Legal Blog

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Offers Expedited Examination for COVID-19 Medical Goods and Services

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has announced a new initiative whereby at no additional cost it will conduct an expedited initial review of trademark applications for goods and services designed to prevent, diagnose, treat or cure COVID-19.  In order to qualify for this expedited review, an applicant must file the following items in sequence:

  • An application for registration of a trademark covering one or more of the following goods and/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; and medical services or medical research services for the prevention, diagnosis, treatment of, or cure for COVID-19. The applicant may also include additional related goods and/or services that do not meet these criteria, though it is unclear as yet how the Trademark Office will determine if additional goods are sufficiently related or if it will disqualify applications when it considers the goods and/or services to be too far afield.
  • A petition for expedited examination.  While the USPTO normally charges a $100 petition filing fee, it has determined that COVID-19 constitutes an “extraordinary situation” that warrants not only expedited initial examination but also a waiver of the usual petition fee.

The USPTO has taken this unusual step in recognition of the fact that it “will help to bring important and possibly life-saving treatments to market more quickly” according to Andrei Iancu, the Director of the USPTO.  The initiative will continue until the USPTO announces an end date.   More information about this program is available in the USPTO’s announcement. To learn more or to discuss options for trademark registration for COVID-related goods or services in the United States, please reach out to us.


Laura J. Winston is a principal in the firm’s intellectual property group. Ms. Winston focuses her law practice primarily in the areas of trademarks, copyrights and the internet, representing a broad range of clients from individual business owners and small startup ventures to established Fortune 500 and publicly-traded companies both domestically and abroad. Ms. Winston practiced both at large firms and specialized intellectual property firms, before co-founding an intellectual property boutique firm. Her industry experience covers various industries as diverse as pharmaceuticals and medical devices, print and online publishing, computer-related goods and services, alternative energy, and travel and transportation.







Matthew Asbell assists clients in clearing, obtaining, enforcing, and defending trademark rights in the United States and throughout the world.  He also provides advice on patents, copyrights, domain names, and other related areas.  With prior background in the entertainment industry, information technology, and medicine, he is comfortable working with a wide range of clients in diverse industries.  In addition, his certifications as a Social Media Strategist and software Master Instructor equip him to handle complex intellectual property matters arising in the Web 2.0 space.








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