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USPTO Allows Patent e-Office Actions

June 6, 2009 by · Comments Off
Filed under: Copyright Articles, Patent Articles 

In December of 2006 the USPTO began a pilot program for testing out e-Office Actions. Since that program began a limited number of applicants were logging into the Private Patent Application Information Retrieval (PAIR) system to view correspondence from the USPTO. Applicants who used this system stopped receiving paper mailings from the USPTO, instead receiving an e-mail notification when documents were available for viewing. Since the pilot program’s implementation the USPTO has made a number of improvements and are now ready to expand the e-Office Action system.

Patent Applications Allowed for e-Office Actions

Starting June 29th, 2009 any Private PAIR user who has filed any of the following patent applications with the USPTO may take advantage of this system:

  • Provisional applications;
  • Nonprovisional applications filed under 35 U.S.C. 111 (including utility, plant, design, and reissue applications); and
  • National stage applications filed under 35 U.S.C. 371.

How it works:

This program is strictly optional, and applicants must opt-in through the PAIR. If you still want your paper copy mailed to your address then you don’t have to do anything. However, if you do choose to utilize the e-Office Action program you will receive an email every time there is correspondence from the USPTO that is ready for you to view. Once you receive this email you simply have to log into the Private PAIR system to view the correspondence identified in your email.

It isn’t necessarily the absolute end of paper mailings once you are in the e-Office Action program. If the USPTO posts a correspondence that requires your response and you haven’t viewed or downloaded the document within a week of its posting, the USPTO will send a “courtesy postcard” to notify you of the correspondence. Additionally, some departments of the USPTO will still send you paper mailings.

More Information

For a more complete description of the e-Office Action system and how to set it up in your PAIR account see “Electronic Office Action. For questions about e-Office Actions contact the Patent Electronic Business Center.