USPTO operating status during a lapse in federal appropriations

January 25, 2019

The USPTO is back to normal operating status.


January 24, 2019

The USPTO has been functioning as normal using its reserve funds, comprised of fees collected prior to the beginning of the partial lapse in funding on December 22, 2018. In the absence of an appropriations bill, we have no authority to access fees collected since that time in accordance with the law.

Based on current estimates and expenditure rates, we expect our reserves to fund patent operations to last until at least the second week in February, and trademark operations to last until at least mid-April 2019.

The agency continues to evaluate options for conserving funds to lengthen the time those operations can continue for as long as possible.


December 22, 2018

Although parts of the federal government have experienced a lapse in appropriated funding, the USPTO remains open for business as normal. This is possible because the agency has access to prior-year fee collections, which enables the USPTO to continue normal operations for a few weeks. Should the USPTO exhaust these funds before a partial government shutdown comes to an end, the agency would have to shut down at that time, although a small staff would continue to work to receive new applications and any other examination, post-examination, post-issuance, and PTAB or TTAB filings; receive payments related to such filings; and maintain IT infrastructure, among other functions.

Further information regarding any adjustments to the USPTO’s operating status will be posted on the USPTO website and delivered to the news media.