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In an October 16, 2013 blog post, World Trademark Review quoted Venable partner Andrew Price on the possible shutdown of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). If Congress is unable to strike a budget deal before the end of the week, then the USPTO might be forced to close shop.

Commenting on the current climate in Washington, Price said “It’s like watching a boat in a storm: one moment, it looks like the waters are settling and a compromise is near; the next, a wave of discord arises and it seems we’ll tip into further shutdown and default. I’ve seen a lot of Washington storms as a lifetime Washingtonian. This storm will eventually end – hopefully sooner rather than later.”

If the USPTO closes, Price said he does not “expect a major impact in the short-term,” explaining that the “USPTO has a plan to ensure its website continues to work for electronic filing and the office would have a very ‘skeletal’ staff.” But, Price did note that a shutdown could affect the ability to communicate with examining attorneys and others at the USPTO. “Now is the time to get in touch with examiners and others at the USPTO, to the extent you need their input or assistance in any key matters,” he advised.