Patent EBC > PAIR > eOffice Actionprogram Info

Effective December 16, 2006, the United States Patent and Trademark Office will begin a pilot program to provide a limited number of Private PAIR users with the option of receiving electronic notification of some outgoing correspondence related to their US patents and US national patent applications retrievable through Private PAIR instead of a paper mailing of the correspondence. Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) applications will not be included in this pilot. Participants in this pilot program will no longer receive paper mailings for most correspondence originating from a Technology Center, Office of Patent Application Processing, Office of Petitions, Appeals, Licensing and Review, and Office of Publications for as long as they maintain the opt-in status for the majority of their outgoing correspondence. Participants are advised that several areas of the Office have independent mailing processes. Therefore, Pilot Participants will ONLY receive paper mailings for correspondence originating from those areas including but not limited to: Solicitor Office, PCT, Interference, and Reexamination. A Private PAIR user will be able to opt-in to receive electronic mail message (email) notifications of outgoing correspondence by selecting the appropriate choice on the Customer Number Details screen for a customer number associated with a correspondence address after logging in to Private PAIR and providing between one and three email addresses to be used for these notifications. The Private Pair user must be a registered patent attorney or agent of record, or a pro se inventor who is a named inventor in the application associated with the customer number through which Private PAIR is accessed. The Office will then send a notification to each provided email address if a new outgoing correspondence has been prepared for the patents or patent applications associated with the user’s Customer Number. Each email notification will list all applications, associated with the corresponding Customer Number, in which new outgoing correspondence was prepared for the corresponding electronic application files within the last 24 hours. Each email notification will be entered into the corresponding application files. The new outgoing correspondence will become available for viewing and downloading through Private PAIR within three days of the date of the email notification. Applicants will have the ability to opt-in or opt-out of receiving electronic notification of Office actions at any time. However, the status of each individual outgoing correspondence, whether electronic or paper, will be determined at the time of the printing of the form PTOL-90 cover sheet. The email notification described above will be sent after the Office action has been prepared. The period for reply to any Office correspondence to which a reply is required will commence on the date indicated on the outgoing Office correspondence. The date indicated on the Office correspondence will also be considered the date of mailing of such outgoing correspondence for all other purposes (e.g., 37 CFR 1.71(g)(2), 1.97(b), 1.701 through 1.705). The Office communication will become available for downloading and viewing through Private PAIR on the date indicated on the correspondence. If none of the documents in each of the applications listed in the email notifications are viewed or downloaded through Private PAIR within seven calendar days after the emails are sent, a courtesy postcard notifying the applicant of the availability of electronic Office action will be mailed to the correspondence address associated with the applicant’s corresponding Customer Number for each of those applications. The mailing of a courtesy postcard will not restart the time period for reply, and the period for reply to any outgoing Office correspondence to which a reply is required will continue to be measured from the date indicated on such outgoing Office correspondence. Please note that the [automated] email notification procedure outlined above is simply an automated email sent by the Office to alert applicant that an official Office correspondence has been entered in the official record that will be available for viewing via private PAIR. It is not an email sent by the examiner and does not alter the Office policy prohibiting an applicant or examiner from engaging in improper email correspondence. See MPEP section 502.03.

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