The use of unauthorized or personal removable media storage devices with any United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) computer, docking station, or monitor is prohibited. These removable media storage devices introduce security risks to the agency and can be sources of malware infections. This policy pertains exclusively to connecting or inserting removable media devices to USPTO IT equipment and applies to both to visitors and USPTO employees at all USPTO locations across the country.
Visitors and employees may still bring and use their portable media devices while in USPTO facilities. For example, you may bring your personal mobile device to a USPTO facility and use it to make calls or browse social media. You may not connect that mobile device to a USPTO-owned computer to charge the battery or share a file.
The following devices are prohibited from connecting to USPTO IT equipment:
- Portable disk drives such as USB drives or memory cards
- Writeable, non-finalized, digital versatile discs (DVDs)
- Writeable, non-finalized, read/write compact discs (CDs)
- Devices that can operate as removable media storage devices (e.g., PDAs, digital cameras, and Apple iPods)
Use alternative methods to transmit files to USPTO computers
Visitors who require use of their removable media storage devices must transfer data via email, finalized CD/DVD, or secure-file sharing services such as Kiteworks. Kiteworks is a Department of Commerce-provided service specifically intended to perform government-to-government and public-to-government file sharing. Public-to-government file sharing via Kiteworks must be initiated by a government account.
Patent customers must adhere to guidance contained within the MPEP for submission of documents and exhibits related to patent prosecution.
If you require assistance with Kiteworks, or with alternate methods of transmitting files to USPTO personnel, please email us at PublicUSBQuestions@uspto.gov.
Cyber security scanning machines available
Should none of the alternative methods be feasible for you, we will have machines at most USPTO locations that can perform cybersecurity scans to check removable media for policy compliance. The use of these machines is voluntary. This process is completely separate from the required physical security checks of visitors and their belongings. Required physical security checks are similar to airport style screening and do not normally include the scanning or review of visitors’ files or contents on their removable media devices.
Policy exception for GIPA visitors
The Global Intellectual Property Academy (GIPA) located at the USPTO headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia, has a few specific computer systems that allow limited use of removable media. Please consult with your GIPA contact if you require the use of these machines.
For any further questions or concerns, please email us at PublicUSBQuestions@uspto.gov.