TMEP 1712.02(b): Formal Petition

This is the October 2015 Edition of the TMEP

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1712.02(b)    Formal Petition

If a registrant failed to timely respond to an Office action refusing to accept a §8 affidavit, §71 affidavit, or §9 renewal application due to an extraordinary situation, but the registrant does not have the proof of USPTO error that would support a request for reinstatement, the registrant may file a formal petition under 37 C.F.R. §§2.146(a)(5) and 2.148 to accept a late response. Pursuant to 37 C.F.R. §2.146(d), the petition must be filed within two months of the issue date of the cancellation notice. If the registrant did not receive the cancellation notice, or no cancellation notice was issued, the petition must be filed within two months of the date the Trademark database was updated to indicate that the registration expired or was cancelled. See 37 C.F.R. §2.146(d). See TMEP §§1705.04 and 1705.05 regarding timeliness and diligence.

The unintentional delay standard of 37 C.F.R. §2.66 does not apply to registered marks. TMEP §1714.01(f)(ii)(D). Under 37 C.F.R. §§2.146(a)(5) and 2.148, the Director may waive any provision of the rules that is not a provision of the statute, only when an extraordinary situation exists, justice requires, and no other party is injured. See TMEP §1708. The failure to receive an Office action is considered an extraordinary situation that justifies a waiver of a rule. Therefore, if the registrant did not receive an Office action refusing to accept an affidavit or renewal application, but the registrant does not have proof that non-receipt was due to USPTO error (see TMEP §1712.02(a), paragraph 9), the registrant may file a formal petition under 37 C.F.R. §2.146. The petition should include a clear statement that the Office action was not received and either a complete response to the Office action, to expedite acceptance of the maintenance filing, or a request that the Office action be reissued.

As noted in TMEP §1708, the Director has no authority to waive a statutory requirement, such as the deadline for filing a proper renewal application under 15 U.S.C. §1059 or affidavit of use of a registered mark under 15 U.S.C. §1058. Therefore, if the registrant did not timely file a §8 affidavit, §71 affidavit, §9 renewal application, a petition to extend or waive the statutory deadline will be dismissed, regardless of the reason for the delay.

If a registrant contends that a proper affidavit or renewal application was timely filed, but the registrant does not have proof that the affidavit or renewal application was received in the USPTO before the due date, the Director will not grant a petition to accept the affidavit or renewal application.

Similarly, if a registrant files a premature affidavit or renewal application, and does not file a newly executed affidavit or renewal application within the statutory filing period (which includes the grace period), the Director will not grant a petition to accept the premature affidavit or renewal application. See TMEP §§1604.04(a) and 1606.03(a).