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|Top of Notices (7) December 27, 2011||US PATENT AND TRADEMARK OFFICE||Print This Notice 1373 CNOG 23|
|Mail Issues, Office Closures, Postal Emergencies, etc.||Referenced Items (5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60)|
(7) Use of a Post Card as a Receipt for Correspondence in Patent-Related Matters SUMMARY: Anyone who uses a postage meter to apply postage to their return receipt postcards must ensure that the meter postmark on such postcards does not show the date to ensure their receipt of the postcards. DISCUSSION: The United States Patent and Trademark Office (Office) recently published a notice in the Official Gazette relating to postcard receipts for Trademark papers. See "Use of a Post Card as Receipt for Trademark Papers Filed", 1246 OG 42 (May 8, 2001). Similar to the Trademark Operation of the Office, the Patent Operation also has a long-standing practice of providing confirmation of the receipt of papers in the Office by way of return receipt postcards. A receipt of any item(s) filed in the Office may be obtained by enclosing with the item(s) a self-addressed postcard (with the proper postage) specifically identifying the item(s). The person receiving the item(s) in the Office will promptly compare the listing on the postcard against the item(s) being filed to verify that all the items listed on the postcard are properly identified and included among the items being submitted to the Office. If any of the items listed on the postcard are not included among the items being submitted, those items will be lined through and the postcard initialed by the person receiving the items. The Office will stamp the receipt date on the postcard and place it in the outgoing mail for mailing to the address provided on the postcard. See Manual of Patent Examining Procedure (MPEP) (8th ed., August 2001), Section 503. The customer is solely responsible for placing the proper postage on the self-addressed postcard. Proper postage means that it has a stamp (or stamps) of at least the correct stamp amount or a meter stamp/postmark that complies with United States Postal Service (USPS) requirements. The USPS provides in its Domestic Mail Manual (DMM) that the date in a meter postmark must be the actual date of deposit with limited exceptions (i.e., mail deposited after the day's last scheduled collection may bear the actual date of deposit or the date of the next scheduled collection, and authorized dispatch prepared presort mail accepted after midnight may bear the previous day's date). The USPS also provides in the DMM that meter postmarks used to prepay reply postage must not show the date. Thus, any return receipt postcard containing a dated meter postmark may not be delivered by the USPS to the address provided on the postcard. This is because the postcard will be mailed by the Office substantially after the date on which the meter postmark is printed thereon by the customer. Accordingly, to ensure the receipt of return receipt postcards, customers must either: (1) purchase already stamped postcards from the USPS or affix postage stamps to their postcards, or (2) if a postage meter is used, ensure that the meter postmark does not show the date (as is set forth in the instructions in their postage meter license agreement regarding prepay reply postage). Once the Office has made an initial attempt to mail a postcard receipt, the Office cannot assume responsibility for further handling any postcard bearing improper postage that is deemed undeliverable by the USPS. Any questions concerning this notice should be directed to Eugenia Jones or Fred Silverberg, Senior Legal Advisors in the Office of Patent Legal Administration. Ms. Jones can be reached by telephone at (703) 306-5586 and by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Mr. Silverberg can be reached by telephone at (703) 305-8986 and by e-mail at email@example.com. Questions regarding the use of postage meters and meter stamps should be directed to the United States Postal Service. October 9, 2001 NICHOLAS P. GODICI Acting Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Acting Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office [1252 OG 18]