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Trademarks - Paper Copies and Access

NEW USPTO POLICIES REGARDING (1) GENERATION OF PAPER COPIES OF TRADEMARK-RELATED DOCUMENTS AND (2) PUBLIC ACCESS TO EXISTING PAPER COPIES OF TRADEMARK-RELATED DOCUMENTS

USPTO Will Cease Creating Paper Copies of Various Trademark Related Documents

Beginning on April 12, 2004 , the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) will no longer create paper copies of certain trademark-related documents that are submitted to the USPTO in electronic format. Additionally, on April 12, 2004, the USPTO will cease to generate paper copies of certain trademark documents that the USPTO creates, except for copies that are sent to recipients by mail. Instead, USPTO employees, as well as interested members of the public, will view these documents using the Trademark Image Capture and Retrieval System (TICRS) , a database that features images of the documents associated with application and registration files.

Currently the USPTO creates paper copies of all documents that are submitted or received electronically, and places these copies in file wrappers. This practice is costly and time consuming, and is no longer necessary: all documents for which printed copies are currently created can be viewed in their original form in TICRS. When a document is created electronically for a particular application or registration, a copy of that document is automatically transferred to the TICRS file for that application or registration. The TICRS files likewise include scanned images of submissions pertaining to the application or registration that were created on paper.

TICRS is available to all USPTO employees who are responsible for reviewing submissions from, and transmitting official correspondence to, trademark filers. Likewise, TICRS is also available, free of charge, to all members of the public who visit the USPTO to review papers submitted by the public or issued by the USPTO in connection with trademark applications or registrations.

Ending the practice of printing paper copies of trademark documents will result in cost savings, and will free staff to perform more valuable services for USPTO customers.

The following are the documents for which paper copies will no longer be generated:

  Certain documents submitted via the Trademark Electronic Application System, or TEAS, namely:

  Applications for Registration

  Preliminary Amendments

  Responses to Office Actions

  Amendments to Allege Use

  Requests for Extension of Time to File a Statement of Use

  Declarations of Use under Section 8

  Declarations of Incontestability under Section 15

  Combined Declarations of Use and Incontestability under Sections 8 & 15

  Combined Declarations of Use and Applications for Renewal under Sections 8 & 9

  Changes of Address.

  Responses to Office Actions that are transmitted to the Law Office ECom mailboxes.

  Informal communications to or from applicants or registrants regarding applications or regarding post-registration matters that are transmitted via e-mail.

  Office Actions and Appeal Briefs issued by Examining Attorneys. However, paper copies of these Office Actions will be mailed to applicants who have not authorized the Office to communicate by e-mail.

  Office Actions issued by the Post Registration and Intent to Use sections. However, paper copies of these Office Actions will be mailed to applicants and registrants.

  Notices of Publication. However, paper copies of these notices will be mailed to applicants.

  Notices of Allowance. However, paper copies of these notices will be mailed to applicants.

  Certificates of Registration. However, paper certificates will be mailed to applicants.

  Updated Registrations Certificates (URCs). However, paper URCs will be mailed to applicants.

  Notices of Abandonment. However, paper copies of these notices will be mailed to applicants.

  “Search Strategies” that show which queries an examining attorney entered into the X-Search database in conducting a search for conflicting marks; and

  Decisions on Requests to Withdraw as Attorney. However, paper copies of these decisions will be mailed to applicants who have not authorized the Office to communicate by e-mail.

Please also note the following:

When an application, or any submission pertaining to an application, is made on paper, the USPTO will continue its existing practice of placing the paper received in the paper file wrapper created for the application. Additionally, until some later time, the USPTO will continue to create paper file wrappers for all trademark applications, including those applications for which no paper documents exist. Currently, certain database maintenance transactions cannot be completed without file wrappers.

The policy described herein applies only to the Trademark Operation, including the Intent-to-Use, Post Registration, and Publication and Issue units, and not to the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board or the Assignment Services Division.

The USPTO will continue to provide certified paper copies of all trademark documents, upon request and payment of the appropriate fee.

Paper Components of Application Files will be Available Solely through the Trademark Assistance Center

Currently, parties wishing to review the file wrappers that contain the papers related to trademark applications may obtain these files from the various offices at which the files are stored. Beginning on April 12, 2004, parties may obtain these files only by submitting a request to the Trademark Assistance Center . It is expected that Trademark Assistance Center staff will provide the files within approximately two hours from the time the files are requested. However, there may be instances when a file is not immediately available.

The Trademark Assistance Center is located on the fourth floor of 2900 Crystal Drive in Arlington Virginia. Its hours of operation are from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The new file access policy applies only to the Trademark Operation, including the Intent-to-Use, Post Registration, and Publication and Issue units, and not to the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board.

United States Patent and Trademark Office
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Last Modified: 10/29/2009 4:48:34 PM