Wednesday, April 28, 2004

In Case You Haven't Heard (Or Heard Peripherally and Promptly Forgot):

In support of its 21st Century Strategic Plan goal of increased patent e-Government, beginning in June 2004, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (Office or USPTO) will begin the phase-in of its E-Patent Reference program and hence will:

(1) provide downloading capability of the U.S. patents and U.S. patent application publications cited in Office actions via the EPatent Reference feature of the Office’s Patent Application Information Retrieval (PAIR) system; and

(2) cease mailing paper copies of U.S. patents and U.S. patent application publications with office actions except for citations made during the international stage of an international application under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT).

In order to use the new EPatent Reference feature applicants must:

(1) obtain a digital certificate and software from the

(2) obtain a customer number from the Office; and

(3) properly associate patent applications with the customer number. Alternatively, copies of all U.S. patents and U.S. patent application publications can be accessed without a digital certificate from the USPTO web site, from the USPTO Office of Public Records, and from commercial sources.

The Office will continue the practice of supplying paper copies of foreign patent documents and non-patent literature with Office actions. Paper copies of cited references will continue to be provided by the USPTO for international applications under the PCT during the international stage.

Deployment of E-Patent Reference System

The USPTO will deploy the full E-Patent Reference program starting in June of 2004. In accordance with the schedule shown below, paper copies of cited U.S. patents and U.S. patent application publications will cease to be mailed to applicants with Office actions in the indicated Technology Centers (TCs). Paper copies of foreign patents and non-patent literature will continue to be included with office actions.


June 2004 - TCs 1600, 1700, 2800 and 2900

July 2004 - TCs 3600 and 3700

August 2004 - TCs 2100 and 2600

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