Last month, the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO) began an initiative to expedite the review of, and waive the fees related to, trademark applications for marks used to identify qualifying Covid-19 products and services.  According to the USPTO’s website, this initiative launched “in view of the critical need to develop and help speed to market medical products and services to combat the COVID-19 virus.”

Only applications for marks covering these medical products and services are eligible for this expedited procedure:

  • Pharmaceutical products or medical devices such as diagnostic tests, ventilators, and personal protective equipment, including surgical masks, face shields, gowns, and gloves, that prevent, diagnose, treat, or cure COVID-19 and are subject to approval by the United States Food and Drug Administration.
  • Medical services or medical research services for the prevention, diagnosis, treatment of, or cure for COVID-19.

However, the application may also include additional related goods or services.

It is unclear how long this program will be in effect, but the USPTO has indicated that it will monitor the resource/workload needs associated with it, its effectiveness, and any public feedback. If the USPTO decides to modify or end the program, it will first notify the public.

For a more detailed explanation of this program and its benefits, see the USPTO’s website and an alert written by two of our colleagues.