Notice Concerning Safety of USPTO Mailings

   In response to inquiries that the Office has received from its
customers, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has
obtained reassurance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) about
the safety of mailings from the USPTO. Some parties have expressed
concern because some mail from the USPTO was in the past routed through
the U.S. Postal Service's Brentwood Sorting Station in Washington,
D.C., where workers are diagnosed as having contracted anthrax. Most
outgoing correspondence from the USPTO did, through Friday, October 19,
2001, pass through the Brentwood Sorting Station, but no outgoing
trademark correspondence used that facility. The Office on October 22,
2001, contacted the CDC. The CDC advises us that it is highly unlikely
that mail passing through the Brentwood postal facility was
contaminated and poses any threat.

   The Brentwood Station is now closed, and USPTO mailings, both
incoming and outgoing, are currently being routed through another

   In conveying this information, the USPTO does not of course
intend to discourage its correspondents from undertaking any enhanced
precautions in their mail operations that recent events may have led
them to consider. The USPTO had itself, before the Brentwood incident,
undertaken added training and safety measures in its mail operations.
It appears, however, that the fact that our customers receive mailings
from the USPTO should not provide a more particularized basis for
health and safety concerns.

October 23, 2001                                         NICHOLAS P. GODICI
                                     Acting Under Secretary of Commerce for
                           Intellectual Property and Acting Director of the
                                  United States Patent and Trademark Office