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Mail Issues, Office Closures, Postal Emergencies, etc. Referenced Items (5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 78, 79, 80, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 86, 87, 88, 89, 90, 91, 92, 93, 94, 95, 96, 97, 98, 99, 100, 101, 102, 103, 104, 105, 106, 107, 108, 109, 110, 111, 112, 113)
(10)                       Use of a Post Card as a
                         Receipt for Correspondence in
                            Patent-Related Matters


   Anyone who uses a postage meter to apply postage to their
return receipt postcards must ensure that the meter postmark on such
postcards does not show the date to ensure their receipt of the


   The United States Patent and Trademark Office (Office) recently
published a notice in the Official Gazette relating to
postcard receipts for Trademark papers. See "Use of a Post Card as
Receipt for Trademark Papers Filed", 1246 OG 42 (May 8, 2001).
Similar to the Trademark Operation of the Office, the Patent Operation
also has a long-standing practice of providing confirmation of the
receipt of papers in the Office by way of return receipt postcards. A
receipt of any item(s) filed in the Office may be obtained by enclosing
with the item(s) a self-addressed postcard (with the proper postage)
specifically identifying the item(s). The person receiving
the item(s) in the Office will promptly compare the listing on the
postcard against the item(s) being filed to verify that all the items
listed on the postcard are properly identified and included among the
items being submitted to the Office. If any of the items listed on the
postcard are not included among the items being submitted, those items
will be lined through and the postcard initialed by the person
receiving the items. The Office will stamp the receipt date on the
postcard and place it in the outgoing mail for mailing to the address
provided on the postcard. See Manual of Patent Examining Procedure
(MPEP) (8th ed., August 2001), Section 503.

   The customer is solely responsible for placing the proper
postage on the self-addressed postcard. Proper postage means that it
has a stamp (or stamps) of at least the correct stamp amount or a meter
stamp/postmark that complies with United States Postal Service (USPS)
requirements. The USPS provides in its Domestic Mail Manual (DMM) that
the date in a meter postmark must be the actual date of deposit with
limited exceptions (i.e., mail deposited after the day's last scheduled
collection may bear the actual date of deposit or the date of the next
scheduled collection, and authorized dispatch prepared presort mail
accepted after midnight may bear the previous day's date). The USPS
also provides in the DMM that meter postmarks used to prepay reply
postage must not show the date. Thus, any return receipt postcard
containing a dated meter postmark may not be delivered by the USPS to the
address provided on the postcard. This is because the postcard will be
mailed by the Office substantially after the date on which the meter
postmark is printed thereon by the customer. Accordingly, to ensure the
receipt of return receipt postcards, customers must either: (1) purchase
already stamped postcards from the USPS or affix postage stamps to their
postcards, or (2) if a postage meter is used, ensure that the meter
postmark does not show the date (as is set forth in the
instructions in their postage meter license agreement regarding prepay
reply postage). Once the Office has made an initial attempt to mail a
postcard receipt, the Office cannot assume responsibility for further
handling any postcard bearing improper postage that is deemed
undeliverable by the USPS.

   Any questions concerning this notice should be directed to
Eugenia Jones or Fred Silverberg, Senior Legal Advisors in the Office
of Patent Legal Administration. Ms. Jones can be reached by telephone
at (703) 306-5586 and by e-mail at
Mr. Silverberg can be reached by telephone at (703) 305-8986 and by e-mail
at Questions regarding the use of postage
meters and meter stamps should be directed to the United States Postal

October 9, 2001                                          NICHOLAS P. GODICI
                                     Acting Under Secretary of Commerce for
                           Intellectual Property and Acting Director of the
                                  United States Patent and Trademark Office

                                 [1252 OG 18]