(496) DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE
Patent and Trademark Office
Electronic Publication of the
Trademark Manual of Examining Procedure
AGENCY: Patent and Trademark Office, Commerce.
ACTION: Notice and request for comments.
SUMMARY: The United States Patent and Trademark Office
(USPTO) announces its intention to disseminate all future editions of
the Trademark Manual of Examining Procedure (TMEP) solely in electronic
DATES: Comments must be received on or before May 15, 2002, to ensure
ADDRESSES: Mail comments to the Commissioner for
Trademarks, 2900 Crystal Drive, Arlington, Virginia 22202-3513,
attention: Sharon Marsh; fax comments to (703) 872-9282, attention
Sharon Marsh; or e-mail comments to eTMEP@uspto.gov.
Copies of all comments will be available for public inspection in Suite
10B10, South Tower Building, 10th floor, 2900 Crystal Drive, Arlington,
Virginia 22202-3513, from 8:30 a.m. until 5 p.m., Monday through
Friday, and will be posted on the www.uspto.gov Web site.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Sharon Marsh, Office
of the Commissioner for Trademarks, (703) 308-8910, extension 145; or
e-mail to email@example.com.
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Trademark Manual of
Examining Procedure (TMEP) is a reference work that sets forth the
practices and procedures that are followed in connection with the
prosecution of applications to register marks at the USPTO. In the
past, the USPTO has provided the text of the TMEP to the Government
Printing Office (GPO) for paper publication, distribution and sale. The
USPTO, as well as private practitioners and others, bought copies of
the TMEP from the GPO. The GPO also provided deposit copies to
libraries through its Federal Depository Library Program.
Currently, the TMEP is available on the Internet at the USPTO Web site
(http://www.uspto.gov), and is also provided in paper and DVD-ROM
formats. The USPTO hereby announces its intention to disseminate all
future editions of the TMEP solely in electronic form. Electronic
distribution of the TMEP will enable the USPTO to provide more frequent
updates of the TMEP, thereby benefiting external and internal
customers. Additionally, electronic dissemination will result in
substantial cost savings.
A Federal agency that disseminates information electronically must do
so in a manner consistent with guidelines set forth in OMB Circular
A-130. Dissemination of the TMEP solely in electronic format is
consistent with those guidelines.
The guidelines require that "[a] change to electronic
dissemination, as the sole means of disseminating the product, will not
impose substantial acquisition or training costs on users, especially
State and local governments and small business entities." OMB
Circular A-130, paragraph 8a(8)(e). Elimination of the paper version of
the TMEP will not result in any significant acquisition costs. The
Internet version of the TMEP can be accessed without any special
equipment or software. Free access to the TMEP will continue to be
provided on DVD-ROM and via the Internet at all eighty-seven Patent and
Trademark Depository Library (PTDL) locations throughout the United
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States. Elimination of the paper version of the TMEP is unlikely to
significantly increase the demand for computer capacity at the PTDLs or
otherwise impose a burden on them. PTDLs routinely provide reference
assistance and training in the access and use of this and other
trademark information. However, the electronic version of the TMEP is
highly user-friendly, and therefore, its use requires little or no
training. In addition, commercial vendors currently provide the TMEP in
paper form, and the USPTO anticipates that availability through this
channel will continue.
The guidelines also provide that use of electronic media is proper if
"[t]he agency develops and maintains the information
electronically." OMB Circular A-130, paragraph 8a(8)(a). The
information set forth in the TMEP is both developed and maintained
A further requirement for use of electronic means to disseminate
information is that the "[e]lectronic media or formats are
practical and cost effective ways to provide public access to a large,
highly detailed volume of information." OMB Circular A-130, paragraph
8a(8)(b). Electronic dissemination of the TMEP is both cost-effective
and practical. Non-electronic dissemination of the TMEP is fairly
costly. For example, when the TMEP was last reissued, the USPTO
expended over $20,000.00 in printing and binding costs. Electronic
dissemination would eliminate these costs. Additionally, electronic
dissemination is highly practical; such dissemination will allow the
USPTO to issue updates whenever required by statutory, regulatory or
policy changes. Additionally, the electronic format allows users to
conduct electronic searches of the nineteen chapters and numerous
subsections that comprise the TMEP.
The guidelines also require that "[t]he agency disseminates the
product frequently." OMB Circular A-130, paragraph 8a(8)(c). The TMEP
is disseminated to users on demand. Currently, the product is updated
every few years because of the burden involved in printing and
disseminating a several-hundred-page paper document. Moving to
electronic dissemination only will permit the USPTO to issue much more
frequent updates and keep the TMEP current with changes in statute,
regulation, and procedure.
The guidelines also provide that information should not be disseminated
electronically unless "[t]he agency knows a substantial portion of
users have ready access to the necessary information technology and
training to use electronic information dissemination products." OMB
Circular A-130, paragraph 8a(8)(d). The USPTO is confident that a
substantial proportion of its customers have ready access to the
Internet, the forum on which the TMEP is posted, and that its customers
have the necessary training to utilize the TMEP.
At this time, at least one publisher offers a paper TMEP in a slightly
different format than that offered by the GPO. Thus, the USPTO is
confident that, if there is a demand for a paper TMEP, an
entrepreneurial publisher exists who will offer a paper publication.
April 9, 2002 JAMES E. ROGAN
Under Secretary of Commerce for
Intellectual Property, Director
United States Patent and Trademark Office
[1258 TMOG 59]