Top of Notices Top of Notices   (295)  December 28, 2010 US PATENT AND TRADEMARK OFFICE Print This Notice 1361 CNOG  2267 

PAIR, EFS-Web, Electronic Submission Referenced Items (293, 294, 295, 296, 297, 298, 299, 300, 301, 302, 303, 304, 305, 306, 307, 308, 309)
(295)		    Electronic Signatures and Initials by
	    Office Personnel Permitted in Application, Patent, and
		       Reexamination Proceeding Matters

   Electronically applied signatures and initials may be used by
patent examiners, other Office employees, and contractors under the
Commissioner of Patents for any of the following: (1) papers that are
part of the Official electronic file record associated with a patent
application, patent, or reexamination proceeding; or (2) other matters
involving applications, patents, or reexamination proceedings.

   The ability to use an electronic signature and electronic
initials supports the Office's initiatives. These efforts began with
issuance of new rules providing for alternative signatures as part of
the 21st Century Strategic Plan. 37 CFR § 1.4(d)(2) sets forth
requirements for the optional use of an S-signature (an electronically
applied signature inserted between single forward slash marks) together
with the signer's name and registration number if signed by a
practitioner in a representative capacity, for correspondence filed
with the Office, such as by applicants and practitioners.

Electronic Signatures in Papers Other Than Information
Disclosure Statements

   The requirements for electronic signatures for examiners, other
employees, and contractors under the Commissioner of Patents are
similar to the requirements of § 1.4(d)(2). For use of an electronic
signature, the electronic signature must be placed between single
forward slash marks, and the signer's name and official job title must
be provided. For use of electronic initials, the electronic initials
must be placed between single forward slash marks. Corresponding with
Office practice, an individual's official job title denotes the
presence of the authority required to take the action being
electronically signed (e.g., a Notice of Allowance is signed by a
Primary Examiner or Supervisory Patent Examiner ("SPE") in their
official capacity and additional titles or designations are not
authorized). Matters in which a delegation of authority (including
partial signatory authority) within the Office of Commissioner of
Patents has been made are discussed at MPEP §§ 1002.02(b)-(e), (l),
and (o)-(s); and §§ 1003-1005 (8th Ed., Rev. 5).

Electronic Signatures in Information Disclosure Statements (Initial
Limited Deployment of Alternate Method and Current Method)

   While examiners are currently authorized to electronically sign
information disclosure statements using the method described in
Electronic Processing of Information Disclosure Statement,
1303 Off. Gaz. Pat. Office 109 (February 21, 2006), the
Office is concurrently making an initial limited deployment of an
alternate electronic signature method for information disclosure
statements that is anticipated to be deployed Office-wide with an
expected release date of October 1, 2007. This initial limited
deployment is scheduled for the following Art Units: 1771, 2814, 2911,
and 3641 and is effective as of the date of signature of this notice.
This deployment is expected to facilitate examination in an electronic
environment. Under this deployment, examiners will no longer initial
each reference citation considered, but will continue to strikethrough
each citation not considered. Each page of reference citations will be
stamped by the examiner with the phrase "All references considered
except where lined through" along with the examiner's electronic
initials, and the final page of reference citations will include the
examiner's electronic signature.

   The new signature procedures will be incorporated in an
upcoming revision of the MPEP. Note however, examiners may still
Top of Notices Top of Notices   (295)  December 28, 2010 US PATENT AND TRADEMARK OFFICE 1361 CNOG  2268 

continue to physically sign papers and paper copies of information
disclosure statements.

Changes Do Not Alter Use of S-Signatures by Applicants

   The public is reminded that this change in internal policy does
not alter the rules regarding use of S-signatures by applicants and
their representatives, as specified in § 1.4(d)(2).

   Questions related to electronic initials and signatures should be
directed to: Mark Polutta, Senior Legal Advisor, Office of Patent Legal
Administration (OPLA), at (571) 272-7709 or or
Samuel Broda, Legal Advisor, Office of Patent Legal Administration (OPLA)
at (571) 272-7711 or

August 20, 2007 						  JOHN LOVE
						    Deputy Commissioner for
						  Patent Examination Policy

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