The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is designating the interruption in service of the United States Postal Service (USPS) in the areas affected by a series of hurricanes that started with Hurricane Frances in Florida on September 3, 2004 as a postal service interruption and an emergency within the meaning of 35 U.S.C. § 21(a). Accordingly, 37 C.F.R. § 2.195(e) is in effect immediately for all trademark-related correspondence originating from the affected areas.
Postal services in Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Puerto Rico have been suspended intermittently since Friday, September 3, 2004, due to a series of hurricanes (Frances, Ivan, and most recently Jeanne) that have affected these areas. To determine whether a post office has been closed or postal services suspended in a particular area due to these hurricanes, contact the post office directly or visit the USPS website at: www.usps.com.
During this emergency, trademark customers are encouraged to use the Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS) at http://teas.uspto.gov, to file trademark-related documents.
If access to the Internet is not available or the document cannot be filed through TEAS, trademark customers in the affected areas should follow 37 C.F.R. §2.195(e), by complying with the following:
(1) Promptly mail their correspondence to the USPTO when postal services resume; and
(2) Include a statement with the correspondence that "the correspondence would have been filed on (specify date) but for the interruption of the USPS due to severe weather conditions during the 2004 hurricane season."
The USPTO will consider paper correspondence submitted pursuant to 37 C.F.R. §2.195(e) as filed in the USPTO on the date the correspondence would have been mailed but for the USPS interruption caused by the hurricanes. This rule applies only if the correspondence address of record originates from an affected area and the post office was closed or the postal services suspended in that area on the specified date due to the hurricanes.
As soon as all affected post offices return to normal operations, the USPTO will post updated information regarding this situation on the USPTO website at www.uspto.gov and will publish a final notice in the Official Gazette regarding the postal interruptions.
Inquiries concerning this notice may be directed to the Trademark Assistance Center by e-mail at: TrademarkAssistanceCenter@uspto.gov, or by telephone to: (703) 308-9000 or (800) 786-9199.