Update from POPA President Kathy Duda
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act
The CARES Act, section 12004, gives the Director of the USPTO the authority to "toll, waive, adjust, or modify any timing deadline." Last Tuesday, USPTO announced 30 day extensions for various responses including response to office actions with dues dates between March 27, 2020 and April 30, 2020 (inclusive). A statement that the delay in filing or payment was due to the COVID-19 outbreak is required with the filing. The Patents statement can be found here with complete information on the extensions.
Due to this extension, examiners should wait at least 7 months to contact applicants before abandoning applications, 8 months from the date of a notice of appeal, to avoid potential revivals of applications. A memo was sent to examiners this morning.
Dependent Care and Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)
We have been told for about a week that information is going to be coming out to employees but the message has not been cleared yet.
POPA has not received any information about time compensation for the current biweek due to the inefficiencies of working without a complete suite of equipment. We have made it clear to management that this information should come out before the biweek ends and not after.
Patent examiners on ad hoc, PTP-10, and PTP-20 should have received an email about receiving a SOHO router if you didn't already have one. Employees are supposed to receive an email from the deployment team when it is ready to be shipped.
Patent examiners without a docking station should request one from the Service Desk (2-9000).
Hopefully, information will be coming out soon on how examiners without a monitor can receive one monitor.
POPA has requested printers for employees and paper/toner but haven't received decisions on these yet.
POPA has received questions about the telework training mentioned on USPTO Weekly and the proper disposal of documents. We are awaiting further guidance from management on if time to take the training is available and proper disposal of documents.