Update on Facsimile Submission of
                       Assignment Documents to the USPTO

As was first announced in the Official Gazette (OG) of January 25, 2000,
the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) now has the
capability to accept facsimile (fax) transmissions to record an
assignment or other documents affecting title. This process allows
customers to submit their assignment documents via fax directly into the
automated Patent and Trademark Assignment System (PTAS) and then receive
the resulting recordation notice on their fax machine.

Since the inception of this process, the Assignment Services Division
has been documenting the types of occurrences which can either delay or
prevent the USPTO from receiving and processing fax-transmitted
documents. The following questions and answers supplement the
information provided in the initial January 25, 2000, OG Notice.

Why are you telling me that my document is "upside down"?

In a routine fax transmission, page orientation (top of the page first
into the machine or bottom of the page first) is not critical because
the reader can easily flip and arrange the pages to read them top to
bottom. However, it is critical to our process that each page is faxed
top to bottom with the top margin being fed first into the machine. Once
they have been received in PTAS, fax transmitted assignments are
processed strictly by electronic means. Although the PTAS software can
rotate a document 180 degrees for viewing purposes, when the electronic
document is extracted to generate the archival microfilm record, each
page is extracted exactly as it was first received. Accordingly, a
document sent "upside down" would be microfilmed upside down. To further
complicate matters, because the system generated recordation and reel
and frame markings on the pages would be in the opposite orientation,
the resulting document would be difficult to read.

The assignment document I sent you is perfectly proper and valid. What
do you mean that my document is an "invalid submission type"?

An "invalid submission" has nothing to do with the validity or legal
standing of the document you submitted for recordation. "Invalid
submission type" means you have sent us one of several kinds of
documents that we cannot process via fax at this time. As first
specified in the OG of January 25, 2000, there are six types of
documents which we cannot process via fax:

1. Assignments submitted concurrent with newly filed patent
applications. These must continue to be sent to the Office of Initial
Patent Examination with the application.

2. Documents submitted in accordance with the Trademark Law Treaty where
an application or registration number is not identified.

3. Documents with two or more cover sheets, e.g., a single document with
one cover sheet to record an assignment, and a second cover sheet to
record separately a license relating to the same property.

4. Requests for corrections to documents recorded previously.

5. Requests for "at cost" recordation services.

6. Documents with payment by credit card.
In addition to these documents, our experience with the fax capability
over the past several months has added to the list of "invalid document

7. Resubmission of a non-recorded assignment.

I am the attorney of record. Why are you sending back my assignment
document as non-recorded due to "unauthorized user"?

The person who signs the cover sheet statement must be listed as an
"authorized user" in the USPTO Revenue Accounting Management (RAM)
system in order for the Assignment Services Division to collect the
recordation fee from your firm's deposit account. Customer updates to
the "authorized user" list may be faxed to the Office of Finance,
Deposit Account Division at (703) 308-6778, and must be signed by an
authorized user. If you have questions concerning your current list of
individuals authorized to charge your deposit account, you may also
contact that division at (703) 305-4632.

Why am I getting back mailed correspondence about documents that I faxed
to you?

The principal reasons we have to mail back correspondence to you
concerning a faxed document are: (1) no identifying fax number on your
document; and (2) an incorrect/unusable fax number associated with your

Standard business practice is that your complete fax number, your
company or personal name, and the time and date of transmission should
be transmitted along with your document. You need to program this sender
information (TX Terminal Id) into your fax machine's memory, and then
the information will be sent automatically during your fax
transmissions. Our software attaches your fax number to the incoming
package and allows PTAS to extract the number to electronically process
the return of your recorded assignment.

Your fax number must be a dedicated line. Shared lines, or lines going
though a switchboard, will terminate the fax transmission. Either a
person will answer, or there will be no answer.

How many times will PTAS attempt to fax my return documents?

Currently two attempts, 24 hours apart, are made to fax out your return
documents. If the documents cannot be faxed after the second try, they
will then be mailed to you.

Why does faxing most often fail to work?

We are seeing four principal reasons why return faxes fail:

1. Phone line problems on the receiving end, which include old and
invalid area codes being used. For example, 201 is still a valid area
code in Northern New Jersey, but if your fax machine's area code is now
in 973, the transmission will fail when we try 201.

2. A person, usually a receptionist or operator, answers the number.

3. The fax line is busy during the transmission attempt.

4. There is no answer at the number.

Each of these conditions would cause an automatic second attempt to fax
your return documents.

What is the fax number for the Patent and Trademark Assignment System?

The system's fax number is (703) 306-5995. Please do not fax general
assignment correspondence or recordation status inquiries to the PTAS
fax system. These are not documents to be recorded. Faxing such
documents delays our answering your question and causes extra work to
delete the images and associated records from PTAS.

What if I have a question about the fax service or need help?

Assignment Services Division staff are available to assist customers
Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time. The
telephone number is (703) 308-9723.

July 7, 2000                                         PATRICK ROWE, Director
                                                   Office of Public Records