USPTO remains open during government shutdown
Despite the shutdown, there is no reason to put off applying for trademark or patent protection.
The United States’ government is amid a shut-down, the longest in its history. Until Congress passes an appropriations bill approved by the President (or with enough support to override his veto), there is not an end in sight. However, the United States Patent and Trademark Office remains open. The USPTO is a fee funded agency. Patent and trademark applicants and owners pay fees to the USPTO. While Congress appropriates those funds back to the agency, if the USPTO brings in more than is appropriated, it sets them aside. However, that is not the money funding the Patent and Trademark Office.
The USPTO placed appropriated spending into an operating reserve. It treated the money for appropriations purposes. The USPTO has operated off those funds during the shutdown. They are now dwindling. When they do, the USPTO indicated it will stop examination activity. But it intends to keep a small staff to accept new applications and accept fees associated with them.
So, if you apply for a trademark or a patent, it will still accept the application. Given issues concerning priority, it is usually advisable to get your application on file as soon as possible. The shutdown does not change that reality. Contact Jonathan if you have questions regarding the shutdown’s effects on the USPTO.