, for the filing of international trademark applications.  

May 5, 2020 – WIPO has launched an online tool to track the steps taken by the worldwide IP community in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  It can be accessed here

April 21, 2020 – WIPO has introduced a new functionality for PATENTSCOPE to facilitate the location and retrieval of information contained in published patent documents that may be useful for innovators developing new technologies to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. 

April 9, 2020 – All communications with WIPO offices under the Patent Cooperation Treaty, the Madrid System, and the Hague System should be done by electronic means, as no physical communications will be accepted.    

March 20, 2020 – WIPO is continuing operations under the Patent Cooperation Treaty, the Madrid System, the Hague System, and the Lisbon System, as well as administering its various other IP and related systems.  The WIPO’s Arbitration and Mediation Center is also continuing its work processing domain name disputes under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy and other alternative dispute resolution cases.  The WIPO’s physical offices are closed for non-essential staff and the public and all meetings are postponed or canceled through the end of April.

March 17, 2020 – All events and meetings organized by WIPO have been canceled. However, the WIPO offices remain open. WIPO premises are closed except for essential personnel, but remote working arrangements have been made for most of WIPO personnel.

European Patents

Practice Group Head: Neil Coulson

European Patent Office

Updates available here

Present Status

Offices

Oral proceedings in opposition until December 31 are postponed until further notice unless already confirmed for videoconference or taking place via the EPO’s pilot project for oral proceedings; oral proceedings in examination will proceed via videoconference.

Deadlines

Deadlines falling on or after March 15 are extended to June 2.  Any documents received late will be deemed to have been received in due time if accompanied with evidence within five days of the end of the disruption, that the delay was caused by the exceptional circumstances within ten days of the due date.

Misc.

All in-person organized events through December 31 will take place online; customers are encouraged to use the EPO’s online services.

Parties at an oral proceeding before the Boards of Appeal are required to complete a screening questionnaire and wear face masks. 

All visitors are required to sign a declaration that they have taken a negative COVID-19 test at least five days after they visited a high risk area.

September 18, 2020 – All visitors are asked to abstain from visiting if they have recently visited a high risk area.  If they have been to a high risk area, they will only be allowed entry if they confirm having had a negative COVID-19 test result from at least five days after they left the high risk area.  

September 14, 2020 – In order to facilitate oral proceedings in opposition by videoconference, the EPO will begin testing Zoom for oral proceedings involving multiple opponents and/or requiring simultaneous interpretation. This testing will proceed as part of the EPO’s pilot program for oral proceedings.

September 10, 2020 – The EPO has released a series of videos highlighting inventor efforts to solve various COVID-19 issues.  The series, title Inventors Against Coronavirus, is intended to disseminate information to keep the public informed with expert viewpoints and help researchers make informed decisions.  The series is available here.

August 21, 2020 – The EPO is requesting that external partners refrain from visiting if they recently visited a high risk area and are requiring that any visitor seeking entry must sign a declaration that they have not visited a high risk area in the past two weeks.

August 3, 2020 – All in-person EPO events through December 31 will take place online, unless indicated otherwise.

July 30, 2020 – The EPO released a joint statement with the IP5 heads of office which confirmed that all five offices will continue to work together to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic.  The full statement is available here

July 29, 2020 – The EPO has postponed all oral proceedings in opposition scheduled until December 31, unless the proceeding has already been confirmed to take place or will be held via videoconference under the EPO’s pilot project.  The Boards of Appeal have also further revised their operations in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  The revised measures are available here.

July 16, 2020 – The EPO released joint statements with the USPTO and KIPO that note measures the EPO has taken to support inventors during the COVID-19 crisis such as extending fee deadlines, providing time extensions, updating patent databases for coronavirus-related technologies, and offering flexibility on hearings through video conferences or postponements.  The joint statement with the USPTO is available here, and the joint statement with the KIPO is available here.  

July 3, 2020 – All visitors are required to sign a declaration that they have not visited any high risk areas in the two weeks prior to visiting the EPO.   

June 30, 2020 – The EPO has released a joint statement with the China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA) on the response to COVID-19.

June 24, 2020 – The EPO updated information on extensions and interruptions in member states, available here.   

June 12, 2020 – The EPO postponed all organized live events until September 14.  

June 10, 2020 – The EPO has released a collection of documents outlining the measures taken by EPC contracting states regarding extension or interruption of periods before the respective offices.  

June 3, 2020 – The EPO has temporarily suspended Rule 51(2) which will allow applicants to delay the payment of renewal fees by up to three months without incurring an additional fee.  This was designed to ease the financial burden of patentees as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and applies to fees due from June 1 through August 31.  More information is available here.   

May 27, 2020 – The Office has published a notice reminding parties that documents received late will be deemed to have been received in due time if, within 5 days of the end of the disruption, the party submits evidence that, on any of the 10 days preceeding the due date, it was not possible to observe the due date as a result of the disruption. 

May 25, 2020 – The EPO has issued restrictions on oral proceedings before the Boards of Appeal which include completing a screening questionnaire (available here) in advance of their arrival, maintaining physical distancing, and wearing face masks on the way to oral proceeding rooms.  The Board may also require the use of face masks during oral proceedings.   

May 21, 2020 – The EPO has postponed all oral proceedings in opposition scheduled through September 14 (previously through June 2) which have not either already been confirmed to take place by videoconference or will be held by videoconference with the parties’ consent under the pilot project.  

May 19, 2020 – The EPO has released training materials and an FAQ for oral proceedings taking place by video conference, available here.  Further, in order to ensure the safety of all participant, the EPO has instituted certain restrictions that allow members of the public to attend hearings before the Boards of Appeal, including: the completion of a screening questionnaire by all participants and submission of interest in attendance to the EPO well in advance of the hearing. Further information regarding hearings before the Boards of Appeal is available here.

May 15, 2020 – The Boards of Appeal will resume hearings on May 18.  Parties and their representatives will be asked to inform the registry as soon as possible if they intend to attend. 

May 13, 2020 – Documents filed during telephone consultations and during hearings and interviews conducted by videoconference must now be emailed to the EPO and can no longer be faxed.  Instructions on how to submit these documents can be found on the EPO’s website here. 

May 6, 2020 – The EPO expects to resume holding oral proceedings before the Boards of Appeal, to a limited extent, on Monday, May 18.  While members of the public will be allowed to attend, only limited spots will be available.

May 4, 2020 – The EPO has extended all oral proceedings in opposition until June 2

May 1, 2020  The EPO has further extended deadlines until June 2

April 30, 2020 – The EPO and the USPTO have released a joint statement promising support for innovators during the COVID-19 crisis, available here.

April 16, 2020 – In light of COVID-19, the Office has extended all deadlines under the EPC and PCT to May 4, 2020. Any documents received late will be deemed to have been received in due time if accompanied with evidence within five days of the end of the disruption, that the delay was caused by the exceptional circumstances within ten days of the due date.

April 14, 2020 – The Office no longer considers certain countries or regions as higher risk for COVID given the global nature of the pandemic.

April  6, 2020 – The Office has provided further guidance for using online services during this time.  All customer service agents are now working from home.  Customers are encouraged to use their electronic Mailbox to receive EPO communications and use the Office’s online filing (CMS) and web-form filing for all procedures with the exception of: opposition, revocation, limitation, and appeal proceedings.  

April 1, 2020 – The Office has published a notice concerning oral proceedings and interviews to be held by videoconference. Oral proceedings held by videoconference are equivalent to those held on the premises of the EPO. Parties may request an oral proceeding be held on the premises of the EPO, with discretion given to the competent division.  Where the direct taking of evidence is required, oral proceedings will not be held. Further, other serious concerns may prevent a proceeding from being held via videoconference. No recording can be made of any part of oral proceedings held by videoconference.  

March 30, 2020 – Fees fixed by the decision of 12 December 2019 will not apply to payments effected on or after 1 April 2020 and having a due date on or before 31 March 2020, or for which the period for payment expires on that date. 

March 23, 2020 – All EPO organized events for March, April, and May have been canceled.

March 18, 2020 – All deadlines (for applicants under both the EPC and the PCT) in the period between March 15 and April 16 have been extended to April 17. Further, there will be no oral proceedings before the Boards of Appeal between March 16 and March 27. Oral proceedings before examining and oppositions divisions have been postponed, until further notice, until April 17, except those proceedings which have already been confirmed to be done by videoconference.  Further, all events hosted by the EPO have been postponed indefinitely. Other search, examination, and opposition activities will proceed. Given the uncertainty surrounding the present situation, they do not recommend making use of any extensions and will strive to meet all original deadlines so as not to cause any procedural delays or risk penalties. Anyone who has visited a high-risk area are asked not to visit the EPO.

European Union Intellectual Property Office

Updates available here

Present Status

Offices

Closed until further notice; all employees have been instructed to telework.

Deadlines

 

Misc.

The exceptional extensions period has ended and the number of publications in the Bulletin should increase over the coming weeks.

September 17, 2020 – The EUIPO annual high-level meetings that occur in the margins of the WIPO General Assemblies in Geneva will take place virtually during September and October because of the COVID-19 pandemic.  More information on the meetings is available here.  

July 24, 2020 – The EUIPO Executive Director released a video update which noted that the Office has seen an increase in trademark filings during the pandemic in comparison to previous years and confirmed that employees will return to the EUIPO’s headquarters in the beginning of September.  The EUIPO also released a news update that annual high-level meetings have been conducted virtually in place of the WIPO General Assemblies in Geneva. 

July 13, 2020 – The DesignEuropa 2020 ceremony has been postponed by 12 months, with an anticipated date of October 2021.  The DesignEuropa competition, which takes place every two years, honors excellence in design and design management among Registered Community Design holders in two categories: Small/Emerging Companies and Industry.  

June 22, 2020 – The EUIPO encourages parties who wish  to contact the EUIPO Examiner dealing with their file to call the information center at +43.965.13.9100. 

June 12, 2020 – The EUIPO Executive Director released a video update which confirmed that 70 volunteers have begun working at the Office again in preparation for everyone to return in September, noted that all the delayed trade marks have been published, described the Management Board and Budget Committee meeting, and highlighted the new SME initiatives.  

June 10, 2020 – The EUIPO has provided a pro bono hub which seeks to match SMEs with IP professionals offering pro bono services.  The application form is available here

June 8, 2020 – The EUIPO has provided an e-reply option directly in the communications tab of its eComm application.  Further, a “fax alternative” option is now available, which can be used where specific e-operations are not available, as outlined here.  

June 2, 2020 – The EUIPO republished a news article by Alicante News which provides guidance on time limits after the end of the extension period.  The article is available here.  

May 29, 2020 – The EUIPO Executive Director has released a video update outlining their plans for dealing with the increased workload corresponding with the end of the extension period on May 18.  

May 22, 2020 – The EUIPO’s exceptional extensions period has ended and the number of publications in the Bulletin should increase over the coming weeks.   

May 15, 2020 – EUIPO's COVID-19 measures will come to an end on May 19.  Parties may still request that certain deadlines be extended where allowed by statute; more information on these deadlines is available on the office’s website, here.

April 29, 2020 – EUIPO has further extended all deadlines until May 18.   

April 15, 2020 – The deadline for nominations and applications for the DesignEuropa Awards has been extended until May 8

March 19, 2020 –  The Executive Director has issued a decision that all time limits which fall between March 9 and April 30 have been extended to May 1 (which in effect extends the time limits to May 4).  The Office also provided further guidance that the reference to all time limits is meant to be read literally and applies to all procedural deadlines, whether set by the Office or by statute.  However, the extension does not apply to any proceedings before other authorities, for example bringing an action before the General Court against decisions by the Boards of Appeal. This extension is automatic, and applicants need not make a special application for it to apply.  In response to the “state of alarm” declared by the Spanish government on March 14, effective immediately all EUIPO staff will work from home. Otherwise, all business at the EUIPO should continue as usual.  

UKIPO

Updates available here

Present Status

Offices

Physical offices are closed; majority of staff have been equipped to work from home; no physical hearings will be booked or take place until June 1.

Deadlines

Normal operations resumed on July 30.

Misc.

All events and meetings have been canceled; the public may use the email address paperformcontingency@ipo.gov.uk to correspond with the office; no paper forms, faxes, or correspondence will be processed at this time;for Section 22 or 23 queries, please call 01633-813558; payments by check or over the phone will not be accepted.

The Office implemented temporary fee changes in place from July 30, 2020 to March 31, 2021 for patents, trademarks, and registered designs.

July 30, 2020 – The period of interruption due to COVID-19 has ended, and normal operations have begun at the Office.

July 17, 2020 – The Office has provided a certification that the period of interruption will end on July 29 and normal operations will resume on July 30.  The Office is now able to post documents in a limited capacity and will prioritize posting where email is not possible.  

July 15, 2020 – The Office has released a table to help customers determine whether renewal deadlines have been extended by the period of interruption.  The table is available here.   

July 1, 2020 – The Office implemented temporary fee changes in place from July 30, 2020 to March 31, 2021 for patents, trademarks, and registered designs, including:

  • fees for extensions of time will be zero
  • there will be no surcharge for payment of a patent application fee after the date of filing
  • fees to apply for reinstatement and restoration will be zero
  • for patents and designs, there will be no surcharge for payment of a renewal fee late
  • for trademarks, the surcharge for payment of a renewal fee late will be £1

More details on these changes are available here.

June 25, 2020 – The Office has clarified that, with respect to renewals, only letters in relation to patent renewals are not being issued.  Once the office re-opens these letters will be issued. 

June 22, 2020 – The Office has decided that the interrupted days periods will end on July 29.  Therefore, all interrupted days will expire on July 30.

May 29, 2020 – The Office has continued the Interrupted Days period.  The period will again be reviewed on June 22.  Until then, all time periods set out in relevant UK Acts and rules are suspended.  

May 26, 2020 – The Office has provided additional information about printing and posting documents.  

May 13, 2020 – The Office has provided additional information for emailing documents. 

May 7, 2020 – The Office has reviewed the status of the interrupted days period and has decided to continue it.  The Office will next review the interrupted days period on May 28 and will give at least two weeks’ notice prior to the end of the period.

May 4, 2020 – The Office can now issue Certified Office Copies by email, using the appropriate form: Patent Form 23, Trade Mark TM31R, or Design DF23. Further, payments and refunds may  be done entirely online, using the Office’s online payment tool (https://fees.ipo.gov.uk/pay), by bank transfer, or use of an IPO deposit account.  Payment will not be accepted by check or over the phone. 

April 20, 2020 – The Office has confirmed continuation of the Interrupted Days period, including the suspending of posting out of documents and notifications. The situation will be reevaluated on May 7.  

April 16, 2020 – UKIPO no longer has fax capability.

April  2, 2020 – The Office requests that applicants do not use the paperformcontingency@ipo.gov.uk for requests under Section 23 (permission to file patent applications abroad) or for Section 22 applications in general. Instead, the Office directs applicants to call 01633-813558 for advice.  

March 27, 2020 – Until further notice, March 24 and all subsequent days have been declared interrupted days.  Therefore, any deadlines for patents, supplementary protection certificates, trademarks, and designs, along with related applications, are extended until the end of the interrupted days period. The Office will provide a minimum two weeks’ notice to applicants and rights holders before ending the interrupted days period and will review the situation on April 17. Further, no paper forms, faxes, or paper correspondence can be processed at this time.  Customers are encouraged to communicate with the office at paperformcontingency@ipo.gov.uk.  

March 23, 2020 – UKIPO has created an email address that can used to correspond with the office in lieu of fax or mail.  The public is asked to use this address and use online services wherever possible. 

March 19, 2020 – The office confirms that its services are unaffected at present. However, the majority of employees have been equipped and will to work from home. Further, hearings will be conducted over telephone, and no in-person hearings will occur until June 1.

IP Australia

Updates available here

Present Status

Offices

Closed, with staff working from home;hearings will be conducted via video conference, telephone or written submission until further notice.

Deadlines

Applicants may request an extension of certain eligible deadlines through the standard process.If the office has the discretion to allow an extension of time, it will seek to do so.

Fees for some extensions of time that are requested through October 31 in response to the COVID-19 Pandemic will be waived.

Misc.

 

September 14, 2020 – The Office recognizes that the Stage 4 restrictions in Victoria due to COVID-19 may cause customers additional disruptions and will provide more flexibility to those who contact to Office to discuss circumstances.  Further, altered office operations, including the waiver of fees for extension of time requests, have been extended to October 31.  

August 13, 2020 - Fees will not apply for certain extensions of time during the COVID-19 pandemic that are requested from September 1 to September 30.  More information is available here.  

July 15, 2020 – Regulations regarding extension of time requests and the waiver of fees for such extensions due to the COVID-19 pandemic are extended through August 31

June 16, 2020 – Fees will not apply for certain extensions of time during the COVID-19 pandemic that are requested from July 1 to July 31.  More information is available here.   

June 12, 2020 – New regulations offer more flexibility for the Office to grant fee exemptions.   

May 25, 2020 – Fees for some extensions of time that are requested from June 1 to June 30 in response to the COVID-19 Pandemic will be waived.  More information is available here

April 22, 2020 – The Office has provided a standard text for requesting an extension of time.  Extensions of time up to three months are available and are free of charge.  These arrangements will be in place until at least May 31

April 9, 2020 – Applicants are advised to check the IP Australia website frequently for updates on the office’s response to COVID-19.  If applicants are affected by the outbreak the office will allow for extensions of time where it has discretion to do so.

April 1, 2020 – The staff of IP Australia is working from home, and so the office is no longer accepting physical filings.  Applicants are advised to use the office’s eService tool for filings. 

March 26, 2020 – IP Australia remains open for business; staff is largely working remotely, and hearings are being conducted via video or teleconference or on the papers. 

March 20, 2020 – Hearings will be conducted via video conference, telephone or written submission until further notice. The deadline extension guidance issued on March 19 applies to Plant Breeder’s Rights applications as well. Applicants should note that some time periods, including requirements to file a PBR application within the allowable prior sales period and submitting documents for priority claims in relation to foreign applications, cannot be extended. PBR examiners will not be conducting the examination of field trials for PBR purposes that involve domestic flights or overnight stays until further notice.

March 19, 2020 – Where an applicant cannot carry out an action within time due to the COVID-19 outbreak an extension of time may be available. Requests for extensions of time will need to be made in the normal way, accompanied where required by a declaration setting out how the COVID-19 outbreak interfered with responding in time. Requests for waiver or refund of the fee for the extension of time will be considered on a case by case basis as per current practice. Applicants should note that some time periods cannot be extended. Applicants should check with IP Australia or an intellectual property professional if they are uncertain whether an extension of time is possible.

 

ABOUT BAKER BOTTS L.L.P.
Baker Botts is an international law firm of approximately 750 lawyers practicing throughout a network of 14 offices around the globe. Based on our experience and knowledge of our clients' industries, we are recognized as a leading firm in the energy and technology sectors. Since 1840, we have provided creative and effective legal solutions for our clients while demonstrating an unrelenting commitment to excellence. For more information, please visit bakerbotts.com.

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