(317) Most Publicly Available Provisional Applications
Can Now be Viewed Over the Internet
As a result of a recent enhancement to Public PAIR (Patent
Application Information Retrieval), most provisional applications that
are relied upon for their earlier filing dates in U.S. patent
application publications or U.S. patents are now available to the
public over the Internet. Exceptions mainly include provisional
applications with filing dates prior to 1997. Any applicant wishing to
view and/or print a copy of a provisional application relied upon by an
examiner to give prior art effect under 35 U.S.C. 102(e) to a
reference applied in a rejection, may do so using the Public PAIR
website at http://portal.uspto.gov/external/portal/pair.
If, for some reason, the desired provisional application cannot be
viewed or printed from the Public PAIR website, the Public PAIR website
can still be used to order a copy of the provisional application.
Whether the order for the provisional application copy is placed with
the Office of Public Records directly from the Public PAIR website, or
by mail (using Mail Stop Document Services), the order requires the fee
under 37 CFR 1.19(b)(1).
Due to the recent enhancement to Public PAIR, the Office has
ended the transitional practice of supplying with Office actions a copy
of any provisional application relied upon to give prior art effect
under 35 U.S.C. 102(e) to a reference applied in a rejection. The
purpose of the transitional practice, which began in December of 2003,
was to make it easier for applicants to see the contents of such
provisional applications. Now that such provisional applications can be
viewed and/or printed using the Public PAIR website, the transitional
practice is no longer needed.
Questions concerning the operation of the PAIR system should be
directed to the Patent Electronic Business Center at (866) 217-9197.
October 29, 2004 STEPHEN G. KUNIN
Deputy Commissioner for
Patent Examination Policy
[1288 OG 169]