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September 19, 2000
#00-54

CONTACT:
Kim Byars
703-305-8341

Press Release, 00-54

USPTO Introduces New E-Mail Response Message System

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has announced that the agency recently introduced the Email Response Messaging System (ERMS) which allows customers and the public to access the Office of Customer Support Services, General Information Services Division at the USPTO through standard email exchange.

Customers are now able to send general information inquiries to the USPTO, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If customers ask one of 48 frequently asked questions, they are sent pre-approved responses. If the customer’s email contains questions that can’t be answered via email, including questions where more details or clarification is needed then the customer is sent an email requesting that he/she call the 800-786-9199 number.

About 70 emails a day have been received since ERMS's introduction on August 31, 2000. To find out more about the service, visit www.uspto.gov/web/menu/feedback.html and select "Contact Us."

"The USPTO continues to adapt its operations to the ease of the Internet," said Q. Todd Dickinson, Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office. "We believe our customers appreciate the convenience of USPTO's email services, e-commerce initiatives, particularly small businesses and independent inventors, who are more inclined to handle business personally."

USPTO, a user fee-funded agency of the United States, within the Department of Commerce, administers laws relevant to granting patents and registering trademarks. The Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office advises the Secretary of Commerce and other Federal departments and agencies on intellectual property policy matters. Over 6 million patents have been issued since the first patent in 1790 and 2.3 million trademarks have been registered since the first in 1870. Last year USPTO issued 161,000 patents and registered 104,000 trademarks.

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