January 25, 2007

It was announced in Tuesday’s Federal Register that the USPTO has amended the rules of practice regarding the electronic filing of documents through its electronic filing system (EFS). The major change is that applicants can now submit correspondence to the USPTO pertaining to national stage (35 U.S.C. § 371) applications and obtain the effective date of submission of the correspondence instead of the date the USPTO would have actually received the correspondence. This new change, effective January 23, 2007, also includes the creation of a new certificate of EFS-Web transmission to obtain the effective date of submission, and according to the Federal Register, “[t]he procedure for the certificate of EFS-Web transmission is similar to the procedure for the existing certificate of mailing or transmission under §1.8.” The example provided is that “correspondence sent in reply to an Office action setting a three-month shortened statutory period for reply would be considered timely if transmitted via EFS-Web at 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time on the last day of the three-month period for reply even though it was received in the Office more than three months from the mailing of the Office action.” The rule changes allow for EFS-Web submissions to be effectively treated the same way that submissions through first-class mail or facsimile using a certificate of mailing or certificate of transmission, as appropriate. The changes will modify 37 C.F.R. §§ 1.4, 1.6, 1.8, and 1.33, but at the time of this article, those sections have not yet been modified and made available on the USPTO website.

Federal Register Excerpt: LINK
USPTO Patent Electronic Business Center Website: LINK


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Mark Reichel
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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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