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513    Deposit as Priority Mail Express with U.S. Postal Service [R-11.2013]

  “EXPRESS MAIL” RENAMED “PRIORITY MAIL EXPRESS”

Effective July 28, 2013, the United States Postal Service (USPS) changed the name of “Express Mail” to “Priority Mail Express.” All characteristics of the “Priority Mail Express” service are the same as those of the former “Express Mail” service (although the mailing labels differ). References to “Express Mail” or “Express Mail from the USPS in accordance with 37 CFR 1.10,” throughout this Manual should be construed as applicable to the “Priority Mail Express” service of the USPS on or after July 28, 2013.

35 U.S.C. 21   Filing date and day for taking action.

  • (a) The Director may by rule prescribe that any paper or fee required to be filed in the Patent and Trademark Office will be considered filed in the Office on the date on which it was deposited with the United States Postal Service or would have been deposited with the United States Postal Service but for postal service interruptions or emergencies designated by the Director.

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37 C.F.R. 1.6   Receipt of correspondence.

  • (a) Date of receipt and Express Mail date of deposit. Correspondence received in the Patent and Trademark Office is stamped with the date of receipt except as follows:
    • (1) The Patent and Trademark Office is not open for the filing of correspondence on any day that is a Saturday, Sunday, or Federal holiday within the District of Columbia. Except for correspondence transmitted by facsimile under paragraph (a)(3) of this section, or filed electronically under paragraph (a)(4) of this section, no correspondence is received in the Office on Saturdays, Sundays, or Federal holidays within the District of Columbia.
    • (2) Correspondence filed in accordance with § 1.10 will be stamped with the date of deposit as “Express Mail” with the United States Postal Service.
    • (3) Correspondence transmitted by facsimile to the Patent and Trademark Office will be stamped with the date on which the complete transmission is received in the Patent and Trademark Office unless that date is a Saturday, Sunday, or Federal holiday within the District of Columbia, in which case the date stamped will be the next succeeding day which is not a Saturday, Sunday, or Federal holiday within the District of Columbia.
    • (4) Correspondence may be submitted using the Office electronic filing system only in accordance with the Office electronic filing system requirements. Correspondence submitted to the Office by way of the Office electronic filing system will be accorded a receipt date, which is the date the correspondence is received at the correspondence address for the Office set forth in § 1.1 when it was officially submitted.

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37 C.F.R. 1.10   Filing of correspondence by “Express Mail”.

  • (a)
    • (1) Any correspondence received by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) that was delivered by the “Express Mail Post Office to Addressee” service of the United States Postal Service (USPS) will be considered filed with the USPTO on the date of deposit with the USPS.
    • (2) The date of deposit with USPS is shown by the “date in” on the “Express Mail” label or other official USPS notation. If the USPS deposit date cannot be determined, the correspondence will be accorded the USPTO receipt date as the filing date. See § 1.6(a).
  • (b) Correspondence should be deposited directly with an employee of the USPS to ensure that the person depositing the correspondence receives a legible copy of the “Express Mail” mailing label with the “date-in” clearly marked. Persons dealing indirectly with the employees of the USPS (such as by deposit in an “Express Mail” drop box) do so at the risk of not receiving a copy of the “Express Mail” mailing label with the desired “date-in” clearly marked. The paper(s) or fee(s) that constitute the correspondence should also include the “Express Mail” mailing label number thereon. See paragraphs (c), (d) and (e) of this section.
  • (c) Any person filing correspondence under this section that was received by the Office and delivered by the “Express Mail Post Office to Addressee” service of the USPS, who can show that there is a discrepancy between the filing date accorded by the Office to the correspondence and the date of deposit as shown by the “date-in” on the “Express Mail” mailing label or other official USPS notation, may petition the Director to accord the correspondence a filing date as of the “date-in” on the “Express Mail” mailing label or other official USPS notation, provided that:
    • (1) The petition is filed promptly after the person becomes aware that the Office has accorded, or will accord, a filing date other than the USPS deposit date;
    • (2) The number of the “Express Mail” mailing label was placed on the paper(s) or fee(s) that constitute the correspondence prior to the original mailing by “Express Mail;” and
    • (3) The petition includes a true copy of the “Express Mail” mailing label showing the “date-in,” and of any other official notation by the USPS relied upon to show the date of deposit.
  • (d) Any person filing correspondence under this section that was received by the Office and delivered by the “Express Mail Post Office to Addressee” service of the USPS, who can show that the “date-in” on the “Express Mail” mailing label or other official notation entered by the USPS was incorrectly entered or omitted by the USPS, may petition the Director to accord the correspondence a filing date as of the date the correspondence is shown to have been deposited with the USPS, provided that:
    • (1) The petition is filed promptly after the person becomes aware that the Office has accorded, or will accord, a filing date based upon an incorrect entry by the USPS;
    • (2) The number of the “Express Mail” mailing label was placed on the paper(s) or fee(s) that constitute the correspondence prior to the original mailing by “Express Mail”; and
    • (3) The petition includes a showing which establishes, to the satisfaction of the Director, that the requested filing date was the date the correspondence was deposited in the “Express Mail Post Office to Addressee” service prior to the last scheduled pickup for that day. Any showing pursuant to this paragraph must be corroborated by evidence from the USPS or that came into being after deposit and within one business day of the deposit of the correspondence in the “Express Mail Post Office to Addressee” service of the USPS.
  • (e) Any person mailing correspondence addressed as set out in § 1.1(a) to the Office with sufficient postage utilizing the “Express Mail Post Office to Addressee” service of the USPS but not received by the Office, may petition the Director to consider such correspondence filed in the Office on the USPS deposit date, provided that:
    • (1) The petition is filed promptly after the person becomes aware that the Office has no evidence of receipt of the correspondence;
    • (2) The number of the “Express Mail” mailing label was placed on the paper(s) or fee(s) that constitute the correspondence prior to the original mailing by ”Express Mail”;
    • (3) The petition includes a copy of the originally deposited paper(s) or fee(s) that constitute the correspondence showing the number of the “Express Mail” mailing label thereon, a copy of any returned postcard receipt, a copy of the “Express Mail” mailing label showing the “date-in,” a copy of any other official notation by the USPS relied upon to show the date of deposit, and, if the requested filing date is a date other than the “date-in” on the “Express Mail” mailing label or other official notation entered by the USPS, a showing pursuant to paragraph (d)(3) of this section that the requested filing date was the date the correspondence was deposited in the “Express Mail Post Office to Addressee” service prior to the last scheduled pickup for that day; and
    • (4) The petition includes a statement which establishes, to the satisfaction of the Director, the original deposit of the correspondence and that the copies of the correspondence, the copy of the “Express Mail” mailing label, the copy of any returned postcard receipt, and any official notation entered by the USPS are true copies of the originally mailed correspondence, original “Express Mail” mailing label, returned postcard receipt, and official notation entered by the USPS.
  • (f) The Office may require additional evidence to determine if the correspondence was deposited as “Express Mail” with the USPS on the date in question.
  • (g) Any person who mails correspondence addressed as set out in § 1.1(a) to the Office with sufficient postage utilizing the “Express Mail Post Office to Addressee” service of the USPS, but has the correspondence returned by the USPS due to an interruption or emergency in “Express Mail” service, may petition the Director to consider such correspondence as filed on a particular date in the Office, provided that:
    • (1) The petition is filed promptly after the person becomes aware of the return of the correspondence;
    • (2) The number of the “Express Mail” mailing label was placed on the paper(s) or fee(s) that constitute the correspondence prior to the original mailing by “Express Mail”;
    • (3) The petition includes the original correspondence or a copy of the original correspondence showing the number of the “Express Mail” mailing label thereon and a copy of the “Express Mail” mailing label showing the “date-in”; and
    • (4) The petition includes a statement which establishes, to the satisfaction of the Director, the original deposit of the correspondence and that the correspondence or copy of the correspondence is the original correspondence or a true copy of the correspondence originally deposited with the USPS on the requested filing date. The Office may require additional evidence to determine if the correspondence was returned by the USPS due to an interruption or emergency in “Express Mail” service.
  • (h) Any person who attempts to mail correspondence addressed as set out in § 1.1(a) to the Office with sufficient postage utilizing the “Express Mail Post Office to Addressee” service of the USPS, but has the correspondence refused by an employee of the USPS due to an interruption or emergency in “Express Mail” service, may petition the Director to consider such correspondence as filed on a particular date in the Office, provided that:
    • (1) The petition is filed promptly after the person becomes aware of the refusal of the correspondence;
    • (2) The number of the “Express Mail” mailing label was placed on the paper(s) or fee(s) that constitute the correspondence prior to the attempted mailing by “Express Mail”;
    • (3) The petition includes the original correspondence or a copy of the original correspondence showing the number of the “Express Mail” mailing label thereon; and
    • (4) The petition includes a statement by the person who originally attempted to deposit the correspondence with the USPS which establishes, to the satisfaction of the Director, the original attempt to deposit the correspondence and that the correspondence or copy of the correspondence is the original correspondence or a true copy of the correspondence originally attempted to be deposited with the USPS on the requested filing date. The Office may require additional evidence to determine if the correspondence was refused by an employee of the USPS due to an interruption or emergency in “Express Mail” service.
  • (i) Any person attempting to file correspondence under this sect ion that was unable to be deposited with the USPS due to an interruption or emergency in “Express Mail” service which has been so designated by the Director, may petition the Director to consider such correspondence as filed on a particular date in the Office, provided that:
    • (1) The petition is filed in a manner designated by the Director promptly after the person becomes aware of the designated interruption or emergency in “Express Mail” service;
    • (2) The petition includes the original correspondence or a copy of the original correspondence; and
    • (3) The petition includes a statement which establishes, to the satisfaction of the Director, that the correspondence would have been deposited with the USPS but for the designated interruption or emergency in “Express Mail” service, and that the correspondence or copy of the correspondence is the original correspondence or a true copy of the correspondence originally attempted to be deposited with the USPS on the requested filing date.

The statutory authority for the granting of a filing date based on the date of deposit for correspondence sent by “Express Mail” and received by the Office is found in section 21(a) of Title 35 of the United States Code.

The specific rule for obtaining a filing date as of the date of deposit in “Express Mail” (rather than the date of receipt at the Office) is 37 CFR 1.10.

35 U.S.C. 21(a) is limited to correspondence deposited with the United States Postal Service (USPS). The procedure in 37 CFR 1.10 is limited to correspondence deposited in the “Express Mail Post Office to Addressee” service of the USPS. There are no similar provisions and no similar benefit can be obtained for correspondence deposited in International Express Mail.

I.   EFFECTIVE DATE, WEEKENDS & HOLIDAYS

Effective December 2, 1996, 37 CFR 1.6(a)(2) provides that correspondence deposited as “Express Mail” in accordance with 37 CFR 1.10 will be stamped, and, therefore, considered as filed on the date of its deposit, regardless of whether that date is a Saturday, Sunday or Federal holiday within the District of Columbia. 37 CFR 1.10 provides a procedure for assigning the date on which any paper or fee is deposited as “Express Mail” with the USPS as the filing date of the paper or fee in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (Office). The date of deposit with the USPS is shown by the “date-in” on the “Express Mail” mailing label or other official USPS notation. This holds true for any day that the correspondence may be accepted as “Express Mail” by the USPS, even when the paper or fee is deposited and accepted on a Saturday, Sunday or Federal holiday within the District of Columbia. For example, if a person files a patent application by “Express Mail” with the USPS on a Saturday in compliance with 37 CFR 1.10, he or she will receive the benefit of the Saturday date, even though the Office is closed on Saturdays and, therefore, the person could not have filed the application by depositing it directly at the Office on that Saturday. See 37 CFR 1.6(a)(1). In those cases where the procedure of 37 CFR 1.10(a) has not been properly followed, e.g., the “date-in” is illegible, the filing date of the correspondence will be the date of actual receipt in the Office. An applicant may file a petition under the conditions specified in 37 CFR 1.10(c), (d) or (e) (discussed below) presenting whatever arguments and evidence that the paper or fee is entitled to a filing date other than the filing date accorded by the Office.

II.   DATE-IN, DIRECT DEPOSIT, “EXPRESS MAIL” BOX RECEPTACLES & LOG BOOKS

The procedure in 37 CFR 1.10(a) requires the use of the “Express Mail Post Office to Addressee” service of the USPS. This service provides for the use of a mailing label on which the USPS clearly indicates the date on which it was deposited. Correspondence sent by the “Express Mail Post Office to Addressee” service is considered filed in the Office on the “date-in” entered by the USPS. The “date-in” on the “Express Mail” mailing label must be completed by the USPS, not by the applicant. For correspondence filed in accordance with 37 CFR 1.10, Office personnel will routinely look to the “Express Mail” mailing label, and stamp the “date-in” or other official USPS notation as the filing date of the correspondence. Accordingly, if the USPS enters the deposit date as its “date-in,” the correspondence will receive the deposit date as its filing date. If the USPS deposit date cannot be determined, the correspondence will be accorded the date of receipt in the Office as the filing date. An applicant may file a petition under the conditions specified in 37 CFR 1.10(c), (d), (e), (g), (h), or (i) (discussed below) presenting whatever arguments and evidence that the paper or fee is entitled to a filing date other than the filing date accorded by the Office.

37 CFR 1.10(b) further provides that correspondence should be deposited directly with an employee of the USPS to ensure that the person depositing the correspondence receives a legible copy of the “Express Mail” mailing label with the “date-in” clearly marked, and that persons dealing indirectly with the employees of the USPS (such as by depositing correspondence in an “Express Mail” drop box) do so at the risk of not receiving a copy of the “Express Mail” mailing label with the desired “date-in” clearly marked. On petition, the failure to obtain an “Express Mail” receipt with the “date-in” clearly marked may be considered an omission that could have been avoided by the exercise of due care, as discussed below. While the Office strongly urges direct deposit of “Express Mail” correspondence in order to obtain a legible copy of the “Express Mail” mailing label, parties are not precluded from using “Express Mail” drop boxes, but do so at their own risk.

A paper or fee placed in an “Express Mail” box receptacle after the box has been cleared for the last time on a given day will be considered to be deposited as of the date of receipt (“date-in”) indicated on the “Express Mail” mailing label by the Postal Service “Express Mail” acceptance clerk. 37 CFR 1.10(d) permits the Office to correct a USPS “date-in” error when the correspondence is deposited in an “Express Mail” drop box prior to last scheduled pick up of the day, that is, the time clearly marked on the “Express Mail” drop box indicating when the box will be cleared for the last time on the date of deposit. 37 CFR 1.10(d) sets forth the procedures to be followed to be entitled to such a correction.

Parties who do use drop boxes can protect themselves from uncertainty due to illegible mailing labels by routinely maintaining a log of “Express Mail” deposits in which notations are entered by the person who deposited the correspondence as “Express Mail” within one business day after deposit with the USPS. Such evidence could be useful to later support a petition filed under 37 CFR 1.10(c), (d), (e), or (g). Evidence that came into being after deposit and within one day after the deposit of the correspondence as “Express Mail” may be in the form of a log book which contains information such as the “Express Mail” number; the application number, attorney docket number or other such file identification number; the place, date and time of deposit; the time of the last scheduled pick-up for that date and place of deposit; the depositor’s initials or signature; and the date and time of entry in the log.

III.   “EXPRESS MAIL” MAILING LABEL NUMBER

While 37 CFR 1.10(b) does not require placement of the “Express Mail” mailing label number on the correspondence prior to mailing, it is advisable to do so. If the number of the mailing label did not appear on the correspondence as originally filed, relief will not be granted on petition under 37 CFR 1.10(c), (d), (e), (g) or (h), even if the party who filed the correspondence satisfies the other requirements of 37 CFR 1.10(c), 1.10(d), 1.10(e), 1.10(g), or 1.10(h). To be effective, the number must be placed on each separate paper and each fee transmittal either directly on the document or by a separate paper firmly and securely attached thereto. In situations wherein the correspondence includes several papers directed to the same application (for example, the specification, drawings, and declaration for a new application), the correspondence may be submitted with a cover or transmittal letter which should itemize the papers. It is not necessary that the number be placed on each page of a particular paper or fee transmittal. Merely placing the number in one prominent location on each separate paper or fee transmittal (or cover sheet or transmittal letter which should itemize the separate papers and fees) will be sufficient.

Since the filing of correspondence under 37 CFR 1.10 without the number of the “Express Mail” mailing label thereon is an oversight that can be avoided by the exercise of reasonable care, requests for waiver of this requirement will not be granted on petition. A party’s inadvertent failure to comply with the requirements of a rule is not deemed to be an extraordinary situation that would warrant waiver of a rule under 37 CFR 1.183, 2.146(a)(5) or 2.148, nor is such an inadvertent omission considered “unavoidable,” within the meaning of 35 U.S.C. 133, 37 CFR 1.137(a). See Honigsbaum v. Lehman, 903 F. Supp. 8, 37 USPQ2d 1799 (D.D.C. 1995) (Commissioner did not abuse his discretion in refusing to waive requirements of 37 CFR 1.10(c) in order to grant filing date to patent application, where applicant failed to produce “Express Mail” customer receipt or any other evidence that application was actually deposited with USPS as “Express Mail.”), aff’d without opinion, 95 F.3d 1166 (Fed. Cir. 1996); Nitto Chemical Industry. Co., Ltd. v. Comer, 39 USPQ2d 1778, 1782 (D.D.C. 1994) (Commissioner’s refusal to waive requirements of 37 CFR 1.10 in order to grant priority filing date to patent application not arbitrary and capricious, because failure to comply with the requirements of 37 CFR 1.10 is an “avoidable” oversight that could have been prevented by the exercise of ordinary care or diligence, and thus not an extraordinary situation under 37 CFR 1.183.); Vincent v. Mossinghoff, 230 USPQ 621 (D.D.C. 1985) (misunderstanding of 37 CFR 1.8 not unavoidable delay in responding to Office Action); Gustafson v. Strange, 227 USPQ 174 (Comm’r Pat. 1985) (counsel’s unawareness of 37 CFR 1.8 not extraordinary situation warranting waiver of a rule); In re Chicago Historical Antique Automobile Museum, Inc., 197 USPQ 289 (Comm’r Pat. 1978) (since certificate of mailing procedure under 37 CFR 1.8 was available to petitioner, lateness due to mail delay not deemed to be extraordinary situation).

IV.   PETITIONS

37 CFR 1.10(c) through 1.10(e) and 1.10(g) set forth procedures for petitioning the Director to accord a filing date as of the date of deposit as “Express Mail” (Priority Mail Express). Briefly, 37 CFR 1.10(c) applies where there is a discrepancy between the filing date accorded by the Office and the “date-in” entered by the USPS on the “Express Mail” mailing label or other official USPS notation; 37 CFR 1.10(d) applies where the “date-in” is incorrectly entered by the USPS; 37 CFR 1.10(e) applies where correspondence deposited with the USPS as “Express Mail” is not received by the Office; and 37 CFR 1.10(g) applies where correspondence deposited with the USPS as "Express Mail" was returned by the USPS due to an interruption or emergency in "Express Mail" service.

37 CFR 1.10(h) and 1.10(i) set forth procedures for petitioning the Director when correspondence was attempted to be deposited as "Express Mail." 37 CFR 1.10(h) applies where correspondence was refused by an employee of the USPS due to an interruption or emergency in "Express Mail" service; and 37 CFR 1.10(i) applies where correspondence was unable to be deposited with the USPS due to an interruption or emergency in "Express Mail" service which has been so designated by the Director.

V.   PETITION TO CORRECT FILING DATE AND DATE-IN DISCREPANCY

37 CFR 1.10(c) sets forth procedures for filing a petition to the Director for a filing date as of the date of deposit with the USPS, where there is a discrepancy between the filing date initially accorded by the Office and the “date-in” entered by the USPS or other official USPS notation. Such a petition should:

  • (A) be filed promptly after the person becomes aware that the Office has accorded, or will accord, a filing date other than the USPS deposit date;
  • (B) include a showing that the number of the “Express Mail” mailing label was placed on each piece of correspondence prior to the original mailing; and
  • (C) include a true copy of the “Express Mail” mailing label showing the “date-in” or other official notation by the USPS.

VI.   PETITION TO CORRECT INCORRECTLY ENTERED DATE-IN

37 CFR 1.10(d) sets forth procedures for filing a petition to the Director to accord a filing date as of the actual date of deposit with the USPS, where the “date-in” or other official notation is incorrectly entered by the USPS. Such a petition should:

  • (A) be filed promptly after the person becomes aware that the Office has accorded, or will accord, a filing date based upon an incorrect entry by the USPS;
  • (B) include a showing that the number of the “Express Mail” mailing label was placed on each piece of correspondence prior to the original mailing; and
  • (C) include a showing that the correspondence was deposited as “Express Mail” prior to the last scheduled pickup on the requested filing date.

The showing under 37 CFR 1.10(d) must be corroborated by (1) evidence from the USPS, or (2) evidence that came into being after deposit and within one business day of the deposit of the correspondence as “Express Mail.” Evidence from the USPS may be the “Express Mail” Corporate Account Mailing Statement. Evidence that came into being within one day after the deposit of the correspondence as “Express Mail” may be in the form of a log book which contains information such as the “Express Mail” number; the application number, attorney docket number or other such file identification number; the place, date and time of deposit; the time of the last scheduled pick-up for that date and place of deposit; the depositor’s initials or signature; and the date and time of entry in the log.

The reason the Office considers correspondence to have been filed as of the date of deposit as “Express Mail” is that this date has been verified by a disinterested USPS employee, through the insertion of a “date-in,” or other official USPS notation, on the “Express Mail” mailing label. Due to the questionable reliability of evidence from a party other than the USPS that did not come into being contemporaneously with the deposit of the correspondence with the USPS, 37 CFR 1.10(d) specifically requires that any petition under 37 CFR 1.10(d) be corroborated either by evidence from the USPS, or by evidence that came into being after deposit and within one business day after the deposit of the correspondence as “Express Mail.”

A petition alleging that the USPS erred in entering the “date-in” will be denied if it is supported only by evidence (other than from the USPS) which was:

  • (A) created prior to the deposit of the correspondence as “Express Mail” with the USPS (e.g., an application transmittal cover letter, or a client letter prepared prior to the deposit of the correspondence); or
  • (B) created more than one business day after the deposit of the correspondence as “Express Mail” (e.g., an affidavit or declaration prepared more than one business day after the correspondence was deposited with the USPS as “Express Mail”).

On the other hand, a notation in a log book, entered after deposit by the person who deposited the correspondence as “Express Mail” within one business day of such deposit, setting forth the items indicated above, would be deemed on petition to be an adequate showing of the date of deposit under 37 CFR 1.10(d)(3).

37 CFR 1.10(d)(3) further provides that a party must show that correspondence was deposited as “Express Mail” before the last scheduled pickup on the requested filing date in order to obtain a filing date as of that date.

VII.   PETITION FOR CORRESPONDENCE NEVER RECEIVED

37 CFR 1.10(e) sets forth procedures for filing a petition to the Director to accord a filing date as of the date of deposit with the USPS, where correspondence deposited as “Express Mail” is never received by the Office. Such a petition should:

  • (A) be filed promptly after the person becomes aware that the Office has no evidence of receipt of the correspondence;
  • (B) include a showing that the number of the “Express Mail” mailing label was placed on each piece of correspondence prior to the original mailing;
  • (C) include a true copy of the originally deposited correspondence showing the number of the “Express Mail” mailing label thereon, a copy of any returned postcard receipt, a copy of the “Express Mail” mailing label showing the “date-in” or other official notation entered by the USPS; and
  • (D) include a statement, signed by the person who deposited the documents as “Express Mail” with the USPS, setting forth the date and time of deposit, and declaring that the copies of the correspondence, “Express Mail” mailing label, and returned postcard receipt accompanying the petition are true copies of the correspondence, mailing label and returned postcard receipt originally mailed or received.

37 CFR 1.10(e) provides for the filing of a petition to accord correspondence a filing date as of the date of deposit with the USPS as “Express Mail” only where the correspondence was mailed with sufficient postage and addressed as set out in 37 CFR 1.1(a). There is no corresponding provision that correspondence be properly addressed and mailed with sufficient postage in 37 CFR 1.10(a), (c) and (d), because these sections apply only to correspondence that is actually received by the Office. Correspondence mailed by “Express Mail” that is actually received by the Office will not be denied a filing date as of the date of deposit as “Express Mail” simply because the correspondence was not mailed with sufficient postage or not addressed as set out in 37 CFR 1.1(a). 37 CFR 1.10(e)(3) provides that if the requested filing date is a date other than the “date-in” on the “Express Mail” mailing label, the petition should include a showing under 37 CFR 1.10(d)(3), as discussed above, that the correspondence was deposited as “Express Mail” before the last scheduled pickup on the requested filing date in order to obtain a filing date as of that date. 37 CFR 1.10(e) applies only in those situations in which the correspondence at issue was lost in toto (i.e., the entire correspondence was not delivered to the Office). Where there is a dispute as to the contents of correspondence submitted to the Office (e.g., an applicant asserts that three sheets of drawings were submitted under 37 CFR 1.10 with an application, but the Office records indicate receipt of only two sheets of drawings with the application), an applicant may not rely upon the provisions of 37 CFR 1.10(e) to establish what document(s) and/or fee(s) were filed in the Office with such correspondence. Rather, where the records of the Office (e.g., the file of the application) contain any document(s) or fee(s) corresponding to the contents of the correspondence at issue, the Office will rely upon its official record of the contents of such correspondence in absence of convincing evidence (e.g., a postcard receipt under MPEP § 503 containing specific itemization of the document(s) or fee(s) purported to have been filed with the correspondence at issue) that the Office received and misplaced any document(s) or fee(s) that is not among the official records of the Office.

VIII.   ADDITIONAL EVIDENCE MAY BE REQUIRED

37 CFR 1.10(f) provides that the Office may require additional evidence to determine whether the correspondence was deposited as “Express Mail” with the USPS on the date in question.

IX.   PETITION FOR CORRESPONDENCE RETURNED DUE TO POSTAL INTERRUPTION OR EMERGENCY

37 CFR 1.10(g) provides that any person who mails correspondence addressed as set out in 37 CFR 1.1(a) to the Office with sufficient postage utilizing the "Express Mail Post Office to Addressee" service of the USPS, but has the correspondence returned by the USPS due to an interruption or emergency in "Express Mail" service, may petition the Director to consider the correspondence as filed on a particular date in the Office. Such a petition must:

  • (A) be filed promptly after the person becomes aware of the return of the correspondence;
  • (B) include a showing that the number of the "Express Mail" mailing label was placed on the paper(s) or fee(s) that constitute the correspondence prior to the original mailing by "Express Mail;"
  • (C) include the original correspondence or a copy of the original correspondence showing the number of the "Express Mail" mailing label thereon and a copy of the "Express Mail" mailing label showing the "date-in;" and
  • (D) include a statement which establishes, to the satisfaction of the Director, the original deposit of the correspondence and that the correspondence or the copy of the correspondence is the original correspondence or a true copy of the correspondence originally deposited with the USPS on the requested filing date.

The Office may require additional evidence to determine if the correspondence was returned by the USPS due to an interruption or emergency in "Express Mail" service. For example, the Office may require a letter from the USPS confirming that the return was due to an interruption or emergency in the "Express Mail" service.

This procedure does not apply where the USPS returned the "Express Mail" for a reason other than an interruption or emergency in "Express Mail" service such as the address was incomplete or the correspondence included insufficient payment for the "Express Mail" service.

X.   PETITION FOR CORRESPONDENCE REFUSED DUE TO POSTAL INTERRUPTION OR EMERGENCY

37 CFR 1.10(h) provides that any person who attempts to mail correspondence addressed as set out in 37 CFR 1.1(a) to the Office with sufficient postage utilizing the "Express Mail Post Office to Addressee" service of the USPS, but has the correspondence refused by an employee of the USPS due to an interruption or emergency in "Express Mail" service, may petition the Director to consider the correspondence as filed on a particular date in the Office. Such a petition must:

  • (A) be filed promptly after the person becomes aware of the refusal of the correspondence;
  • (B) include a showing that the number of the "Express Mail" mailing label was placed on the paper(s) or fee(s) that constitute the correspondence prior to the attempted mailing by "Express Mail;"
  • (C) include the original correspondence or a copy of the original correspondence showing the number of the "Express Mail" mailing label thereon; and
  • (D) include a statement by the person who originally attempted to deposit the correspondence with the USPS which establishes, to the satisfaction of the Director, the original attempt to deposit the correspondence and that the correspondence or copy of the correspondence is the original correspondence or a true copy of the correspondence originally attempted to be deposited with the USPS on the requested filing date.

The Office may require additional evidence to determine if the correspondence was refused by an employee of the USPS due to an interruption or emergency in "Express Mail" service. For example, the Office may require a letter from the USPS confirming that the refusal was due to an interruption or emergency in the "Express Mail" service.

This procedure does not apply where the USPS refused the "Express Mail" for a reason other than an interruption or emergency in "Express Mail" service such as the address was incomplete or the correspondence included insufficient payment for the "Express Mail" service. In addition, this procedure does not apply because an "Express Mail" drop box is unavailable or a Post Office facility is closed.

XI.   PETITION FOR CORRESPONDENCE UNABLE TO BE DEPOSITED DUE TO A DIRECTOR-DESIGNATED POSTAL INTERRUPTION OR EMERGENCY

37 CFR 1.10(i) provides that any person attempting to file correspondence by "Express Mail" that was unable to be deposited with the USPS due to an interruption or emergency in "Express Mail" service which has been so designated by the Director may petition the Director to consider such correspondence as filed on a particular date in the Office. Such a petition must:

  • (A) be filed in a manner designated by the Director promptly after the person becomes aware of the designated interruption or emergency in "Express Mail" service;
  • (B) include the original correspondence or a copy of the original correspondence; and
  • (C) include a statement which establishes, to the satisfaction of the Director, that the correspondence would have been deposited with the USPS but for the designated interruption or emergency in "Express Mail" service, and that the correspondence or copy of the correspondence is the original correspondence or a true copy of the correspondence originally attempted to be deposited with the USPS on the requested filing date.

This procedure applies only when the Director designates an interruption or emergency in "Express Mail" service. In the notice designating the interruption or emergency the Director will provide guidance on the manner in which petitions under 37 CFR 1.10(i) should be filed. The notice will be placed on the USPTO Web site at www.uspto.gov and published in the Official Gazette.

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