MBHB Preparedness Plan Regarding the 2019 Novel Coronavirus / COVID-19: March 11

To all MBHB clients:

Like you, McDonnell Boehnen Hulbert & Berghoff LLP (“MBHB”) has been closely monitoring news regarding 2019 Novel Coronavirus / COVID-19.  As always, our primary goals are to maintain the health and well-being of our employees and to take every possible step to ensure that your matters are handled properly.

As updated information becomes available from the federal and local government agencies, we have taken several steps to make sure that our obligations to clients are met, regardless of the scope of any emergency.  In particular, we have taken steps to ensure all of our employees, including attorneys and staff, are able to work from home and have been cross-trained on client functions to avoid any interruption of client services. 

At this time, we do not expect that Coronavirus / COVID-19 will interrupt services at the U.S. PTO.  Many examiners currently work from home, and the PTO is set up to allow many more to do so as well.  The virus may impact scheduling of PTAB hearings, however, and preclude in-person interviews. 

Courts may also be affected, as judges may reschedule hearings and trials, especially jury trials, pending resolution of the outbreak.  Federal courts in the Western District of Washington (Tacoma and Seattle), for example, have cancelled jury trials until the court reviews the situation on March 31. 

We would like to take this opportunity to remind you of the CDC’s best practices for Coronavirus / COVID-19, which you can view here. For example:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.

The CDC has also published guidance for businesses and employers on their site. We encourage you to consult the CDC’s website on an ongoing basis.


Gavin O’Keefe

Managing Partner, MBHB