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501    Filing Papers With the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office [R-11.2013]

37 C.F.R. 1.1   Addresses for non-trademark correspondence with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

  • (a) In general. Except as provided in paragraphs (a)(3)(i), (a)(3)(ii) and (d)(1) of this section, all correspondence intended for the United States Patent and Trademark Office must be addressed to either “Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, P.O. Box 1450, Alexandria, Virginia 22313-1450” or to specific areas within the Office as set out in paragraphs (a)(1), and (a)(3)(iii) of this section. When appropriate, correspondence should also be marked for the attention of a particular office or individual.
    • (1) Patent correspondence.
      • (i) In general.All correspondence concerning patent matters processed by organizations reporting to the Commissioner for Patents should be addressed to: Commissioner for Patents, P.O. Box 1450, Alexandria, Virginia 22313-1450.
      • (ii) Patent Trial and Appeal Board.See § 41.10 or § 42.6 of this title. Notices of appeal, appeal briefs, reply briefs, requests for oral hearing, as well as all other correspondence in an application or a patent involved in an appeal to the Board for which an address is not otherwise specified, should be addressed as set out in paragraph (a)(1)(i) of this section.
    • (2) [Reserved]
    • (3) Office of General Counsel correspondence.
      • (i) Litigation and service. Correspondence relating to pending litigation or otherwise within the scope of part 104 of this title shall be addressed as provided in § 104.2.
      • (ii) Disciplinary proceedings. Correspondence to counsel for the Director of the Office of Enrollment and Discipline relating to disciplinary proceedings pending before a Hearing Officer or the Director shall be mailed to: Mail Stop 8, Office of the Solicitor, United States Patent and Trademark Office, P.O. Box 1450, Alexandria, Virginia 22313-1450.
      • (iii) Solicitor, in general. Correspondence to the Office of the Solicitor not otherwise provided for shall be addressed to: Mail Stop 8, Office of the Solicitor, United States Patent and Trademark Office, P.O. Box 1450, Alexandria, Virginia 22313-1450.
      • (iv) General Counsel. Correspondence to the Office of the General Counsel not otherwise provided for, including correspondence to the General Counsel relating to disciplinary proceedings, shall be addressed to: General Counsel, United States Patent and Trademark Office, P.O. Box 1450, Alexandria, Virginia 22313-1450.
      • (v) Improper correspondence. Correspondence improperly addressed to a Post Office Box specified in paragraphs (a)(3)(i) and (a)(3)(ii) of this section will not be filed elsewhere in the United States Patent and Trademark Office, and may be returned.
    • (4) Office of Public Records correspondence.
      • (i) Assignments. All patent-related documents submitted by mail to be recorded by Assignment Services Division, except for documents filed together with a new application, should be addressed to: Mail Stop Assignment Recordation Services, Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, P.O. Box 1450, Alexandria, Virginia 22313-1450. See § 3.27.
      • (ii) Documents. All requests for certified or uncertified copies of patent documents should be addressed to: Mail Stop Document Services, Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, P.O. Box 1450, Alexandria, Virginia 22313-1450.
    • (5) Office of Enrollment and Discipline correspondence. All correspondence directed to the Office of Enrollment and Discipline concerning enrollment, registration, and investigation matters should be addressed to Mail Stop OED, Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, P.O. Box 1450, Alexandria, Virginia 22313-1450.
  • (b) Patent Cooperation Treaty. Letters and other communications relating to international applications during the international stage and prior to the assignment of a national serial number should be additionally marked “Mail Stop PCT.”
  • (c) For reexamination proceedings.
    • (1) Requests for ex parte reexamination (original request papers only) should be additionally marked “Mail Stop Ex parte Reexam.”
    • (2) Requests for inter partes reexamination (original request papers) and all subsequent inter partes reexamination correspondence filed in the Office, other than correspondence to the Office of the General Counsel pursuant to § 1.1(a)(3) and § 1.302(c), should be additionally marked “Mail Stop Inter partes Reexam.”
  • (d) Maintenance fee correspondence.
    • (1) Payments. Payments of maintenance fees in patents not submitted electronically should be mailed to: United States Patent and Trademark Office, P.O. Box 371611, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15250-1611.
    • (2) Other correspondence. Correspondence related to maintenance fees other than payments of maintenance fees in patents is not to be mailed to P.O. Box 371611, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15250-1611, but must be mailed to: Mail Stop M Correspondence, Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, P.O. Box 1450, Alexandria, Virginia 22313-1450.
  • (e) Patent term extension. All applications for extension of patent term under 35 U.S.C. 156 and any communications relating thereto intended for the United States Patent and Trademark Office should be additionally marked “Mail Stop Hatch-Waxman PTE.” When appropriate, the communication should also be marked to the attention of a particular individual, as where a decision has been rendered.
  • (f) [Reserved]

37 C.F.R. 1.4   Nature of correspondence and signature requirements.

  • (a) Correspondence with the Patent and Trademark Office comprises:
    • (1) Correspondence relating to services and facilities of the Office, such as general inquiries, requests for publications supplied by the Office, orders for printed copies of patents, orders for copies of records, transmission of assignments for recording, and the like, and
    • (2) Correspondence in and relating to a particular application or other proceeding in the Office. See particularly the rules relating to the filing, processing, or other proceedings of national applications in subpart B, §§ 1.31 to 1.378; of international applications in subpart C, §§ 1.401 to 1.499; of ex parte reexaminations of patents in subpart D, §§ 1.501 to 1.570; of extension of patent term in subpart F, §§ 1.710 to 1.785; of inter partes reexaminations of patents in subpart H, §§ 1.902 to 1.997; and of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board in part 41 and part 42 of this title.
  • (b) Since each file must be complete in itself, a separate copy of every paper to be filed in a patent, patent file, or other proceeding must be furnished for each file to which the paper pertains, even though the contents of the papers filed in two or more files may be identical. The filing of duplicate copies of correspondence in the file of an application, patent, or other proceeding should be avoided, except in situations in which the Office requires the filing of duplicate copies. The Office may dispose of duplicate copies of correspondence in the file of an application, patent, or other proceeding.
  • (c) Since different matters may be considered by different branches or sections of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, each distinct subject, inquiry or order must be contained in a separate paper to avoid confusion and delay in answering papers dealing with different subjects.
  • (d)
    • (1) Handwritten signature. Each piece of correspondence, except as provided in paragraphs (d)(2), (d)(3), (e) and (f) of this section, filed in an application, patent file, or other proceeding in the Office which requires a person’s signature, must:
      • (i) Be an original, that is, have an original handwritten signature personally signed, in permanent dark ink or its equivalent, by that person; or
      • (ii) Be a direct or indirect copy, such as a photocopy or facsimile transmission (§ 1.6(d)), of an original. In the event that a copy of the original is filed, the original should be retained as evidence of authenticity. If a question of authenticity arises, the Office may require submission of the original.
    • (2) S-signature. An S-signature is a signature inserted between forward slash marks, but not a handwritten signature as defined by § 1.4(d)(1). An S-signature includes any signature made by electronic or mechanical means, and any other mode of making or applying a signature not covered by a handwritten signature of § 1.4(d)(1). Correspondence being filed in the Office in paper, by facsimile transmission as provided in § 1.6(d), or via the Office electronic filing system as an attachment as provided in § 1.6(a)(4), for a patent application, patent, or a reexamination proceeding may be S-signature signed instead of being personally signed (i.e., with a handwritten signature) as provided for in paragraph (d)(1) of this section. The requirements for an S-signature under this paragraph (d)(2) of this section are as follows.
      • (i) The S-signature must consist only of letters, or Arabic numerals, or both, with appropriate spaces and commas, periods, apostrophes, or hyphens for punctuation, and the person signing the correspondence must insert his or her own S-signature with a first single forward slash mark before, and a second single forward slash mark after, the S-signature (e.g., /Dr. James T. Jones, Jr./); and
      • (ii) A patent practitioner (§ 1.32(a)(1)), signing pursuant to §§ 1.33(b)(1) or 1.33(b)(2), must supply his/her registration number either as part of the S-signature, or immediately below or adjacent to the S-signature. The number (#) character may be used only as part of the S-signature when appearing before a practitioner’s registration number; otherwise the number character may not be used in an S-signature.
      • (iii) The signer’s name must be:
        • (A) Presented in printed or typed form preferably immediately below or adjacent the S-signature, and
        • (B) Reasonably specific enough so that the identity of the signer can be readily recognized.
    • (3) Forms. The Office provides forms to the public to use in certain situations to assist in the filing of correspondence for a certain purpose and to meet certain requirements for patent applications and proceedings. Use of the forms for purposes for which they were not designed is prohibited. No changes to certification statements on the Office forms (e.g., oath or declaration forms, terminal disclaimer forms, petition forms, and nonpublication request forms) may be made. The existing text of a form, other than a certification statement, may be modified, deleted, or added to, if all text identifying the form as an Office form is removed. The presentation to the Office (whether by signing, filing, submitting, or later advocating) of any Office form with text identifying the form as an Office form by a party, whether a practitioner or non-practitioner, constitutes a certification under § 11.18(b) of this chapter that the existing text and any certification statements on the form have not been altered other than permitted by EFS-Web customization.
    • (4) Certifications.
      • (i) Section 11.18 certifications: The presentation to the Office (whether by signing, filing, submitting, or later advocating) of any paper by a party, whether a practitioner or non-practitioner, constitutes a certification under § 11.18(b) of this subchapter. Violations of § 11.18(b)(2) of this subchapter by a party, whether a practitioner or non-practitioner, may result in the imposition of sanctions under § 11.18(c) of this subchapter. Any practitioner violating § 11.18(b) of this subchapter may also be subject to disciplinary action. See § 11.18(d) of this subchapter.
      • (ii) Certifications as to the signature:
        • (A) Of another: A person submitting a document signed by another under paragraph (d)(2) of this section is obligated to have a reasonable basis to believe that the person whose signature is present on the document was actually inserted by that person, and should retain evidence of authenticity of the signature.
        • (B) Self certification: The person inserting a signature under paragraph (d)(2) of this section in a document submitted to the Office certifies that the inserted signature appearing in the document is his or her own signature.
        • (C) Sanctions: Violations of the certifications as to the signature of another or a person’s own signature, set forth in paragraphs (d)(4)(ii)(A) and (B) of this section, may result in the imposition of sanctions under § 11.18(c) and (d) of this chapter.
  • (e) The following correspondence must be submitted with an original handwritten signature personally signed in permanent dark ink or its equivalent:
    • (1) Correspondence requiring a person's signature and relating to registration to practice before the Patent and Trademark Office in patent cases, enrollment and disciplinary investigations, or disciplinary proceedings; and
    • (2) Payments by credit cards where the payment is not being made via the Office's electronic filing systems.
  • (f) When a document that is required by statute to be certified must be filed, a copy, including a photocopy or facsimile transmission, of the certification is not acceptable.
  • (g) An applicant who has not made of record a registered attorney or agent may be required to state whether assistance was received in the preparation or prosecution of the patent application, for which any compensation or consideration was given or charged, and if so, to disclose the name or names of the person or persons providing such assistance. Assistance includes the preparation for the applicant of the specification and amendments or other papers to be filed in the Patent and Trademark Office, as well as other assistance in such matters, but does not include merely making drawings by draftsmen or stenographic services in typing papers.
  • (h) Ratification/confirmation/evidence of authenticity: The Office may require ratification, confirmation (which includes submission of a duplicate document but with a proper signature), or evidence of authenticity of a signature, such as when the Office has reasonable doubt as to the authenticity (veracity) of the signature, e.g., where there are variations of a signature, or where the signature and the typed or printed name, do not clearly identify the person signing.

I.   GENERAL MAILING ADDRESSES

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (Office) has three separate general mailing addresses. The addresses are as follows:

A.   For Patent Applications and Patent-Related Papers

Correspondence in patent-related matters under the direction of the Commissioner for Patents should be addressed to:

Commissioner for Patents
P.O. Box 1450
Alexandria, Virginia 22313-1450

Such correspondence includes: patent applications, replies to notices of informality, requests for extension of time, notices of appeal to the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (the Board), briefs in support of an appeal to the Board, requests for oral hearing before the Board, applications for extensions of term of patent, requests for reexamination, statutory disclaimers, certificates of correction, petitions to the Commissioner for Patents, submission of information disclosure statements, petitions to revive abandoned patent applications, and other correspondence related to patent applications and patents which is processed by organizations reporting to the Commissioner for Patents.

Certain patent-related correspondence requires immediate Office attention. Examples are:

  • (A) Petitions for express abandonment to avoid publication under 37 CFR 1.138(c);
  • (B) Petitions to withdraw an application from issue under 37 CFR 1.313(c);
  • (C) Request for expedited examination of a design application (rocket docket); and
  • (D) Papers required by the Office of Data Management to be hand-carried or faxed to the Office of Data Management.

    Applicants are encouraged to transmit these types of correspondence by facsimile transmission (see MPEP § 502.01) or, where permitted (items B and D only), hand-carry them to the appropriate area of the Office for processing. (see MPEP § 502)

B.   For Trademark Applications and Trademark-Related Papers

Correspondence in trademark-related matters under the direction of the Commissioner for Trademarks or the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board should be addressed to:

Commissioner for Trademarks
P.O. Box 1451
Alexandria, VA 22313-1451

Such correspondence includes all trademark applications and other trademark-related mail, except for trademark documents sent to the Assignment Division for recordation, correspondence for the Office’s Madrid Processing Unit, requests for certified and uncertified copies of trademark documents, and filings submitted electronically. See 37 CFR 2.190.

Correspondence to be delivered by the United States Postal Service to the Office’s Madrid Processing Unit must be mailed to:

Commissioner for Trademarks
Madrid Processing Unit
600 Dulany St., MDE 7B87
Alexandria, VA 22314-5793

C.   For Other Correspondence

Patent and trademark documents sent to the Assignment Division for recordation (Mail Stop Assignment Recordation Services), requests for certified or uncertified copies of patent and trademark documents (Mail Stop Document Services), and for correspondence for which an address is not otherwise specified in 37 CFR 1.1 or 2.190, should be addressed to:

Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office
P.O. Box 1450
Alexandria, VA 22313-1450

II.   SEPARATE MAILING ADDRESSES FOR CERTAIN CORRESPONDENCE

The Office has separate mailing addresses for certain correspondence:

  • (A) Certain court-related correspondence (e.g., summons and complaint) being delivered to the Office via the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) must be addressed:

General Counsel
United States Patent and Trademark Office
P.O. Box 1450
Alexandria, VA 22313-1450

  • (B) Correspondence directed to the Office of Enrollment and Discipline (OED) Director relating to disciplinary proceedings pending before a Hearing Officer or the Director must be addressed:

Mail Stop 8
Office of the Solicitor
United States Patent and Trademark Office
P.O. Box 1450
Alexandria, Virginia 22313-1450

  • (C) Maintenance fee payments not electronically submitted over the Internet and correspondence related to maintenance fees may be addressed to:

Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office
Attn: Maintenance Fees
2051 Jamieson Ave., Ste. 300
Alexandria, VA 22314

  • (D) A payment to replenish a deposit account may be addressed to:

Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office
Attn: Deposit Accounts
2051 Jamieson Ave., Ste. 300
Alexandria, VA 22314

Persons filing correspondence with the Office should check the rules of practice, the Official Gazette, or the USPTO Web site (http://www.uspto.gov) to determine the appropriate mailing address for such correspondence.

III.   HAND-DELIVERY OF PAPERS

Patent-related papers may be hand-carried to the Office. If the correspondence is hand-carried to the Office, with limited exceptions (see subsection I.A., above) it must be delivered to:

Customer Service Window
Randolph Building
401 Dulany Street
Alexandria, VA 22314

See MPEP § 502.

Trademark-related papers may be filed at the “walk-up” window located in the Trademark Assistance Center, Madison East, Concourse Level, Room C55, 600 Dulany Street, Alexandria, VA 22314.

As provided in 37 CFR 1.4(c), matters that are to be considered by different branches or sections of the USPTO must be contained in separate papers. The following form paragraph may be used to notify the applicant of this requirement when the applicant has filed a single paper containing distinct subjects, inquiries, or orders.

¶ 5.01.01    Separate Paper Required

The [1] submitted [2] should have been submitted as a separate paper as required by 37 CFR 1.4(c). The paper has been entered. However, all future correspondence must comply with 37 CFR 1.4.

Examiner Note:

  • 1. In bracket 1, indicate the item required to be separately submitted, such as an affidavit, petition, or other appropriate document.
  • 2. If the applicant is a pro se inventor, include a copy of the rule.

Those who correspond with the USPTO are strongly encouraged not to include correspondence which will have to be directed to different areas (e.g., Patents and Trademarks) of the Office in a single envelope. Including multiple papers in a single envelope increases the likelihood that one or more of the papers will be delayed before reaching the appropriate area. Placing the papers in separately addressed envelopes will reduce the number of actions being performed by the USPTO unnecessarily or inappropriately.

Pursuant to 37 CFR 1.1, non-trademark correspondence intended for the USPTO must be mailed to P.O. Box 1450, Alexandria, VA 22313-1450, except as otherwise provided. Except for certain mail addressed incorrectly to the Office of the General Counsel (see 37 CFR 1.1(a)(3)(v)), there will be no penalty for addressing a document to the wrong area within the Office, as long as one of the approved addresses is used. Use of the specific addresses listed within 37 CFR 1.1 is strongly encouraged because it will facilitate the process both for the Office and the filer. Accordingly, a new application incorrectly addressed to the Director will be treated the same as if the application was addressed to the specific Commissioner.

All mailed communications are received by the Incoming-Mail Section of the Office of Patent Application Processing (OPAP), which opens and processes all official mail.

Special mail stops have been established to allow the forwarding of particular types of correspondence to appropriate areas of the Office as quickly as possible. A list of these mail stops is published weekly in the Official Gazette. Only the specified type of document for a particular mail stop should be placed in an envelope addressed to that mail stop.

If any documents other than the specified type identified for each department are addressed to that department, they will be significantly delayed in reaching the appropriate area for which they were intended.

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Last Modified: 03/27/2014 10:10:35