August 01, 2007

As noted in Monday’s USPTO press release (link below), the USPTO and the Japanese Patent Office (JPO) announced that they have “launched a free service that will allow the two offices to electronically exchange patent application priority documents and help further streamline the patent application process” resulting from an early agreement between the two offices from 2006. Priority documents are filed when an applicant claims an earlier filing date in one patent office based on an earlier filing in another patent office, and according to the press release, “[t]his electronic exchange of copies of priority documents promotes sharing of information between the intellectual property offices and reduces the administrative costs associated with handling paper copies of priority documents and scanning them into the offices' electronic image record management systems.” Two forms will be used (PTO/SB/38 and PTO/SB/39), and according to a January 2007 Federal Register excerpt (link below), “[t]he first form (PTO/SB/38) will permit applicants to request that the Office retrieve an electronic copy of any foreign application filed in an intellectual property office participating with the Office in a direct agreement to retrieve electronic copies of priority documents,” and “[t]he second form (PTO/SB/39)would be used to provide the Office with written authority to provide a copy of a patent application to participating foreign intellectual property offices at no cost to the applicant.” Links to the two forms and instructions for use are also provided via the “forms and instructions” link below.

USPTO Press Release: LINK
Federal Register Excerpt (PDF): LINK
USPTO Forms and Instructions: LINK

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Mark Reichel
Reichel IP LLC

I am a patent attorney with Reichel IP LLC, where I concentrate my practice on patent drafting and prosecution, trademarks, and general intellectual property matters. I currently focus on the preparation and prosecution of medical device and other life sciences patent applications, and being actively involved in a number of local not-for-profit organizations.

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