Suspension of the "Express Mail" Service of United States Postal Service
for mail addressed to ZIP Codes 202xx through 205xx
On Friday, November 16, 2001, the Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President of the United States Postal Service (USPS) issued a memorandum temporarily and immediately suspending Express Mail service to Washington, D.C., ZIP Codes 202xx through 205xx (e.g., 20231). The USPTO is designating this interruption in the Express Mail service of the USPS as a postal service interruption within the meaning of 35 U.S.C. 21(a) and 37 CFR 1.6(e).
The USPTO is establishing the following address which may be used (as an alternative to the address set out in 37 CFR 1.1) on an emergency basis for patent-related correspondence being delivered to the USPTO by the USPS's Express Mail service:
U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
P.O. Box 2327
Arlington, VA 22202
Special box designations (e.g., Box PCT) should be also included in the address as appropriate.
To the extent that the address provided in this notice is inconsistent with the address set forth in 37 CFR 1.1, the provisions of 37 CFR 1.1 (and 37 CFR 1.8 and 1.10) are hereby sua sponte waived such that correspondence addressed as set forth in this notice will be treated as if it were addressed as set forth in 37 CFR 1.1 for purposes of 37 CFR 1.8 and 1.10.
Parties may continue to use the Washington, D.C., 20231 addresses for the purposes set out in 37 CFR 1.1 if such correspondence is accepted by the USPS for delivery to the USPTO and is not returned to the sender. If such correspondence is not accepted by the USPS or is returned, it should be resubmitted to the USPTO using the procedure set forth below.
The USPTO published a notice in the Official Gazette on October 9, 2001, that provides guidance in the situation in which a post office refuses to accept the deposit of mail for delivery by Express Mail service. See United States Postal Service Interruption and Emergency, 1251 Off. Gaz. Pat. Office 55 (Oct. 9, 2001). This notice was also posted on the USPTO's Internet Web site (http://www.uspto.gov/september11/uspsnotice01.htm). The guidance set forth in that notice also applies if a post office refuses to accept the deposit of correspondence for delivery by Express Mail due to the suspension of the USPS's Express Mail service to Washington, D.C., ZIP Code 20231, as well as the situation in which correspondence is returned as undeliverable due to this suspension.
The guidance set forth in the above-mentioned Official Gazette notice is reproduced below:
UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE INTERRUPTIONS RELATING TO
EXPRESS MAIL SERVICE
Where the USPS refuses to accept the deposit of mail for delivery by express mail.
In some cases, due to the recent emergency, certain post offices are refusing to accept the deposit of mail for delivery by Express Mail service. The USPTO is also designating this interruption in the Express Mail service of the USPS as a postal service interruption within the meaning of 35 U.S.C. 21(a) and 37 CFR 1.6(e). In addition, if a party attempts to deposit correspondence for delivery to the USPTO with the USPS by Express Mail under 37 CFR 1.10 ("Express Mail Post Office to Addressee") and the USPS refuses to accept such correspondence, the party is advised to take the following action: mail the correspondence to the USPTO by registered or first class mail with a statement by the person who originally attempted to deposit the correspondence with the USPS by Express Mail. The statement must indicate the date on which the person attempted to deposit the correspondence with the USPS and that the USPS refused to accept the correspondence. The statement must be signed in accordance with 37 CFR 10.18. The correspondence should be mailed as set out in 37 CFR 1.1(a) and include the special box designation: BOX FILING DATE.
Where mail is put into an Express Mail "Drop Box" and given an incorrect "date in".
In some cases a person may use an Express Mail "drop box" without realizing that the local post office is not accepting Express Mail. In that situation, the provisions of 37 CFR 1.10(d) may apply. Usually 37 CFR 1.10(d) is invoked where correspondence is placed in an Express Mail "drop box" prior to the last pick up that is scheduled for the drop box for that day, but the USPS enters an incorrect "date-in" on the Express Mail mailing label, usually the next day's date. To invoke 37 CFR 1.10(d), however, a petition must be corroborated either by evidence from the USPS or by evidence that came into being after deposit and within one business day of the deposit of the correspondence in the Express Mail drop box (e.g., a copy of a log book indicating that the correspondence was deposited on the date in question). See MPEP 513 and TMEP 702.02(e).
Alternative Procedure Invoking "Extraordinary Circumstances"
If a party can demonstrate that due to extraordinary circumstances the above procedures could not be followed, it will be necessary to file a petition under 37 CFR 1.183 (patent matter) or 2.146(a)(5) and 2.148 (trademark matter) to waive the requirements of 37 CFR 1.10 to permit the USPTO to accord the correspondence a filing date as of the date that Express Mail deposit was attempted. Such a petition must be accompanied by a statement by the person who originally attempted to deposit the correspondence with the USPS by Express Mail, stating the date that the deposit was attempted and that the USPS refused to accept the correspondence, and be signed by such person subject to the conditions prescribed in 37 CFR 10.18.
Certificates of Mailing Under 37 CFR 1.8
Parties submitting correspondence to the USPTO are reminded that 37 CFR 1.8 (certificate of mailing or transmission practice) does not provide for according a filing date as of the date of deposit with the USPS to correspondence submitted under 37 CFR 1.8. Therefore, it would be inappropriate to file a petition under 37 CFR 1.183 or 2.146(a)(5) and 2.148 to waive the requirements of 37 CFR 1.8.
The address set forth in 37 CFR 1.1(a)(2)(i) for trademark filings and correspondence is not affected by this suspension of Express Mail service by the USPS (since it is not within Washington, D.C., ZIP Codes 202xx through 205xx). Therefore, trademark filings and correspondence should continue to be addressed to:
Assistant Commissioner for Trademarks
2900 Crystal Drive
Arlington, VA 22202-3513
Questions concerning this notice should be directed to Cynthia Nessler, Legal Advisor, Office of Patent Legal Administration at (703) 308-6906.
20 November 2001
Anne H. Chasser
Acting Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Acting Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office
NOTE: Effective June 24, 2002, 37 C.F.R. §1.10(a) has been amended. The Express Mail procedure provided in 37 C.F.R. §1.10 no longer applies to any of the following trademark documents:
- Trademark/Service Mark Application under §1 or §44 of the Trademark Act, 15 U.S.C. §1051 or §1126
- Statement of Use under §1(d) of the Trademark Act, 15 U.S.C. §1051(d)
- Amendment to Allege Use under §1(c) of the Trademark Act, 15 U.S.C. §1051(c)
- Request for Extension of Time to File a Statement of Use under §1(d) of the Trademark Act, 15 U.S.C. §1051(d)
- Affidavit or Declaration of Continued Use under Section 8 of the Trademark Act, 15 U.S.C. §1058
- Renewal Request under Section 9 of the Trademark Act, 15 U.S.C. §1059
- Combined Filing under Sections 8 and 9 of the Trademark Act, 15 U.S.C. §§1058 and 1059
- Combined Affidavit or Declaration under Sections 8 and 15 of the Trademark Act, 15 U.S.C. §§1058 and 1065
- Request to Change or Correct Address
If the documents listed above are filed by Express Mail, they will receive a filing date as of the date of receipt in the Office and not the date of deposit with the United States Postal Service. See notice at 67 Fed. Reg. 36099 (May 23, 2002) [PDF].