The PTO recently fell victim to a catastrophic power failure responsible for missed electronic filing dates during the period December 22-24, 2015.  Is a deadline within that period met through a subsequent filing relying upon a “holiday” notice purporting to make each of these three dates a “holiday” under 35 USC § 21?

Liability for Missed Deadlines keyed to a “Holiday” Notice:  If Section 21 provides no statutory basis for the “holidays”, to what extent is there any liability for failure to meet a deadline?  Should the PTO have legislation introduced to retroactively declare each of December 22-24, 2015, a holiday within the meaning of 35 USC § 21(b)?  To what extent is there practitioner liability for choosing to delay a filing with reliance upon a “holiday” notice?

The pdf version of this note supplies details.