The worldwide COVID-19 pandemic has dampened many commercial operations in countries around the world, including the United States. Although the U.S. stock market underwent a historical pull-back and rebound in a matter of a few short months, new unemployment filings are still at record highs and corporate budgets have been slashed to minimize expenses. In a large sense, corporate profits for the first half of 2020 are down for many companies compared to the end of 2019, though the technology sector is down less than others. As companies scramble to reduce expenses, IP budgets may be on the chopping block. One approach for reducing IP expenditures is to cut prosecution costs by abandoning applications, and patent application abandonments have indeed increased. Another approach for reducing expenditures is to file fewer patent applications (which may offer added cost savings as USPTO fees have now risen – with some fees increased by 25%-200%). Some predicted that new patent application filings would drop significantly, possibly as high as a year-over-year decline of 20% vs. 2019.
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