||Referenced Items (254, 255, 256)
(256) Disclosure Document Program
This notice consolidates and supersedes the notices of Mar. 26, 1969
(862 O.G. 1) and Aug. 11, 1970 (878 O.G. 1) relating to the Patent
Office Disclosure Document Program. Under this program the Patent
Office accepts and preserves, for a period of two years, papers
referred to as "Disclosure Documents." These papers may be used as
evidence of the dates of conception of inventions.
A paper disclosing an invention and signed by the inventor or
inventors may be forwarded to the Patent Office by the inventor (or
by any one of the inventors when there are joint inventors), by the
owner of the invention, or by the attorney or agent of the
inventor(s) or owner. It will be retained for two years and then be
destroyed unless it is referred to in a separate letter in a related
patent application within said two years.
A Disclosure Document is not a patent application and the date of its
receipt in the Patent Office will not become the effective filing
date of any patent application subsequently filed. However, like
patent applications, these documents will be kept in confidence by
the Patent Office. If patent protection is desired, a patent
application should be filed as soon as possible.
This program does not diminish the value of conventional witnessed
and notarized records as evidence of conception of an invention, but
it should provide a more credible form of evidence than that provided
by the popular practice of mailing a disclosure to oneself or another
person by registered mail. The program is made available as a
service to those persons desiring to use it.
Content of Disclosure Document
Although there are no restrictions as to content and claims are not
necessary, the benefits afforded by a Disclosure Document will depend
directly upon the adequacy of the disclosure. Therefore, it is
strongly urged that the document contain a clear and complete
explanation of the manner and process of making and using the
invention in sufficient detail to enable a person having ordinary
knowledge in the field of the invention to make and use the
invention. When the nature of the invention permits, a drawing or
sketch should be included. The use or utility of the invention should
be described, especially in chemical inventions.
The Disclosure Document must be limited to written matter or drawings
on paper or other thin, flexible material, such as linen or plastic
drafting material, having dimensions or being folded to dimensions
not to exceed 8 1/2 by 13 inches. Photographs also are acceptable.
Each page should be numbered. Text and drawings should be sufficiently
dark to permit reproduction with commonly used office copying machines.
A $10 fee is charged for filing a Disclosure Document. Payment must
accompany the Disclosure Document when it is submitted to the Patent
In addition to the $10 fee, the Disclosure Document must be
accompanied by a stamped, self-addressed envelope and a separate
paper in duplicate, signed by the inventor, stating that he is the
inventor and requesting that the material be received for processing
under the Disclosure Document Program. The papers will be stamped by
the Patent Office with an identifying number and date of receipt, and
the duplicate request will be returned in the self-addressed envelope
together with a warning notice indicating that the Disclosure
Document may be relied upon only as evidence and that a patent
application should be diligently filed if patent protection is
desired. The inventor's request may take the following form:
"The undersigned, being the inventor of the disclosed invention,
| Top of Notices (256) December 30, 2008
||US PATENT AND TRADEMARK OFFICE
||1337 CNOG 2435
requests that the enclosed papers be accepted under the Disclosure
Document Program, and that they be preserved for a period of two
The Disclosure Document will be preserved in the Patent Office for
two years after its receipt and will then be destroyed unless it is
referred to in a separate letter in a related patent application
filed within the two-year period. The Disclosure Document must be
referred to in the separate letter by title, number, and date of
receipt. Acknowledgment of receipt of such letters will be made in
the next official communication or in separate letter from the Patent
Office. Unless it is desired to have the Patent Office retain the
Disclosure Document beyond the two-year period, it is not required
that it be referred to in a patent application.
Warning as to Limitations
The two-year retention period should not be considered to be a "grace
period" during which the inventor can wait to file his patent
application without possible loss of benefits. It should be
recognized that in establishing priority of invention an affidavit or
testimony referring to a Disclosure Document must usually also
establish diligence in completing the invention or in filing the
patent application since the filing of the Disclosure Document.
Inventors are also reminded that any public use or sale in the United
States, or publication of the invention anywhere in the world, more
than one year prior to the filing of a patent application on that
invention will prohibit the granting of a patent on that invention.
If the inventor is not familiar with what is considered to be
"diligence in completing the invention" or "reduction to practice"
under the patent law, or if he has other questions about patent
matters, the Patent Office advises him to consult an attorney or
agent registered to practice before the Patent Office. Patent
attorneys and agents may be found in the telephone directories of
most major cities. Also, many large cities have associations of
patent attorneys which may be consulted.
RICHARD A. WAHL
Jan. 4, 1971 Assistant Commissioner
[883 OG 3]