Petitioning to Make Special Patent Applications
                Relating to Inventions For Countering Terrorism

   New patent applications are normally taken up for examination in the
order of their effective United States filing date. However, the
Commissioner may provide that a patent application will be advanced out
of turn for examination if a petition to make the patent application
special under 37 CFR 1.102(c) or (d) is granted.
   On July 31, 1996, Vice President Gore stated that "[i]t is imperative
that those seeking to prevent terrorist activities have all of the tools
necessary to accomplish their task." In view of the importance of
developing technologies for countering terrorism and the desirability of
prompt disclosure of advances made in these fields, the Patent and
Trademark Office is establishing a new category for petitions to accord
"special" status to patent applications relating to counter-terrorism
inventions. International terrorism as defined in 18 U.S.C. 2331 is
"activities that (A) involve violent acts or acts dangerous to human
life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or
of any State, or that would be a criminal violation if committed within
the jurisdiction of the United States or of any State; (B) appear to be
intended (i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; (ii) to
influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or
(iii) to affect the conduct of a government by assassination or
   The types of technology for countering terrorism could include, but
are not limited to, systems for detecting/identifying explosives,
aircraft sensors/security systems, and vehicular barricades/disabling
systems. Applications which are made special will be advanced out of
turn for examination and will be treated as special throughout their
pendency by the Patent and Trademark Office.
   Applicants who desire that an application relating to inventions for
countering terrorism be made special should file a petition, with the
fee under 37 CFR 1.17(i) which is presently $130.00, requesting the
Patent and Trademark Office to make the application special. The
petition for special status should be made in writing, should identify
the application by application number and filing date, and should be
accompanied by a statement explaining how the invention contributes to
countering terrorism. Such statement must be set forth in oath or
declaration form unless it is signed by a registered practitioner. The
petition will be decided by the Director of the patent examining group
to which the application is assigned.
   This new category for a petition to make an application special will
be added in the next revision of the Manual of Patent Examining
Procedure (MPEP) to the other categories discussed in MPEP section
   Questions concerning this notice should be directed to Magdalen Y.
Greenlief, Office of the Deputy Assistant Commissioner for Patent Policy
and Projects, (703) 305-8813.

August 19, 1996                                         BRUCE A. LEHMAN
                                    Assistant Secretary of Commerce and
                                 Commissioner of Patents and Trademarks