The US Patent and Trademark Office has announced a major new programme to enable applicants for trade mark registration for brand names for COVID-19 related medical products and services. It will be possible for an trade mark applicant to request acceleration of the trade mark registration process and the fees for prioritizing the examination will be waived.
To be eligible, the trade mark application must be for one of the following medical goods or services:
- 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
The application can also include other products.
This is good news for applicants of US trade marks where the registration process can often take many months to complete. The prioritized examination will also open to European and other overseas applicants.
Currently there is no similar process in the European IP Office in operation. However, trade mark applications in Europe generally proceed to registration much quicker than in the United States.
It’s not clear how long this procedure will be in place. The official notice on the US PTO’s website gives no time limit.