United States Patent and Trademark Office OG Notices: 30 April 2002

                       Processing of Papers Filed after
                         Allowance of an Application

   In most instances a patent application paper filed after
allowance will be electronically scanned in the Office of Patent
Publication, and the original paper will be discarded.

   The Office publishes about 3,400 patents a week, and on average
has about 40,000 allowed applications awaiting payment of the issue fee
and the issuance of the patent. Excluding the issue fee transmittal
forms, the Office receives about 5,000 pieces of mail a week for these
applications, some of which cannot be retained because it has been
irreparably damaged by irradiation of the mail by the U. S. Postal
Service. As much as 60% of the mail received since mid-October 2001 is
fragile and is being scanned in the Office of Patent Publication upon
receipt to preserve the document.

   In order to maximize processing efficiency and to have one
process for almost all papers received in the Office of Patent
Publication, the original papers will no longer be retained, except for
all drawings, certified documents (such as priority documents and
oaths), and at least the non patent references included with
information disclosure statements. For any other post-allowance paper,
the Office will scan the incoming paper, print the scanned image, and
match the printout with the patent application file.

   The scanning of post-allowance papers will enable the Office to
reduce the processing time between the receipt of the post-allowance
paper and the capture of the data from that paper for inclusion on the
published patent, and the electronic movement of scanned data will
enable the Office to minimize the physical movement of patent
application files from site to site.

   Questions relating to the receipt of post-allowance
correspondence, including issue and publication fee payments, and about
this notice in general, should be directed to the Customer Service
Center of the Office of Patent Publication at (703) 305-8283.

April 1, 2002                                            NICHOLAS P. GODICI
                                                   Commissioner for Patents