After being closed for more than two years due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the USPTO has opened all locations to employees and resumed some public in-person events. That said, PTAB hearings and TTAB hearings are still being conducted by video / telephone only. The USPTO has not indicated when in-person hearings might resume.
Still mindful of the pandemic, the USPTO is implementing some coronavirus precautions.
Visitors are to review a health questionnaire and “may not enter facilities if they answer ‘yes’ to any of the questions.”
In communities with low or medium Covid-19 transmission levels, wearing a mask is optional.
In communities with high Covid-19 transmission levels, wearing a mask is mandatory.
The USPTO’s main campus is located in Alexandria, Virginia, which is currently experiencing a medium transmission rate according to the CDC website.
It is not surprising that most upcoming USPTO events are still virtual, but there is one in-person event on the calendar already, at the Dallas Regional Office on June 15:
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June 15, 2022 10:00 AM CT
207 S. Houston St. # 159
Dallas, TX 75202
The USPTO’s announcement does not specifically mention in-person examiner interviews, which of course would require the examiner to be present at a USPTO site. Even pre-pandemic the USPTO had a generous telework policy, so it will be interesting to see how many examiners return to work on-campus. Maybe those who will welcome the opportunity to conduct in-person interviews with stakeholders who still believe face-to-face meetings can be more productive than video conferences.
© 2022 Foley & Lardner LLPNational Law Review, Volume XII, Number 151