USPTO is closed today – not?

See the Office of Personnel Management announcement which says:

FEDERAL OFFICES in the Washington, DC area are CLOSED. Emergency and telework-ready employees required to work must follow their agency’s policies, including written telework agreements.

I wrote:

The USPTO is closed today, Friday, March 2, 2018.

Normally at this time of year such a closure would be due to a dusting of snow.  But the reason for the closure is “high wind”.

Oh, and at the risk of stating the obvious, this means that any response or action that would have been due today will be timely if filed by this coming Monday, March 5, 2018.

But people are telling me they think the USPTO is actually open today.  If this is true, then maybe the resetting of response dates to Monday won’t happen after all.

I will investigate further.

10 thoughts on “USPTO is closed today – not?

  1. hmmm this is the perfect opportunity to insert a comment about the continual presence of “high wind” in Washington

  2. I just called the USPTO (at 9:00 a.m., 03/02/18) and they said that “yes” they are closed, but that today’s deadlines are still due today. Before you automatically assume that deadlines get pushed back to Monday, please be sure to call in to the USPTO.

    • The USPTO statement is inconsistent with its regulation and procedure. If the Federal government in DC is closed due to an unscheduled event such as adverse weather, the day is treated as a “federal holiday within the District of Columbia.” See 37 C.F.R. § 1.9(h) and 35 C.F.R. § 2.2 and MPEP 510 and TMEP 309. If it is a “federal holiday within the District of Columbia,” then filing deadlines are moved to the next business day. The Office of Personnel Management has declared the Federal government in DC closed due to high winds, so deadlines should be extended according to USPTO’s regulations. I’m curious about the basis of the USPTO representative’s statement that the office is closed but the deadlines still apply.

  3. Does that mean that in Los Angeles we can take a weather day off if the temperature goes down to 40°?

  4. OPM is the one who makes the call about closing the Government for adverse weather conditions, but the new “closure” policy states that employees must follow their agency’s policy – for us, if we are “telework ready” or already scheduled to telework or work remotely, we must work. I can usually log into my computer remotely, even if I don’t take my laptop home (alas on Friday, I was without power at home, so that didn’t work, and I got to take the day off). So, for USPTO employees who already work remotely on most days, they were very likely required to work. The telework program really allows agencies to continue operations even in an emergency. It is part of our continuity of operations plan.

    Link to OPM Operating Status website: https://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/snow-dismissal-procedures/current-status/
    Link to Friday’s status: https://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/snow-dismissal-procedures/status-archives/18/3/2/Federal-Offices-are-Closed—Emergency-and-Telework-ready-Employees-Must-Follow-Their-Agencys-Policies_812/

  5. 3/21/2018, same situation: People in some departments of the USPTO are answering phones today (EBC or inventor’s assistance desk) didn’t seem to know whether they were officially open or closed today. Thanks to your blog comments, MPEP 510 says to call the following PTO number 571-272-1000 to find out whether the Office is officially closed on a particular day. I called 571-272-1000 and got an automated message that the PTO is closed today and the message discussed treatment of deadlines. It seems nuts that the PTO management hasn’t informed the other departments that the PTO is officially closed.

    Here’s the sections quoted so you don’t have to look for it:
    MPEP 510 MPEP 510: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Business Hours
    I.FILING OF PAPERS DURING UNSCHEDULED CLOSINGS OF THE U.S. PATENT AND TRADEMARK OFFICE
    37 CFR 1.9(h) provides that the definition of “Federal holiday within the District of Columbia” includes an official closing of the Office. When the entire USPTO is officially closed for business for an entire day, for reasons due to adverse weather or other causes, the Office will consider each such day a “Federal holiday within the District of Columbia” under 35 U.S.C. 21. Any action or fee due on such a day may be taken, or fee paid, on the next succeeding business day the Office is open. In addition, 37 CFR 1.6(a)(1) provides “[t]he Patent and Trademark Office is not open for the filing of correspondence on any day that is a Saturday, Sunday or Federal holiday within the District of Columbia” to clarify that any day that is a Saturday, Sunday or Federal holiday within the District of Columbia is a day that the USPTO is not open for the filing of applications within the meaning of Article 4(C)(3) of the Paris Convention. Note further that in accordance with 37 CFR 1.6(a)(2), even when the Office is not open for the filing of correspondence on any day that is a Saturday, Sunday or federal holiday within the District of Columbia, correspondence deposited as Priority Mail Express® with the United States Postal Service in accordance with 37 CFR 1.10 will be considered filed on the date of its deposit, regardless of whether that date is a Saturday, Sunday or federal holiday within the District of Columbia (under 35 U.S.C. 21(b) or 37 CFR 1.7).

    When the USPTO is open for business during any part of a business day between 8:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., papers are due on that day even though the Office may be officially closed for some period of time during the business day because of an unscheduled event. The procedures of 37 CFR 1.10 may be used for filing applications.

    Information regarding whether or not the Office is officially closed on any particular day may be obtained by calling 1-800-PTO(786)-9199 or (571) 272-1000.

    New patent applications filed in accordance with 37 CFR 1.10 will be stamped by the Office with the date of deposit as Priority Mail Express® with the United States Postal Service. For example, if a new patent application is deposited in Priority Mail Express® in accordance with 37 CFR 1.10 on a Saturday and the United States Postal Service gives it a date of deposit of Saturday, the Office will accord and stamp the correspondence with the Saturday date. 37 CFR 1.6(a)(2).

    35 U.S.C. 21 Filing date and day for taking action.
    (a) The Director may by rule prescribe that any paper or fee required to be filed in the Patent and Trademark Office will be considered filed in the Office on the date on which it was deposited with the United States Postal Service or would have been deposited with the United States Postal Service but for postal service interruptions or emergencies designated by the Director.
    (b) When the day, or the last day, for taking any action or paying any fee in the United States Patent and Trademark Office falls on Saturday, Sunday, or a Federal holiday within the District of Columbia, the action may be taken, or fee paid, on the next succeeding secular or business day.

    37 CFR 1.9(h): A Federal holiday within the District of Columbia as used in this chapter means any day, except Saturdays and Sundays, when the Patent and Trademark Office is officially closed for business for the entire day.

    37 CFR 2.2(d): Federal holiday within the District of Columbia means any day, except Saturdays and Sundays, when the United States Patent and Trademark Office is officially closed for business for the entire day.

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