Starting today, individuals or entities applying for marks in connection with COVID-19-related goods will be able to obtain prioritized examination of their applications. Typically, trademark applications are examined by the United States and Trademark Office (USPTO) in the order in which they are received. Examination may be expedited in extraordinary circumstances. In view of the COVID-19 pandemic and the need to quickly develop goods and services to fight the coronavirus, the USPTO has implemented a new program that accelerates or prioritizes the initial examination of COVID-19-related applications.

For applications to be eligible for prioritized examination, applicants must do the following:

  1. File a trademark application that covers one or more of the medical goods and services listed below:
    • 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; and
    • Medical services or medical research services for the prevention, diagnosis, treatment of, or cure for COVID-19.
  2. File a Petition to the Director. The petition must include (i) the new application’s serial number; and (ii) a statement, supported by an affidavit or declaration, listing the applicant’s COVID-19 goods and/or services and explaining why those items qualify for prioritized examination. The USPTO will waive the fee for the petition.

Currently, there is no end date to the prioritized examination program. The USPTO will notify the public if it decides to modify or terminate this program.