Patent Applications submitted to USPTO between 11SEP2001 and 01DEC2001 via USPS

The fiscal year 2002 patent application filing rate is currently less than anticipated by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The USPTO suspects that this decrease may be due to postal service delays caused by increased security procedures related to the discovery of anthrax in a Washington DC mail facility.

Any patent applicant who submitted a patent application to the USPTO between September 11, 2001 and December 1, 2001 via the United States Postal Service (USPS), and who has not received either a patent application filing receipt or a stamped postcard return receipt from the USPTO (MPEP 503), is advised to promptly take the following course of action:

Express Mail: If the patent application was originally submitted using the "Express Mail" mailing procedures set forth in 37 CFR 1.10, applicant should first check with the USPS for confirmation of delivery to the USPTO. Status may be checked using the track/confirm feature on the USPS's Web site at http://www.usps.com/shipping/epstrac.htm. If the USPS does not confirm delivery of the patent application to the USPTO, applicant should promptly file a petition under 37 CFR 1.10(e) (as discussed below).

If the USPS confirms delivery of the patent application to the USPTO, the Office of Initial Patent Examination (OIPE) customer service center may be able to provide the application number and filing date of the application. The OIPE customer service center is frequently able to identify the patent application number from the Express Mail number or from payment information. Any request for the application number and filing date of an application should be submitted by facsimile to 703-308-7751. The facsimile should include the Express Mail mailing label or the Express Mail mailing label number and date mailed, a copy of original transmittal letter, the docket number, name of the first inventor, and contact information. In addition, the facsimile should include the following payment information: (1) if payment was by check, include a copy of the front and back of the check or the bank routing number, account number, check number, and payment amount; (2) if payment was by authorization to charge a deposit account, include the deposit account number and amount of payment; or (3) if payment was by authorization to charge a credit card, include the credit card number and amount of payment. The OIPE customer service center will conduct a search of its computer records for the application and reply within three business days with either the application number and filing date found in its computer records or a response that the application number was not found. Applicant may contact the OIPE customer service center by telephone at 703-308-1202.

If the patent application was originally submitted using the "Express Mail" mailing procedures set forth in 37 CFR 1.10 and the OIPE customer service center is unable to locate the application, applicant should promptly file a petition under 37 CFR 1.10(e) (no fee required) including:

(1) a copy of the "Express Mail" mailing label showing the "date-in" (or copy of any other official notation by the USPS relied upon to show the date of deposit);
(2) a copy of the originally deposited application papers showing the number of the "Express Mail" mailing label as placed on the originally deposited papers; and
(3) a statement that the copy of the "Express Mail" mailing label and copy of the originally deposited application papers are true copies of the "Express Mail" mailing label and originally deposited application papers.

If the petition complies with the requirements of 37 CFR 1.10(e) and the application is otherwise entitled to a filing date, the USPTO will accord the application a filing date as of the date the patent application was originally deposited with the USPS as shown by the "date-in" on the "Express Mail" mailing label or other official USPS notation.

Other than Express Mail: If the patent application was not originally submitted using the "Express Mail" mailing procedures set forth in 37 CFR 1.10, the OIPE customer service center may be still able to provide the application number and filing date of the application. Any request for the application number and filing date of an application should be submitted by facsimile at 703-308-7751. The facsimile should include a copy of original transmittal letter, the docket number, name of the first inventor, contact information and the following payment information: (1) if payment was by check, include a copy of the front and back of the check or the bank routing number, account payment information; (2) if payment was by authorization to charge a deposit account, include the deposit account number and amount of payment; or (3) if payment was by authorization to charge a credit card, include the credit card number and amount of payment. The OIPE customer service center will conduct a search of its computer records for the application and reply within three business days with either the application number and filing date found in its computer records or a response that the application number was not found. Applicant may contact the OIPE customer service center by telephone at 703-308-1202.

If the OIPE customer service center is unable to locate the application, applicant should promptly file a copy of the originally deposited application papers. The application will be accorded a filing date as of the date the copy is received in the USPTO or the copy is deposited with the USPS in accordance with the "Express Mail" mailing procedures set forth in 37 CFR 1.10. Any applicant dissatisfied with that filing date may also file a petition under 37 CFR 1.182 or 1.183 (as appropriate) with the $130.00 petition fee accompanied by the evidence and argument(s) that the applicant wants the USPTO to consider in determining whether the application is entitled to an earlier filing date. This should not be taken as an indication that any such petition will necessarily be granted. See MPEP 513.

Applicants should mail the copy of the application and any petition to:

Mail Stop Filing Date
U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
P.O. Box 2327
Arlington, VA 22202

Alternatively, applicant may hand-carry the copy of the application and any petition to the Customer Service Window located in Room 1B03 of Crystal Plaza Building 2, Arlington, Virginia, 22202.

Inquiries regarding this notice should be directed to Senior Legal Advisor Eugenia A. Jones at 703-306-5586.

Date: 11 March 2002 Signed:

/s/
Stephen G. Kunin
Deputy Commissioner
for Patent Examination Policy