Automatic Refund of Overpayments of $25 or Less
                             for a Limited Period

   The President signed into law the United States Patent and Trademark
Office Reauthorization Act, Fiscal Year 1999 (H.R. 3723, Pub. L.
105-358) on November 10, 1998. It provides for new fee amounts under 35
U.S.C. 41 (a) and (b). The PTO published a final rule in the Federal
Register on December 8, 1998 at 63 Fed. Reg. 67578 and in the Ott]cial
Gazette on December 29, 1998 at 1217 Off. Gaz. Pat. Office 148 amending
the rules of practice in patent cases to indicate the new patent the
amounts. These fee provisions were effective as of November 10, 1998,
except for the fee amounts in 37 CFR 1.17(r) and (s), and 1.21
(a)(6)(ii), which were effective on December 8, 1998.
   Pub. L. 105-358 was enacted without much advance warning and many
customers, not yet aware of the changes in the fee amounts, have
overpaid. Many of the fee reductions made by Pub. L. 105-358 are $25 or
less. Normally, because of the costs associated with processing refunds,
the PTO refunds the overpayments of $25 or less only upon request. The
PTO, however, will waive the requirement of 37 CFR 1.26(a) and
automatically refund all overpayments of $25 or less paid during the
period from November 10, 1998 through January 10, 1999.
   If you have any questions about the new patent fees, please contact
the Patent Assistance Center at (703) 308-4357 or (800) PTO-9199.

Jan. 4, 1999                                              Q. TODD DICKINSON
                                                 Deputy Assistant Secretary
                                                            of Commerce and
                                                     Deputy Commissioner of
                                                     Patents and Trademarks