Nearly all companies are working together on a virtual scale that we have never seen before. Parents are home with the kids who are out of school. Home care must be given to the old, sick and infirmed. Some may be voluntarily quarantined. Others are practicing social distancing. Restaurants and clubs are indefinitely closed. Many U.S. manufacturers, like automakers, are simply shutting down to protect employees, avoid lawsuits and minimize losses.
Wherever possible, prepared companies have turned to virtual office initiatives and are happy that they have set up such contingencies. There are a few more considerations for the virtual office to work in these times.
Management must still be vigilant in protecting the company's inventions with patents, making sure that issued patents are properly maintained with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), and being sure that new trademarks are cleared for unhindered use and registered trademarks are kept up to date with the USPTO.
Taft, with over 100 intellectual property lawyers, is here for you should a need arise. Your patent and trademark registrations are safely in our manned docket systems and vigilantly watched for due dates by our paralegals and attorneys. There are a few things that management should be mindful of in a virtual business setting:
- Remind your engineers to safeguard and keep recording and submitting their invention disclosures and drawings for management considerations.
- Remind marketing and sales to not use trademarks until they have been cleared by trademark clearance searches and opinions.
- Remind all employees that they should safeguard their computers and not open any of the increasing unknown or suspicious emails and attachments to keep computers in good health.
- For the time being, the USPTO has also waived fees ($1,000-$2000) to revive accidentally abandoned patent and trademark registrations and applications.
- The European Patent Office (EPO) has extended all deadlines to April 17, 2020.
- The European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) — for European trademarks and community designs — has extended all time limits to May 1, 2020.
- The German Patent and Trademark Office (GPTO) grants extensions of terms.
If you have any questions about protecting your intellectual property, please contact a member of our Taft Intellectual Property practice.