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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)
(9)             Treatment of Correspondence Deposited as First
                Class Mail Pursuant to 37 CFR 1.8 and Returned
                          by the U.S. Postal Service

   Due to heightened security concerns, effective September 1, 1996, the
United States Postal Service (USPS) is requiring that all domestic
first-class mail, bearing stamps and weighing sixteen ounces, or more,
be presented to a retail clerk at a USPS office. All such mail that is
not presented to a retail clerk at a USPS office (e.g., placed in a
mailbox) will be returned by the USPS. The USPS has posted notice of
this requirement on mailboxes. The "Express Mail" service of the USPS is
not affected.
   37 CFR 1.8 provides that certain correspondence will be considered
timely filed by the Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) if, among other
things, it is deposited with the USPS by the due date, and includes a
certificate of mailing that sets forth the date the person signing the
certificate reasonably expected the correspondence to be mailed.
Correspondence must be deposited with the USPS as first class mail in
compliance with any and all applicable requirements of the USPS to be
considered "[d]eposited with the U.S. Postal service" within the meaning
of 37 CFR 1.8(a)(1)(i)(A). Correspondence presented to the USPS in a
manner that does not comply with the applicable requirements of the USPS
is not "[d]eposited with the U.S. Postal service" within the meaning of
37 CFR 1.8(a)(1)(i)(A) and is not entitled to any benefit under 37 CFR
   To alleviate hardships caused by this change in USPS requirements,
the PTO will treat correspondence returned by the USPS because of its
size as "[d]eposited with the U.S. Postal service" within the meaning of
37 CFR 1.8(a)(1)(i)(A), so long as the correspondence was otherwise
originally deposited with the USPS in compliance with 37 CFR
1.8(a)(1)(i) on or before December 1, 1996. Returned mailed that is
either resubmitted to the USPS for delivery, or hand-delivered to the
PTO, will be stamped by the PTO with the actual date of receipt in the
PTO. The correspondence will, however, be accorded the benefit of any
certificate of mailing under 37 CFR 1.8.
   Correspondence mailed after December 1, 1996, and returned by the
USPS as not mailed in compliance with USPS requirements concerning mail
weighing sixteen ounces or more will not be entitled to any benefit
under 37 CFR 1.8.
   Because this change in USPS requirements does not affect the "Express
Mail" service of the USPS, it does not affect correspondence filed in
compliance with 37 CFR 1.10. Persons filing correspondence in a manner
other than by the procedures set forth in 37 CFR 1.8 or 1.10 do so at
their own risk.
   Questions concerning this notice should be directed to Senior Legal
Advisor Robert W. Bahr at (703) 305-9285.

October 10, 1996                                        BRUCE A. LEHMAN
                                    Assistant Secretary of Commerce and
                                 Commissioner of Patents and Trademarks

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