The USPTO has officially announced that it has reserve funding from the fees it collects that will allow it to remain open and functioning “as usual” for a few weeks. The announcement is not specific as to how long it can remain open and does acknowledge that it will have to close when its funds run out. Here is an excerpt of the official statements:
As you learned from Secretary Ross’s announcement earlier today, the USPTO will remain open and running as normal if the federal government shuts down tonight. For tomorrow, and for the near future, it will be business as usual within the USPTO.
Because the USPTO maintains sufficient carryover funding from prior fiscal years, our agency has the ability to stay open for business for a few weeks using these available reserves. During that time we would continue to conduct our duties and serve our nation by processing the patent and trademark applications that drive our country’s innovative economy. Should we exhaust these funds before a government shutdown comes to an end, the USPTO would have to shut down at that time, although a very small staff would continue to work to accept new applications and maintain IT infrastructure, among other functions.
If you have any critical applications to get filed or responses that can be filed in the next 2 weeks, we recommend that you move these activities to the top of your to-do list. Just in case.