TMEP / Filing and Receipt of Documents

Chapter 300 Filing and Receipt of Documents

Filing and Receipt of Documents
301 Electronic Filing

The Trademark Electronic Application System (“TEAS”) makes electronic filing available on the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) website, athttp://www.uspto.gov.  TEAS can be used to file all forms related to a domestic application or registration, or for filings under the Madrid Protocol.  TEAS offers a group of specific forms that require direct data entry in designated fields, and/or the attachment of a .jpg or .pdf image file.  For documents for which a specific TEAS form with dedicated data fields has not yet been developed, TEAS also offers "Global Forms" that allow a filer to attach a .jpg or .pdf image file that contains the complete text for the actual filing.

When a document is filed electronically, either as a specific TEAS form or through the global form approach, the USPTO generally receives it within seconds after filing.  TEAS almost immediately displays a “Success” page that confirms receipt.  This page is evidence of filing should any question arise as to the filing date of the document, and may be printed or copied-and-pasted into an electronic record for storage.  From the “Success” page, the filer can click on a link to a PDF receipt that includes a summary of the filed information and general processing information.  TEAS also separately sends an e-mail acknowledgement of receipt that includes the same information.  Electronic filing creates an automatic entry of receipt of this filing into the USPTO’s automated system, which helps to avoid improper abandonment or cancellation.

Under37 C.F.R. §2.195(a)(2), correspondence transmitted electronically using TEAS is considered filed on the date the USPTO receives the transmission, in Eastern Time, regardless of whether that date is a Saturday, Sunday, or Federal holiday within the District of Columbia.

SeeTMEP §611.01(c) regarding signature of documents filed electronically.

SeeTMEP §§807.05–807.05(c) regarding drawings in electronically transmitted applications, andTMEP §904.02(a)regarding specimens in electronically transmitted applications.

Requests for recordation of assignments and other documents affecting title to an application or registration can be filed through the Electronic Trademark Assignment System (“ETAS”) on the USPTO website athttp://etas.uspto.gov.

The Electronic System for Trademark Trials and Appeals (“ESTTA”), athttp://estta.uspto.gov/, must be used to file requests for extensions of time to oppose, notices of opposition, petitions to cancel, appeals, motions, briefs, notices of change of address, and other documents in Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (“Board") proceedings.

If a document transmitted through TEAS, ETAS, or ESTTA is due on a Saturday, Sunday, or a Federal holiday within the District of Columbia, the document will be considered timely if the USPTO receives the transmission on or before the following day that is not a Saturday, Sunday, or a Federal holiday within the District of Columbia.  37 C.F.R. §2.196;TMEP §308.

SeeTMEP §819 regarding TEAS Plus andTMEP §820 regarding TEAS RF.

302 Trademark Correspondence and Signature Requirements - In General

37 C.F.R.  Trademark correspondence and signature requirements.

  • (a) Signature required.  Each piece of correspondence that requires a signature must bear:
    • (1) A handwritten signature personally signed in permanent ink by the person named as the signatory, or a true copy thereof; or
    • (2) An electronic signature that meets the requirements of paragraph (c) of this section, personally entered by the person named as the signatory.  The Office will accept an electronic signature that meets the requirements of paragraph (c) of this section on correspondence filed on paper, by facsimile transmission (§ 2.195(c)), or through TEAS or ESTTA.
  • (b) Copy of original signature.  If a copy, such as a photocopy or facsimile copy of an original signature is filed, the filer should retain the original as evidence of authenticity.  If a question of authenticity arises, the Office may require submission of the original.
  • (c) Requirements for electronic signature.  A person signing a document electronically must:
    • (1) Personally enter any combination of letters, numbers, spaces and/or punctuation marks that he or she has adopted as a signature, placed between two forward slash (“/”) symbols in the signature block on the electronic submission; or
    • (2) Sign the document using some other form of electronic signature specified by the Director.
  • (d) Signatory must be identified.  The name of the person who signs a document in connection with a trademark application, registration, or proceeding before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board must be set forth in printed or typed form immediately below or adjacent to the signature, or identified elsewhere in the filing (e.g., in a cover letter or other document that accompanies the filing).
  • (e) Proper person to sign.  Documents filed in connection with a trademark application or registration must be signed by a proper person.  Unless otherwise specified by law, the following requirements apply:
    • (1) Verified statement of facts. A verified statement in support of an application for registration, amendment to an application for registration, allegation of use under § 2.76 or § 2.88, request for extension of time to file a statement of use under § 2.89, or an affidavit under section 8, 12(c), 15, or 71 of the Act must satisfy the requirements of § 2.2(n), and be signed by the owner or a person properly authorized to sign on behalf of the owner. A person who is properly authorized to verify facts on behalf of an owner is:
      • (i) A person with legal authority to bind the owner (e.g., a corporate officer or general partner of a partnership);
      • (ii) A person with firsthand knowledge of the facts and actual or implied authority to act on behalf of the owner; or
      • (iii) An attorney as defined in § 11.1 of this chapter who has an actual written or verbal power of attorney or an implied power of attorney from the owner.
    • (2) Responses, amendments to applications, requests for express abandonment, requests for reconsideration of final actions, and requests to divide.  Responses to Office actions, amendments to applications, requests for express abandonment, requests for reconsideration of final actions, and requests to divide must be signed by the owner of the application or registration, someone with legal authority to bind the owner (e.g. a corporate officer or general partner of a partnership), or a practitioner qualified to practice under § 11.14 of this chapter, in accordance with the following guidelines:
      • (i) If the owner is represented by a practitioner qualified to practice before the Office under § 11.14 of this chapter, the practitioner must sign, except where the owner is required to sign the correspondence; or
      • (ii) If the owner is not represented by a practitioner qualified to practice under § 11.14 of this chapter, the individual owner or someone with legal authority to bind the owner (e.g., a corporate officer or general partner of a partnership) must sign.  In the case of joint owners who are not represented by a qualified practitioner, all must sign.
    • (3) Powers of attorney and revocations of powers of attorney.  Powers of attorney and revocations of powers of attorney must be signed by the individual applicant, registrant or party to a proceeding pending before the Office, or by someone with legal authority to bind the applicant, registrant, or party (e.g., a corporate officer or general partner of a partnership).  In the case of joint applicants, registrants, or parties, all must sign.  Once the applicant, registrant or party has designated a qualified practitioner(s), the named practitioner may sign an associate power of attorney appointing another qualified practitioner(s) as an additional person(s) authorized to prosecute the application or registration.  If the applicant, registrant, or party revokes the original power of attorney, the revocation discharges any associate power signed by the practitioner whose power has been revoked.  If the practitioner who signed an associate power withdraws, the withdrawal discharges any associate power signed by the withdrawing practitioner upon acceptance of the request for withdrawal by the Office.
    • (4) Petitions to revive under § 2.66.  A petition to revive under § 2.66 must be signed by someone with firsthand knowledge of the facts regarding unintentional delay.
    • (5) Petitions to Director under § 2.146.  A petition to the Director under § 2.146 must be signed by the petitioner, someone with legal authority to bind the petitioner (e.g., a corporate officer or general partner of a partnership), or a practitioner qualified to practice under § 11.14 of this chapter, in accordance with the following guidelines:
      • (i) If the petitioner is represented by a practitioner qualified to practice before the Office under § 11.14 of this chapter, the practitioner must sign; or
      • (ii) If the petitioner is not represented by a practitioner authorized to practice before the Office under § 11.14 of this chapter, the individual petitioner or someone with legal authority to bind the petitioner (e.g., a corporate officer or general partner of a partnership) must sign.  In the case of joint petitioners, all must sign.
    • (6) Requests for correction, amendment or surrender of registrations.  A request for correction, amendment or surrender of a registration must be signed by the owner of the registration, someone with legal authority to bind the owner (e.g., a corporate officer or general partner of a partnership), or a practitioner qualified to practice before the Office under § 11.14 of this chapter.  In the case of joint owners who are not represented by a qualified practitioner, all must sign.
    • (7) Renewal applications.  A renewal application must be signed by the registrant or the registrant’s representative.
    • (8) Designations and revocations of domestic representative.  A designation or revocation of a domestic representative must be signed by the applicant or registrant, someone with legal authority to bind the applicant or registrant (e.g., a corporate officer or general partner of a partnership), or a practitioner qualified to practice under § 11.14 of this chapter.  In the case of joint applicants or registrants, all must sign.
    • (9) Requests to change correspondence address in an application or registration.  A notice of change of correspondence address in an application or registration must be signed by the applicant or registrant, someone with legal authority to bind the applicant or registrant (e.g., a corporate officer or general partner of a partnership), or a practitioner qualified to practice under § 11.14 of this chapter, in accordance with the following guidelines:
      • (i) If the applicant or registrant is represented by a practitioner qualified to practice before the Office under § 11.14 of this chapter, the practitioner must sign; or
      • (ii) If the applicant or registrant is not represented by a practitioner qualified to practice before the Office under § 11.14, the individual applicant or registrant or someone with legal authority to bind the applicant or registrant (e.g., a corporate officer or general partner of a partnership) must sign.  In the case of joint applicants or joint registrants, all must sign.
    • (10) Cover letters.  A person transmitting paper documents to the Office may sign a cover letter or transmittal letter.  The Office neither requires cover letters nor questions the authority of a person who signs a communication that merely transmits paper documents.
  • (f) Signature as certification.  The presentation to the Office (whether by signing, filing, submitting, or later advocating) of any document by any person, whether a practitioner or non-practitioner, constitutes a certification under § 11.18(b) of this chapter.  Violations of § 11.18(b) of this chapter may jeopardize the validity of the application or registration, and may result in the imposition of sanctions under § 11.18(c) of this chapter.  Any practitioner violating § 11.18(b) of this chapter may also be subject to disciplinary action.  See § 11.18(d) and § 11.804 of this chapter.
  • (g) Separate copies for separate files.
    • (1) Since each file must be complete in itself, a separate copy of every document to be filed in connection with a trademark application, registration, or inter partes proceeding must be furnished for each file to which the document pertains, even though the contents of the documents filed in multiple files may be identical.
    • (2) Parties should not file duplicate copies of correspondence in a single application, registration, or proceeding file, unless the Office requires the filing of duplicate copies.  The Office may dispose of duplicate copies of correspondence.
  • (h) Separate documents for separate branches of the Office.  Since different branches or sections of the Office may consider different matters, each distinct subject, inquiry or order must be contained in a separate document to avoid confusion and delay in answering correspondence.
  • (i) Certified documents required by statute.  When a statute requires that a document be certified, a copy or facsimile transmission of the certification is not acceptable.

The USPTO recommends that all trademark correspondence be filed through TEAS.  SeeTMEP §301.  Trademark correspondence may also be sent through the United States Postal Service (“USPS”), delivered by a courier service, or hand carried to the USPTO.  Except for documents listed inTMEP §306.01, correspondence may be transmitted by facsimile (“fax”).  (Note that an application for registration of a mark maynotbe filed by fax.  37 C.F.R. §§2.195(d)(1),2.197(a)(2)).  Certain informal communications may be conducted through electronic mail ("e-mail") (TMEP §304.01).

SeeTMEP §§304–304.03 regarding e-mail,TMEP §§305–305.04 regarding mailing documents to the USPTO,TMEP §§306–306.06 regarding fax transmission, andTMEP §307 regarding hand delivery.

An applicant, registrant, or attorney may sign an official Trademark communication by personally entering a “symbol,” comprising any combination of letters, numbers, spaces, and/or punctuation marks, that he or she has adopted as a signature between two forward slashes (“/”).See37 C.F.R. §2.193(c) andTMEP §611.01(c).

A scanned image of a document with a handwritten signature is also acceptable, as long as the image is attached in .jpg or .pdf format.

The use of an electronic signature under37 C.F.R. §2.193(c) or an “/s/” notation on a communication constitutes a certification under37 C.F.R. §11.18(b), and will be understood to mean, that:

  • (1) The correspondence has been read by the applicant, registrant, or attorney;
  • (2) The filing of the correspondence is authorized;
  • (3) To the best of the signatory’s knowledge, information, and belief, formed after an inquiry reasonable under the circumstances, there is good ground to support the correspondence; and
  • (4) The correspondence is not presented for purposes of delay.

The signatory must personally sign the communication.37 C.F.R. §2.193(c)(1);seeTMEP §§611.01(b),611.01(c), and611.02.

302.01 Original Documents Generally Not Required

When a party files a copy of a document related to an application or registration, the USPTO will normally not require the party to submit the original document.  Copies (e.g., photocopies or fax transmissions) are acceptable unless a document is required by statute to be certified (e.g., a certified copy of a final court order pursuant to 15 U.S.C. §1119).  However, the party who filed the copy should retain the original in case questions arise as to the authenticity of the signature on the photocopy or faxed correspondence.  37 C.F.R. §2.193(b).

Original certificates of registration are not required for requests for amendment or correction of a registration under §7 of the Trademark Act, and owners are strongly discouraged from submitting them.  TMEP §§1609.01(b),1609.10.

302.02 Multiple Copies of Documents Should Not Be Filed

37 C.F.R.  

Parties should not file duplicate copies of correspondence in a single application, registration, or proceeding file, unless the Office requires the filing of duplicate copies. The Office may dispose of duplicate copies of correspondence.

As a general rule, only one copy of each document should be filed, unless more than one copy is specifically required by statute or rule, or a USPTO employee specifically requests more than one copy.

When filing a document electronically or by fax, a party shouldnotsend a follow-up copy unless the USPTO specifically requests a follow-up copy.  37 C.F.R. §2.193(g)(2).  Submission of duplicate documents can delay processing.SeeIn re Allegiance Staffing, 115 USPQ2d 1319, 1323 (TTAB 2015)(discouraging the submission of duplicate filings because “it merely adds to the bulk of the file and makes it more difficult to review the submissions”).

302.03 Identifying the Nature of Documents Filed
302.03(a) Correspondence Pertaining to Trademark Applications

Documents filed through TEAS or ESTTA are automatically transmitted to the appropriate location and entered into the record of the appropriate application or Board proceeding.

For paper documents, to ensure the timely entry into the official record, every piece of correspondence filed in the USPTO pertaining to a trademark application should be identified at the beginning by a heading or caption and by the serial number of the application, the name of the applicant, and the mark to which the document pertains.  37 C.F.R. §2.194(b)(1).  Cover letters and transmittal letters should identify the material that they accompany.

To expedite processing,all incoming documents pertaining to an application should include the following identifying data:

  • (1) Serial number;
  • (2) Filing date;
  • (3) Mark;
  • (4) A title indicating the nature of the document;
  • (5) Law office (identified in the most recent Office action);
  • (6) Name of examining attorney identified on the most recent Office action;
  • (7) Issuance date of the Office action to which the document is in response, if applicable;
  • (8) The name, address (including ZIP code), and telephone number of the applicant or the applicant’s attorney; and
  • (9) The applicant’s or attorney’s e-mail address.

To facilitate the matching of responses to Office actions with the correct records, examining attorneys’ Office actions issued on paper include peel-off response labels that reference the application serial number, the mark and the assigned law office.  If filing a response on paper, the applicant is encouraged to affix this label to the upper right-hand corner of the response.

302.03(b) Correspondence Pertaining to Trademark Registrations

Documents filed through TEAS or ESTTA are automatically transmitted to the appropriate location and entered into the record of the appropriate registration or Board proceeding.

For paper filings, correspondence relating to a registered trademark should identify the registration by specifying the mark, the registrant’s name, and the registration number.  37 C.F.R. §2.194(b)(2).

Paper correspondence filed under15 U.S.C. §§1057,1058,1059, and1141k should be directed to the Post Registration Section of the Office.

Paper petitions to cancel a registered mark should be directed to the Board.TMEP §1607.

Court orders relating to registered trademarks should be sent to the Office of the Solicitor.  TMEP §1610.

303 Receipt of Documents by the Office

37 C.F.R.  Receipt of trademark correspondence.

  • (a) Date of receipt and Priority Mail Express® date of deposit. Trademark correspondence received in the Office is given a filing date as of the date of receipt except as follows:
  • (1) The Office is not open for the filing of correspondence on any day that is a Saturday, Sunday, or Federal holiday within the District of Columbia.  Except for correspondence transmitted electronically under paragraph (a)(2) of this section or transmitted by facsimile under paragraph (a)(3) of this section, no correspondence is received in the Office on Saturdays, Sundays, or Federal holidays within the District of Columbia.
  • (2) Trademark-related correspondence transmitted electronically will be given a filing date as of the date on which the Office receives the transmission.
  • (3) Correspondence transmitted by facsimile will be given a filing date as of the date on which the complete transmission is received in the Office unless that date is a Saturday, Sunday, or Federal holiday within the District of Columbia, in which case the filing date will be the next succeeding day that is not a Saturday, Sunday, or Federal holiday within the District of Columbia.
  • (4) Correspondence filed in accordance with § 2.198 will be given a filing date as of the date of deposit as Priority Mail Express® with the United States Postal Service.
  • (b) Correspondence delivered by hand.  Correspondence may be delivered by hand during hours the Office is open to receive correspondence.
  • (c) Facsimile transmission.  Except in the cases enumerated in paragraph (d) of this section, correspondence, including authorizations to charge a deposit account, may be transmitted by facsimile.  The receipt date accorded to the correspondence will be the date on which the complete transmission is received in the Office, unless that date is a Saturday, Sunday, or Federal holiday within the District of Columbia.  See § 2.196.  To facilitate proper processing, each transmission session should be limited to correspondence to be filed in a single application, registration or proceeding before the Office.  The application serial number, registration number, or proceeding number should be entered as a part of the sender’s identification on a facsimile cover sheet.
  • (d) Facsimile transmissions are not permitted and if submitted, will not be accorded a date of receipt, in the following situations:
  • (1) Applications for registration of marks;
  • (2) Drawings submitted under § 2.51, § 2.52, § 2.72, or § 2.173;
  • (3) Correspondence to be filed with the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board;
  • (4) Requests for cancellation or amendment of a registration under section 7(e) of the Trademark Act; and certificates of registration surrendered for cancellation or amendment under section 7(e) of the Trademark Act; and
  • (5) Madrid-related correspondence submitted under § 7.11, § 7.21, § 7.14, § 7.23, § 7.24, or § 7.31.
  • (e) Interruptions in U.S. Postal Service.
  • (1) If the Director designates a postal service interruption or emergency within the meaning of 35 U.S.C. 21(a),  any person attempting to file correspondence by Priority Mail Express® Post Office to Addressee service who was unable to deposit the correspondence with the United States Postal Service due to the interruption or emergency may petition the Director to consider such correspondence as filed on a particular date in the Office.
  • (2) The petition must:
  • (i) Be filed promptly after the ending of the designated interruption or emergency;
  • (ii) Include the original correspondence or a copy of the original correspondence; and
  • (iii) Include a statement that the correspondence would have been deposited with the United States Postal Service on the requested filing date but for the designated interruption or emergency in Priority Mail Express® service; and that the correspondence attached to the petition is the original correspondence or a true copy of the correspondence originally attempted to be deposited as Priority Mail Express® on the requested filing date.
  • (3) Paragraphs (e)(1) and (e)(2) of this section do not apply to correspondence that is excluded from the Priority Mail Express® procedure pursuant to § 2.198(a)(1).
303.01 Date of Receipt

Correspondence transmitted through TEAS is considered to have been filed on the date the USPTO receives the transmission, in Eastern Time, regardless of whether that date is a Saturday, Sunday, or Federal holiday within the District of Columbia.  37 C.F.R. §2.195(a)(2).

For paper correspondence, the date of actual receipt in the USPTO is assigned as the filing date of all correspondence.  37 C.F.R. §2.195(a).  However, under37 C.F.R. §§2.195(a)(1) and(3), no paper correspondence is “received” in the USPTO on Saturdays, Sundays, or Federal holidays within the District of Columbia.  SeeTMEP §308regarding response periods that end on a Saturday, Sunday, or Federal holiday within the District of Columbia.

The filing date of a fax transmission (see TMEP §306.06) is the date the complete transmission is received in the USPTO, unless that date is a Saturday, Sunday, or Federal holiday within the District of Columbia, in which case the filing date is the next succeeding day that is not a Saturday, Sunday, or Federal holiday within the District of Columbia.  37 C.F.R. §2.195(a)(1),(3).  However, if the communication is properly filed using the “certificate of transmission” procedure under37 C.F.R. §2.197, the USPTO looks to the date on the certificate to determine whether the filing is timely.  TMEP § 306.05(c).

Similarly, if a document is mailed to the USPTO using the “certificate of mailing” procedure under37 C.F.R. §2.197 (TMEP §§305.02–305.02(h)), the filing date is the date of receipt in the USPTO, but the USPTO looks to the date on the certificate to determine whether the filing is timely.  TMEP §305.02(e).

SeeTMEP §1904.01(b) regarding the filing date of a request for an extension of protection of an international registration to the United States under §66(a) of the Trademark Act,15 U.S.C. §1141f(a).  

303.02 Acknowledgment of Receipt
303.02(a) TEAS “Success” Page

When a document is filed electronically, the USPTO generally receives it within seconds after filing.  TEAS almost immediately displays a “Success” page that confirms receipt.  This page may be printed or copied-and-pasted into an electronic record for storage, and used as evidence of filing should any question arise as to the filing date of the document.

303.02(b) “Mail Room Date” Label Showing Receipt

The USPTO places a bar code label indicating the date of receipt on every application, part of an application, amendment, letter, or other document submitted to the USPTO on paper.  The label is referred to as the “Mail Room Date” label, and it establishes the date of receipt (i.e., the filing date) of any document.  Before 1998, the USPTO used a stamp, known as the “Office Date Stamp,” to indicate the date of receipt of incoming documents.

303.02(c) Postcard Receipt

For documents filed on paper, a party may obtain a receipt by enclosing a self-addressed, stamped postcard identifying the document.  The USPTO will place a label indicating the receipt date on the card and return it to the party who filed the document.

The identifying data on the postcard should be complete and specific.  The nature of the document being filed (e.g., application, affidavit, amendment, appeal, petition); the name of the applicant or registrant; the mark; the application filing date or registration date; and the application serial number, registration number, or proceeding number should be included if available.  Each specific element of the filing should be listed on the postcard (e.g., written application, drawing page, fee, specimen) so that the postcard can be used as evidence that the element was submitted if the element is lost or disassociated from the record.

The party submitting the postcard is responsible for placing proper postage on the self-addressed postcard, and for ensuring that the proper mailing address appears on the postcard.  SeeTMEP §303.02(c)(i) regarding the use of postage meters.

If a postcard with proper postage accompanies application documents that are mailed to the USPTO, a bar code label indicating the serial number assigned to the application will be applied to the postcard.

If the postcard accompanies application documents that are hand delivered, the bar code label will not be applied to the postcard because the application has not yet been serialized.  Therefore, if application documents are hand carried, the applicant may submit a second postcard with proper postage so that, upon serialization, the USPTO may send the additional card, with a bar code label indicating the serial number, to the applicant.

When documents for more than one application or registration are filed under a single cover, a return postcard should be attached to each document for which a receipt is desired.

303.02(c)(i) Postage on Return Receipt Postcards

The party submitting a return receipt postcard (seeTMEP §303.02(c)) is responsible for placing proper postage on the self-addressed postcard.  Proper postage means that it has a stamp(s) in the correct amount or a meter stamp postmark that complies with USPS requirements.

The USPS provides in its Domestic Mail Manual that the date in a meter postmark must be the actual date of deposit, with limited exceptions, and that meter postmarks used to prepay reply postage mustnot show the date.  The USPS will not accept for mailing a post card that contains a postage meter date more than ten days old.  Thus, a return receipt postcard containing a dated meter postmark may not be delivered by the USPS, because the postcard will be mailed by the Office substantially after the date on which the meter postmark is printed on the card.

Therefore, to ensure the receipt of a confirmation post card, the party filing the postcard should:  (1) affix postage stamps to their postcards, or purchase already-stamped post cards from the USPS; or (2) if a postage meter is used, ensure that the meter postmark does not show the date, and follow the instructions in the postage meter license agreement regarding prepay reply postage.  See notice at 1246 TMOG 42 (May 8, 2001).

304 Electronic Mail
304.01 Communications Acceptable Via Electronic Mail

Applicants and registrants may use e-mail only to conduct informal communications regarding a particular application or registration as an alternative to telephone communications. See TMEP §§709.04,709.05.  

For example, an applicant may submit via e-mail:

  • Questions regarding an outstanding Office action that do not constitute a response;
  • Authorization to issue an examiner’s amendment or priority action (seeTMEP §§707.01,708.01);
  • Objection to an examiner’s amendment (seeTMEP §§707,707.02);
  • Notification of termination of a cancellation proceeding that is the basis for suspension (seeTMEP §716.02(a));
  • Request to arrange a convenient time to speak by telephone.

See TMEP §304.02 regarding communications that are not acceptable via e-mail.

Attachments: As part of an informal communication, if an applicant’s or registrant’s e-mail contains one or more attachments, the USPTO will only open and view the attachments if they are in .jpg or .pdf format and are legible. The USPTO will not open attachments in any other format.

The examining attorney must ensure that all relevant informal e-mail communications from applicants are entered into the electronic record.  SeeTMEP §§709.04 and709.05 for further information.

304.02 Communications Not Acceptable Via Electronic Mail

E-mail maynot be used to file applications for registration of marks, responses to Office actions, pre- or post-publication amendments to an application, changes of correspondence address, appointments or revocations of attorneys, attorney withdrawal requests, petitions, documents required by statute to show use of a mark in commerce or to request an extension of time to show such use, and post-registration maintenance documents, proposed amendments, or responses to Post Registration Office actions.  These documents may be filed electronically using TEAS. Responses to Office actions sent via e-mail will not be accorded a date of receipt.37 C.F.R. §2.62(c).

Further, e-mail may not be used to request an advisory opinion as to the likelihood of overcoming a refusal or requirement. The examining attorney or Post Registration specialist should advise the applicant to file a formal response for consideration of arguments regarding any refusal or requirement.

See TMEP §304.01 regarding communications that are acceptable via e-mail, §709.04 regarding telephone and e-mail communications, and §709.05 regarding informal communications.

The Board does not accept e-mail communications.

304.03 Authorization of Official Correspondence from the USPTO by Electronic Mail

The USPTO will send official correspondence concerning an application or registration by e-mail only if e-mail communication is authorized by the applicant, registrant, or a practitioner qualified under37 C.F.R.§11.14 who has been authorized by the applicant or registrant to act on its behalf.

The applicant, registrant, or qualified practitioner may authorize the USPTO to communicate by e-mail by so indicating in the initial application or in any official written communication.  The authorization must include the e-mail address to which e-mail is to be sent.  If the applicant, registrant, or the applicant’s qualified practitioner authorizes the USPTO to send official correspondence by e-mail, one primary e-mail address may be designated, as well as up to four secondary e-mail addresses for duplicate courtesy copies of the correspondence. SeeTMEP §403regarding treatment of undeliverable e-mail correspondence.

The USPTO is not required to send Office actions and other official correspondence by e-mail whenever the applicant or registrant authorizes e mail correspondence. The USPTO may send certain correspondence by e mail, regular mail, fax, or other appropriate means.

It is the responsibility of the applicant, registrant, or qualified practitioner to notify the USPTO of any changes of e-mail address.  TMEP §609.03.

The Office considers any authorization for e-mail communications to end upon the date of registration of a mark. Note, however, that a courtesy e-mail reminder of USPTO maintenance filing deadlines will be sent to all e-mail addresses of record within the Correspondence and Current Owner(s) Information fields, as indicated in Office records. SeeTMEP §§1604.02 and1613.02.

305 Mailing Documents to the Office
305.01 Mailing Addresses

Documents filed through TEAS are automatically sent to the appropriate location.

For trademark-related documents filed on paper, except for documents sent to the Assignment Recordation Branch for recordation, requests for copies of trademark documents, and certain documents filed under the Madrid Protocol (listed below), all trademark-related correspondence that is mailed to the USPTO should be addressed to:

Commissioner for Trademarks

P.O. Box 1451

Alexandria,

Virginia22313-1451

The names of individual employees shouldnot be placed on theenvelopes in which official communications are sent to the USPTO.  Envelopes may be marked “Attention:  Trademark Examining Operation.”  Responses to Office actions should include the name of the examining attorney in the heading.

Documents Filed Under the Madrid Protocol

International applications under37 C.F.R. §7.11, subsequent designations under37 C.F.R. §7.21, responses to irregularity notices under37 C.F.R. §7.14, requests to record changes in the International Register under37 C.F.R. §§7.23 and7.24, requests for transformation under37 C.F.R. §7.31, requests to note replacement under37 C.F.R. §7.28,and petitions to the Director to review the actions of the USPTO’s Madrid Processing Unit, when filed by mail, must be mailed to:

Madrid Processing Unit

600 Dulany Street

Alexandria

Virginia22314-5793

37 C.F.R. §§2.190(e),7.4(b).

Documents to be Recorded in Assignment Recordation Branch

To expedite processing, the USPTO recommends filing requests to record documents through the USPTO website, athttp://etas.uspto.gov.  Documents filed electronically are recorded much faster than their paper counterparts.  Unless they are filed together with new applications, paper documents and cover sheets to be recorded in the Assignment Recordation Branch should be sent to Mail Stop Assignment Recordation Services, Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, P. O. Box 1450, Alexandria VA  22313‑1450.  37 C.F.R. §§2.190(c),3.27.

Requests for Copies of Trademark Documents

Copies of trademark documents can be ordered through the USPTO website athttp://www.uspto.gov.  Requests for copies of documents can also be faxed or e-mailed to the USPTO, with an authorization to charge the fee to a credit card or USPTO deposit account.  SeeTMEP §111 for additional information.

All other requests for certified or uncertified copies of trademark documents should be sent to:  Mail Stop Document Services, Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, P. O. Box 1450, Alexandria VA  22313‑1450.  37 C.F.R. §2.190(d).

305.02 Certificate of Mailing Procedure

37 C.F.R.  Certificate of mailing or transmission.

  • (a) Except in the cases enumerated in paragraph (a)(2) of this section, correspondence required to be filed in the Office within a set period of time will be considered as being timely filed if the procedure described in this section is followed.  The actual date of receipt will be used for all other purposes.
  • (1) Correspondence will be considered as being timely filed if:
  • (i) The correspondence is mailed or transmitted prior to expiration of the set period of time by being:
  • (A) Addressed as set out in §2.190 and deposited with the U.S. Postal Service with sufficient postage as first class mail; or
  • (B) Transmitted by facsimile to the Office in accordance with §2.195(c); and
  • (ii) The correspondence includes a certificate for each piece of correspondence stating the date of deposit or transmission.  The person signing the certificate should have a reasonable basis to expect that the correspondence would be mailed or transmitted on or before the date indicated.
  • (2) The procedure described in paragraph (a)(1) of this section does not apply to:
  • (i) Applications for the registration of marks under 15 U.S.C. 1051 or 1126; and
  • (ii) Madrid-related correspondence filed under §7.11, §7.21, §7.14, §7.23, §7.24 or §7.31.
  • (b) In the event that correspondence is considered timely filed by being mailed or transmitted in accordance with paragraph (a) of this section, but not received in the Office, and an application is abandoned, a registration is cancelled or expired, or a proceeding is dismissed, terminated, or decided with prejudice, the correspondence will be considered timely if the party who forwarded such correspondence:
  • (1) Informs the Office of the previous mailing or transmission of the correspondence within two months after becoming aware that the Office has no evidence of receipt of the correspondence;
  • (2) Supplies an additional copy of the previously mailed or transmitted correspondence and certificate; and
  • (3) Includes a statement that attests on a personal knowledge basis or to the satisfaction of the Director to the previous timely mailing or transmission.  If the correspondence was sent by facsimile transmission, a copy of the sending unit’s report confirming transmission may be used to support this statement.
  • (c) The Office may require additional evidence to determine whether the correspondence was timely filed.

In37 C.F.R. §2.197, there is a “certificate of mailing or transmission” procedure to avoid lateness due to mail delay for certain trademark correspondence.  SeeTMEP §305.02(a) regarding trademark correspondence excluded from the certificate of mailing or transmission procedure. Under the certificate of mailing or transmission procedure, correspondence is considered to be timely even if received after the due date, if the correspondence was:  (1) deposited with the United States Postal Service as first-class mail or transmitted to the USPTO by facsimile transmission before the expiration of the filing period; and (2) accompanied by a certificate attesting to the date of deposit or transmission.37 C.F.R. §2.197(a).

Filers must retain a copy of the correspondence, including the signed and dated certificate.  See In re Sasson Licensing Corp., 35 USPQ2d 1510, 1512 (Comm’r Pats. 1995).

SeeTMEP §§305.02(a)–305.02(h) regarding the certificate of mailing procedure, andTMEP §§306.05–306.05(d) regarding the certificate of facsimile transmission procedure.

305.02(a) When Certificate of Mailing Procedure May Not Be Used

The certificate of mailing procedure may be used for all trademark correspondenceexcept:

37 C.F.R. §§2.197(a)(2),7.4(e).

305.02(b) Mailing Requirements

The correspondence must be properly addressed (seeTMEP §305.01 for mailing addresses), and must be deposited with the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) with sufficient postage as first-class mail. Since first-class mail services of the USPS are not available in foreign countries, the certificate of mailing procedure may not be used for sending mail to the USPTO from a foreign country.

305.02(c) Location and Form of Certificate

The certificate of mailing:  (1) must state the date of deposit in the mail, which must be a date within the set filing period (this includes the last day of the period, or the succeeding day that is not a Saturday, Sunday, or Federal holiday within the District of Columbia when the last day of the period falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or Federal holiday within the District of Columbia); and (2) should be signed by a person who has a reasonable basis to expect the correspondence to be deposited in the mail on the date indicated.  37 C.F.R. §2.197(a)(1). The signature of the certificate must be separate from any signature for the correspondence being deposited.

The best location for the certificate of mailing is at the beginning of the correspondence to which it pertains, typed in its entirety. The certificate of mailing should be separated from contents of the correspondence that are on the same page.  Several blank lines between the contents and the certificate will suffice.

If the certificate of mailing does not fit on the correspondence to which it pertains, the certificate may be placed on a separate sheet of paper that is attached securely to the correspondence.  The separate sheet must exhibit or bear a complete identification of the nature of the document or fee as well as an identification of the application, registration, and/or proceeding to which the document pertains (including serial number or registration number).  The separate sheet may be a cover letter or transmittal letter, with the certificate placed at the bottom of the letter and signed separately from the letter.  If there is any doubt concerning the correspondence to which a certificate of mailing on a separate sheet relates, the USPTO will not accept the certificate.

There must be a certificate of mailing for each piece of correspondence.  When correspondence for more than one application or registration is mailed in a single envelope, each item of correspondence must have its own certificate of mailing.  Similarly, when more than one type of correspondence is submitted in connection with the same application, each item of correspondence must have its own certificate of mailing.

It is suggested that the certificate be signed by the applicant or the party involved in the proceeding, or by the attorney for such person.  If someone else signs, it should be a responsible person in a position to know that the mail will be deposited on the date specified.

The USPTO accepts the date of deposit stated in the certificate of mailing on the basis of the statement of personal knowledge.  The USPTO does not normally inspect the postmark on the envelope.

305.02(d) Wording of Certificate of Mailing

The following wording is suggested for the certificate of mailing.

Sample certificate of mailing with the text "I hereby certify that this correspondence is being deposited with the United States Postal Service as first class mail in an envelope addressed to: Commissioner for Trademarks, P.O. Box 1451, Alexandria, Virginia 22313-1451 on the date shown below:" and lines for the typed or printed name of the signatory, the signature, and the date.
305.02(e) Effect of Certificate of Mailing

The filing date assigned to paper correspondence is the date of actual receipt in the USPTO.  37 C.F.R. §2.195(a).  The USPTO does not retain the envelopes in which material is received or record the date of the postmark.

The date of deposit indicated on the certificate of mailing is used only to determine whether the correspondence was deposited with the USPS within the filing period.  See37 C.F.R. §2.197(a). Therefore, if the correspondence is actually received in the USPTO within the filing period, the certificate of mailing is ignored.  If, however, the USPTO receives the correspondence after the filing period has expired, the USPTO looks to see whether a certificate of mailing was included.  If no certificate is found, the correspondence is untimely.

When a document received after the expiration of the filing period includes a signed certificate of mailing, and the date of deposit on the certificate is within the filing period, the USPTO considers the correspondence to be timely filed.

If the filing period ends on a Saturday, Sunday, or Federal holiday within the District of Columbia, the correspondence is considered timely if the date of deposit on the certificate of mailing is the next succeeding day that is not a Saturday, Sunday or Federal holiday within the District of Columbia (see 37 C.F.R. §2.196;TMEP §308).

Whenever it is necessary to change the effective filing date of an application (e.g., when an application filed under §1(b) of the Trademark Act is amended to request registration on the Supplemental Register after submission of an allegation of use), the date of actual receipt rather than the date on the certificate is the new effective filing date.  SeeTMEP §§206–206.04 regarding changes in the effective filing date of an application.

305.02(f) Correspondence Mailed Pursuant to37 C.F.R. §2.197 but Not Received by Office

If correspondence filed with a certificate of mailing is not received by (or is lost within) the USPTO, the USPTO will consider the correspondence to be timely based on the date of deposit stated in the certificate of mailing if the party who filed the correspondence:

  • (1) informs the USPTO in writing of the previous mailing of the correspondence within two months after becoming aware that the USPTO has no evidence of receipt of the correspondence;
  • (2) supplies an additional copy of the previously mailed correspondence, including a copy of the signed and dated certificate of mailing (seeIn re Sasson Licensing Corp., 35 USPQ2d 1510, 1512 (Comm’r Pats. 1995)); and
  • (3) includes a statement attesting, based on personal knowledge or to the satisfaction of the Director, to the previous timely mailing. This statement does not have to be verified.

37 C.F.R. §2.197(b).

The two-month time period for notifying the USPTO begins to run from the date that the party who filed the correspondence became aware that the USPTO has no evidence of receipt of the correspondence, unless the USPTO has issued a written action, such as a notice of abandonment or cancellation. In such situations, the issue date of the USPTO written action will serve as the starting point for measuring timeliness.See 37 C.F.R. §§2.146(d),2.197(b)(1);TMEP §1705.04.

The required evidence should be sent to the area in the USPTO where the misplaced or lost document was intended to be filed, e.g., the law office, ITU/Divisional Unit, or Post Registration Section.

If all three criteria listed above cannot be met, the only remedy available is a petition to revive under37 C.F.R. §2.66 (if appropriate) or a petition under37 C.F.R. §2.146, which must include a petition fee, and a statement that attests on a personal knowledge basis to the previous timely mailing, along with any additional evidence.  SeeTMEP §§1702–1708 regarding petitions under37 C.F.R. §2.146, andTMEP §§1714–1714.01(g) regarding petitions to revive.

The above procedure does not apply to the filing of an application for registration of a mark, or to the Madrid-related documents listed in37 C.F.R. §2.197(a)(2) andTMEP §305.02(a).

The USPTO may require additional evidence relating to the mailing or transmission of correspondence.  37 C.F.R. §2.197(c).  

305.02(g) Correspondence Deposited as First-Class Mail Pursuant to 37 C.F.R. §2.197 and Returned by the U.S. Postal Service

Correspondence must be deposited with the USPS as first-class mail in compliance with any and all applicable requirements of the USPS to be considered “[d]eposited with the U.S. Postal Service,” within the meaning of37 C.F.R. §2.197(a)(1)(i)(A).  Therefore, correspondence returned by the USPS as not mailed in compliance with USPS requirements, including concerning mail weighing more than the USPS maximum permissible weight, is not entitled to any benefit under37 C.F.R. §2.197.  

305.02(h) Certificate of Mailing Requirements Strictly Enforced

The requirements of37 C.F.R. §2.197 are strictly enforced, and the USPTO denies petitions to consider a document timely filed as of the date on the certificate if a party fails to comply with these requirements.

A party’s inadvertent failure to comply with the requirements of a rule is not considered an extraordinary situation that would warrant waiver of a rule under37 C.F.R. §2.146(a)(5) or37 C.F.R. §2.148SeeHonigsbaum v. Lehman, 903 F. Supp. 8, 37 USPQ2d 1799 (D.D.C. 1995) (finding Commissioner did not abuse discretion in refusing to waive requirements of 37 C.F.R. §1.10(c) and grant filing date to patent application, where applicant failed to produce “Express Mail” customer receipt or any other evidence that application was actually deposited with USPS as “Express Mail”),aff’d mem., 95 F.3d 1166 (Fed. Cir. 1996);In re Sasson Licensing Corp., 35 USPQ2d 1510, 1512 (Comm’r Pats. 1995) (noting that failure to retain an executed hard copy of documents filed with the USPTO is not an extraordinary circumstance that would justify waiver of 37 C.F.R. §1.8);Gustafson v. Strange, 227 USPQ 174 (Comm’r Pats. 1985) (finding counsel’s unawareness of the provisions of 37 C.F.R. §1.8 is not an extraordinary situation warranting waiver of the rule);In re Chicago Historical Antique Auto. Museum, Inc., 197 USPQ 289 (Comm’r Pats. 1978) (finding lateness caused by mailing documents on the last day of the filing period is not an extraordinary situation justifying waiver of the rules, because certificate of mailing procedure under 37 C.F.R. §1.8 was available to petitioner).

305.03 Priority Mail Express®

37 C.F.R.  Filing of correspondence by Priority Mail Express®.

  • (a)(1) Except for documents listed in paragraphs (a)(1)(i) through (vii) of this section, any correspondence received by the Office that was delivered by the Priority Mail Express® Post Office to Addressee service of the United States Postal Service (USPS) will be considered filed with the Office on the date of deposit with the USPS.  The Priority Mail Express® procedure does not apply to:
  • (i) Applications for registration of marks;
  • (ii) Amendments to allege use under section 1(c) of the Act;
  • (iii) Statements of use under section 1(d) of the Act;
  • (iv) Requests for extension of time to file a statement of use under section 1(d) of the Act;
  • (v) Affidavits of continued use under section 8 of the Act;
  • (vi) Renewal requests under section 9 of the Act;
  • (vii) Requests to change or correct addresses; and
  • (viii) Affidavits of use under section 71 of the Act.
  • (2) The date of deposit with USPS is shown by the “date accepted” on the Priority Mail Express® label or other official USPS notation.  If the USPS deposit date cannot be determined, the correspondence will be accorded the date of receipt in the Office as the filing date.
  • (b) Correspondence should be deposited directly with an employee of the USPS to ensure that the person depositing the correspondence receives a legible copy of the Priority Mail Express® mailing label with the “date accepted” clearly marked.  Persons dealing indirectly with the employees of the USPS (such as by deposit in a Priority Mail Express® drop box) do so at the risk of not receiving a copy of the Priority Mail Express® mailing label with the desired “date accepted” clearly marked.  The paper(s) or fee(s) that constitute the correspondence should also include the Priority Mail Express® mailing label number thereon.  See paragraphs (c), (d) and (e) of this section.
  • (c) Any person filing correspondence under this section that was received by the Office and delivered by the Priority Mail Express® Post Office to Addressee service of the USPS, who can show that there is a discrepancy between the filing date accorded by the Office to the correspondence and the date of deposit as shown by the “date accepted” on the Priority Mail Express® mailing label or other official USPS notation, may petition the Director to accord the correspondence a filing date as of the “date accepted” on the Priority Mail Express® mailing label or other official USPS notation, provided that:
  • (1) The petition is filed within two months after the person becomes aware that the Office has accorded, or will accord, a filing date other than the USPS deposit date;
  • (2) The number of the Priority Mail Express® mailing label was placed on the paper(s) or fee(s) that constitute the correspondence prior to the original mailing; and
  • (3) The petition includes a true copy of the Priority Mail Express® mailing label showing the “date accepted,” and of any other official notation by the USPS relied upon to show the date of deposit.
  • (d) Any person filing correspondence under this section that was received by the Office and delivered by the Priority Mail Express® Post Office to Addressee service of the USPS, who can show that the “date accepted” on the Priority Mail Express® mailing label or other official notation entered by the USPS was incorrectly entered or omitted by the USPS, may petition the Director to accord the correspondence a filing date as of the date the correspondence is shown to have been deposited with the USPS, provided that:
  • (1) The petition is filed within two months after the person becomes aware that the Office has accorded, or will accord, a filing date based upon an incorrect entry by the USPS;
  • (2) The number of the Priority Mail Express® mailing label was placed on the paper(s) or fee(s) prior to the original mailing; and
  • (3) The petition includes a showing that establishes, to the satisfaction of the Director, that the correspondence was deposited in the Priority Mail Express® Post Office to Addressee service prior to the last scheduled pickup on the requested filing date.  Any showing pursuant to this paragraph must be corroborated by evidence from the USPS or evidence that came into being within one business day after the deposit of the correspondence in the Priority Mail Express® Post Office to Addressee service of the USPS.
  • (e) If correspondence is properly addressed to the Office pursuant to §2.190 and deposited with sufficient postage in the Priority Mail Express® Post Office to Addressee service of the USPS, but not received by the Office, the party who mailed the correspondence may petition the Director to consider such correspondence filed in the Office on the USPS deposit date, provided that:
  • (1) The petition is filed within two months after the person becomes aware that the Office has no evidence of receipt of the correspondence;
  • (2) The number of the Priority Mail Express® mailing label was placed on the paper(s) or fee(s) prior to the original mailing;
  • (3) The petition includes a copy of the originally deposited paper(s) or fee(s) showing the number of the Priority Mail Express® mailing label thereon, a copy of any returned postcard receipt, a copy of the Priority Mail Express® mailing label showing the “date accepted,” a copy of any other official notation by the USPS relied upon to show the date of deposit, and, if the requested filing date is a date other than the “date accepted” on the Priority Mail Express® mailing label or other official notation entered by the USPS, a showing pursuant to paragraph (d)(3) of this section that the correspondence was deposited in the Priority Mail Express® Post Office to Addressee service prior to the last scheduled pickup on the requested filing date; and
  • (4) The petition includes a statement that establishes, to the satisfaction of the Director, the original deposit of the correspondence and that the copies of the correspondence, the copy of the Priority Mail Express® mailing label, the copy of any returned postcard receipt, and any official notation entered by the USPS are true copies of the originally mailed correspondence, original Priority Mail Express® mailing label, returned postcard receipt, and official notation entered by the USPS.
  • (f) The Office may require additional evidence to determine whether the correspondence was deposited as Priority Mail Express® with the USPS on the date in question.

Documents Excluded From37 C.F.R. §2.198

Trademark Rule 2.198,37 C.F.R. §2.198, provides a procedure for obtaining a filing date as of the date that correspondence is deposited as Priority Mail Express® with the USPS.  However, this procedure doesnot apply to the following trademark documents:

37 C.F.R. §§2.198(a)(1),7.4(b)(2).  If the documents listed above are filed by Priority Mail Express®, they will receive a filing date as of the date of receipt in the USPTO andnotthe date of deposit with USPS.  37 C.F.R. §2.195(a);see TMEP §303.01.

Lost Documents

If one of the documents listed above is sent by Priority Mail Express® but is lost within the USPTO, and the applicant or registrant presents proof of actual receipt in the form of evidence that a USPTO employee signed for or acknowledged the Priority Mail Express® package (e.g., a Priority Mail Express® mailing label that bears an Office date stamp or label or the signature of a USPTO employee, or evidence from the USPS website showing that the document was actually received in the USPTO), the USPTO will grant the document a filing date as of thedate of actual receipt in the USPTO.  The applicant or registrant must submit a true copy of the document(s) and an affidavit or declaration under37 C.F.R. §2.20 attesting to the contents of the Priority Mail Express® package.  SeeTMEP §1711 regarding restoration of application filing dates,TMEP §1712.01 regarding reinstatement of abandoned applications, andTMEP §§1712.02–1712.02(b) regarding reinstatement of cancelled or expired registrations.

If a document is sent by Priority Mail Express® but is not received by or is lost within the USPTO, and the applicant does not have proof of actual receipt in the USPTO, the USPTO will not grant a filing date to the document.

Certificate of Mailing Under37 C.F.R. §2.197 for Documents Sent by Priority Mail Express®

For documents other than applications for registration of marks and the Madrid-related documents listed in37 C.F.R. §2.197(a)(2) (see TMEP §305.02(a)), the certificate of mailing procedure of37 C.F.R. §2.197 may be used for documents sent by Priority Mail Express® as well as documents sent by first-class mail.  Under the certificate of mailing procedure, correspondence is considered to be timely filed even if received after the due date, if the correspondence is deposited with the USPS with sufficient postage as first-class mail before the expiration of the filing period and accompanied by a certificate attesting to the date of deposit.  Correspondence sent by Priority Mail Express® is deemed to meet the requirements of37 C.F.R. §2.197(a)(1)(i)(A) for postage as first-class mail, because the postage for Priority Mail Express® exceeds the postage required for first-class mail.  However, to use the certificate of mailing procedure for documents mailed by Priority Mail Express®, the filer must place a certificate attesting to the date of deposit and meeting the requirements of37 C.F.R §2.197(a)(1)(ii) on the document prior to mailing.  SeeTMEP §§305.02–305.02(h) for further information about the certificate of mailing procedure.

The following wording is suggested for a certificate of mailing when correspondence is sent by Priority Mail Express®:

Sample certificate of mailing for express mail with the following text "I hereby certify that this correspondence is being deposited with the United States Postal Service as Priority Mail Express® in an envelope addressed to:  Commissioner for Trademarks, P.O. Box 1451, Alexandria, Virginia  22313-1451 on the date shown below:" and lines for the typed or printed name of the signatory, the signature, and the date.

Documents Not Excluded From37 C.F.R. §2.198

The procedures for filing documents by Priority Mail Express® under37 C.F.R. §2.198 may be used for documentsnot expressly excluded by37 C.F.R. §2.198(a), e.g., documents filed with the Board or the Assignment Recordation Branch of the Office.  These documents are entitled to a filing date as of the date of deposit with USPS if the filer meets the requirements of37 C.F.R. §2.198.  The rule requires:  (1) the document must be sent through the Priority Mail Express® Post Office to Addressee service of the USPS; (2) it must be deposited prior to the last scheduled pickup on the relevant date; (3) it must be properly addressed in accordance with the requirements of37 C.F.R. §2.190; and (4) the number of the Priority Mail Express® mailing label must be placed on the document prior to mailing.

If a document is filed in accordance with the requirements of37 C.F.R. §2.198, but the document is not given a filing date as of the date of deposit as Priority Mail Express®, the filer may request the USPTO to change the filing date of the document, pursuant to37 C.F.R. §2.198(c),(d), or(e).  Rule 2.198(c) applies when there is a discrepancy between the filing date assigned by the USPTO and the “date accepted” entered by the USPS on the Priority Mail Express® mailing label; Rule 2.198(d) applies when the “date accepted” is incorrectly entered or omitted by the USPS; and Rule 2.198(e) applies when correspondence deposited with the USPS as Priority Mail Express® is not received by (or is lost within) the USPTO.  A petition to change the filing date of a document pursuant to37 C.F.R. §2.198 must:

  • (1)   be filed within two months of the issuance date of the action from which relief is requested, or, if there is no “issuance of an action,” within two months of the date that the party who filed the correspondence became aware that there was a problem with the USPTO’s receipt of the correspondence (37 C.F.R. §§2.146(d),2.198(c)(1),2.198(d)(1),2.198(e)(1);TMEP §1705.04);
  • (2) include a showing that the number of the Priority Mail Express® mailing label was placed on the correspondence prior to the original mailing (37 C.F.R. §§2.198(c)(2),2.198(d)(2),2.198(e)(2));
  • (3) if the filer contends that there is a discrepancy between the filing date assigned by the USPTO and the “date accepted” entered by the USPS, include a true copy of the Priority Mail Express® mailing label with the “date accepted” clearly marked (37 C.F.R. §§2.198(c)(3));
  • (4)   if the filer contends that the “date accepted” was entered incorrectly or omitted by the USPS, include:  (a) a showing that the correspondence was deposited as Priority Mail Express® prior to the last scheduled pickup on the requested filing date; and (b) evidence from the USPS or evidence that came into beingafter deposit and within one business day of the deposit of the correspondence as Priority Mail Express® (37 C.F.R. §2.198(d)(3)); and
  • (5) if the correspondence is lost within or never received by the USPTO, include:  (a) a true copy of the originally deposited correspondence showing the number of the Priority Mail Express® mailing label; and (b) a statement, signed by the person who deposited the documents as Priority Mail Express® with the USPS, setting forth the date and time of deposit, and stating that the copies of the correspondence and Priority Mail Express® mailing label accompanying the petition are true copies of those originally sent (37 C.F.R. §§2.198(e)(3),2.198(e)(4)).

When correspondence to which37 C.F.R. §2.198(a) applies is placed in a Priority Mail Express® drop box after the box has been cleared for the last time on a given day, it is considered to have been deposited as of the date of receipt indicated on the Priority Mail Express® mailing label by the USPS employee.  See Communications with the Patent and Trademark Office, 61 Fed. Reg. 56,439, 56,445 (Nov. 1, 1996).

305.04 Interruptions in U.S. Postal Service

35 U.S.C. 21(a) 

The Director may by rule prescribe that any paper or fee required to be filed in the Patent and Trademark Office will be considered filed in the Office on the date on which it was deposited with the United States Postal Service or would have been deposited with the United States Postal Service but for postal service interruptions or emergencies designated by the Director.

37 C.F.R.  Interruptions in U.S. Postal Service.

  • (1) If the Director designates a postal service interruption or emergency within the meaning of35 U.S.C. 21(a),  any person attempting to file correspondence by Priority Mail Express® Post Office to Addressee service who was unable to deposit the correspondence with the United States Postal Service due to the interruption or emergency may petition the Director to consider such correspondence as filed on a particular date in the Office.
  • (2) The petition must:
  • (i) Be filed promptly after the ending of the designated interruption or emergency;
  • (ii) Include the original correspondence or a copy of the original correspondence; and
  • (iii) Include a statement that the correspondence would have been deposited with the United States Postal Service on the requested filing date but for the designated interruption or emergency in Priority Mail Express® service; and that the correspondence attached to the petition is the original correspondence or a true copy of the correspondence originally attempted to be deposited as Priority Mail Express® on the requested filing date.
  • (3) Paragraphs (e)(1) and (e)(2) of this section do not apply to correspondence that is excluded from the Priority Mail Express® procedure pursuant to §2.198(a)(1).

Under35 U.S.C. §21(a) and37 C.F.R. §2.195(e), if there is an interruption or emergency in the United States Postal Service, the Director may consider correspondence to have been filed in the Office on a particular date if the correspondence or a copy thereof is:  (1) filed promptly after the ending of the designated interruption or emergency; and (2) accompanied by a statement indicating that such correspondence would have been filed on that particular date if it were not for the designated interruption or emergency in the United States Postal Service.  This procedure does not apply to correspondence that is excluded from the Priority Mail Express® procedure pursuant to §2.198(a)(1).  37 C.F.R. §2.195(e)(3).  SeeTMEP §305.03 regarding Priority Mail Express®.

306 Facsimile Transmission (Fax)

37 C.F.R.  (Extract) Receipt of trademark correspondence.

  • (a) * * *

    Trademark correspondence received in the Office is given a filing date as of the date of receipt except as follows:

    * * *

  • (3) Correspondence transmitted by facsimile will be given a filing date as of the date on which the complete transmission is received in the Office unless that date is a Saturday, Sunday, or Federal holiday within the District of Columbia, in which case the filing date will be the next succeeding day that is not a Saturday, Sunday, or Federal holiday within the District of Columbia.

    * * * * *

  • (c) Facsimile transmission.  Except in the cases enumerated in paragraph (d) of this section, correspondence, including authorizations to charge a deposit account, may be transmitted by facsimile.  The receipt date accorded to the correspondence will be the date on which the complete transmission is received in the Office, unless that date is a Saturday, Sunday, or Federal holiday within the District of Columbia.  See §2.196.  To facilitate proper processing, each transmission session should be limited to correspondence to be filed in a single application, registration or proceeding before the Office.  The application serial number, registration number, or proceeding number should be entered as a part of the sender’s identification on a facsimile cover sheet.
  • (d) Facsimile transmissions are not permitted and if submitted, will not be accorded a date of receipt, in the following situations:
  • (1) Applications for registration of marks;
  • (2) Drawings submitted under §2.51, §2.52, §2.72, or §2.173;
  • (3) Correspondence to be filed with the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board;
  • (4) Requests for cancellation or amendment of a registration under section 7(e) of the Trademark Act; and certificates of registration surrendered for cancellation or amendment under section 7(e) of the Trademark Act; and
  • (5) Madrid-related correspondence submitted under §7.11, §7.21, §7.14, §7.23, §7.24, or §7.31.

    * * * * *

The USPTO permits the filing of certain correspondence by fax.  SeeTMEP §306.03regarding the date of receipt of correspondence that is filed by fax.

A certificate of transmission may be used to establish timely filing in the event that the correspondence is transmitted within the response period but is received in the Office after expiration of the response period, or is not received by or lost within the Office.  SeeTMEP §§306.05–306.05(d) regarding the requirements for the certificate of transmission procedure.

306.01 Documents that May Not Be Filed by Facsimile Transmission

All trademark documentsexcept those listed belowmay be filed by fax, and are eligible for the benefits of the certificate of transmission provided for in37 C.F.R. §2.197.

The following types of trademark correspondence maynot be filed by fax and, if submitted by fax, will not be given a filing date:

  • (1) Applications for registration of marks;
  • (2) Drawings submitted under37 C.F.R. §§2.51,2.52,2.72, or2.173;
  • (3) Requests for cancellation or amendment of a registration under15 U.S.C. §1057(e);
  • (4) Certificates of registration surrendered for cancellation or amendment under 15 U.S.C. §1057(e) (seeTMEP §302.01);
  • (5) Correspondence to be filed with the Board;
  • (6) Madrid-related correspondence submitted under37 C.F.R. §7.11,§7.14,§7.21,§7.23,§7.24, or§7.31; and
  • (7) Documents that are required by statute to be certified (e.g., certified copies of court orders).

37 C.F.R. §§2.193(i),2.195(d),7.4(d).  Applications for registration of marks may be filed through the Trademark Electronic Application System ("TEAS").

When any trademark document specifically excluded from the fax transmission procedure is received in the USPTO by fax, the document will not be accepted.  See Vibe Records, Inc. v. Vibe Media Group LLC, 88 USPQ2d 1280, 1283 (TTAB 2008) (finding faxed notice of opposition unacceptable and can be given no effect).  As a courtesy, the USPTO will attempt to notify senders whenever correspondence that falls within one of these prohibitions is sent to the USPTO by fax.

306.02 Fax Machines Designated to Accept Relevant Trademark Documents

The fax machines that are designated to accept trademark documents are attended between the business hours of 8:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Eastern Time, Monday through Friday, excluding Federal holidays within the District of Columbia.

Submissions by fax should be transmitted to the location for which they are intended.  A USPTO Contacts List, which includes fax numbers, is available on the USPTO website athttp://www.uspto.gov, and appears periodically in theOfficial Gazette.  In addition, questions about fax numbers may be directed to the Trademark Assistance Center at (571) 272-9250 or (800) 786-9199.

The USPTO does not formally acknowledge receipt of documents transmitted by fax, but USPTO fax machines will usually confirm to the sending unit that the transmission is complete.

Each fax machine location in the USPTO maintains a log comprising a collection of daily activity sheets recording all fax transmissions received.  These logs can be used as evidence of receipt in the USPTO, and may be used to reinstate applications and registrations.  See37 C.F.R §2.64;TMEP §1712. The individual activity report that pertains to a particular transmission received in the USPTO is kept with the correspondence.

306.03 Effect of Filing by Fax

The filing date of correspondence received in the USPTO by fax, regardless of whether it contains a certificate of transmission, is the date that the complete transmission is received by a USPTO fax machine, unless the transmission is completed on a Saturday, Sunday, or Federal holiday within the District of Columbia.  Correspondence for which transmission is completed on a Saturday, Sunday, or Federal holiday within the District of Columbia is given a filing date as of the next succeeding day that is not a Saturday, Sunday, or Federal holiday within the District of Columbia.  37 C.F.R. §2.195(a)(3).

For example, a 20-minute fax transmission to the USPTO from California starting on a Friday at 8:45 p.m. Pacific Time would be completed at 9:05 p.m. Pacific Time.  The complete transmission would be received in the USPTO at approximately 12:05 a.m. Eastern Time on Saturday.  The filing date accorded to the correspondence is the date of the following business day, which in this case would be Monday (assuming that Monday is not a Federal holiday within the District of Columbia).

The phrase “complete transmission” means that the transmission was received in its entirety.  For example, if page one of a ten-page fax transmission is received in the USPTO at 11:55 p.m. on a Tuesday and page ten of that transmission is received at 12:05 a.m. Wednesday, the filing date accorded to that correspondence will be the date of that Wednesday (assuming that Wednesday is not a Federal holiday within the District of Columbia).

If the sender wants the correspondence to be considered timely filed as of the date that the transmission began, the correspondence must include a certificate of transmission under37 C.F.R. §2.197(a).  SeeTMEP §306.05(c) regarding the effect of a certificate of transmission.

306.04 Procedure for Filing by Fax

Each fax transmission session should be limited to correspondence to be filed in a single application, registration, or other proceeding before the Office.  The application serial number, registration number, or proceeding number should be entered as a part of the sender’s identification on a fax cover sheet.  37 C.F.R. §2.195(c).  Applicants should wait until an application serial number is assigned before filing any document related to a new application by fax.  See 37 C.F.R. §2.194(a).

It is recommended that each transmission include a cover sheet that, in addition to stating the application serial number, registration number, or proceeding number, specifies the mark, the number of pages being transmitted, and the name, address, fax number, and telephone number of the transmitting party.

Each facsimile-transmitted document must be legible.  The preferred size of the document being submitted is 8½ inches by 11 inches, letter size, or A4 paper.  Because equipment used by the Office cannot print a document larger than 8½ inches by 11 inches, correspondence should not be transmitted on larger paper.

When correspondence is filed by fax transmission, it is recommended that the sending fax machine generate a report confirming transmission for each transmission session.  This report should be retained by the sender, along with the original correspondence, as evidence of content and date of transmission.

Unless specifically requested to do so by the Office, parties shouldnotmail follow-up copies of documents transmitted by fax.  37 C.F.R. §2.193(g)(2).  This can delay processing.

306.05 Certificate of Transmission Procedure

37 C.F.R.  Certificate of mailing or transmission.

  • (a) Except in the cases enumerated in paragraph (a)(2) of this section, correspondence required to be filed in the Office within a set period of time will be considered as being timely filed if the procedure described in this section is followed.  The actual date of receipt will be used for all other purposes.
  • (1) Correspondence will be considered as being timely filed if:
  • (i) The correspondence is mailed or transmitted prior to expiration of the set period of time by being:
  • (A) Addressed as set out in §2.190 and deposited with the U.S. Postal Service with sufficient postage as first class mail; or
  • (B) Transmitted by facsimile to the Office in accordance with §2.195(c); and
  • (ii) The correspondence includes a certificate for each piece of correspondence stating the date of deposit or transmission.  The person signing the certificate should have a reasonable basis to expect that the correspondence would be mailed or transmitted on or before the date indicated.
  • (2) The procedure described in paragraph (a)(1) of this section does not apply to:
  • (i) Applications for the registration of marks under 15 U.S.C. 1051 or 1126; and
  • (ii) Madrid-related correspondence filed under §7.11, §7.21, §7.14, §7.23, §7.24 or §7.31.
  • (b) In the event that correspondence is considered timely filed by being mailed or transmitted in accordance with paragraph (a) of this section, but not received in the Office, and an application is abandoned, a registration is cancelled or expired, or a proceeding is dismissed, terminated, or decided with prejudice, the correspondence will be considered timely if the party who forwarded such correspondence:
  • (1) Informs the Office of the previous mailing or transmission of the correspondence within two months after becoming aware that the Office has no evidence of receipt of the correspondence;
  • (2) Supplies an additional copy of the previously mailed or transmitted correspondence and certificate; and
  • (3) Includes a statement that attests on a personal knowledge basis or to the satisfaction of the Director to the previous timely mailing or transmission.  If the correspondence was sent by facsimile transmission, a copy of the sending unit’s report confirming transmission may be used to support this statement.
  • (c) The Office may require additional evidence to determine whether the correspondence was timely filed.

Trademark Rule 2.197,37 C.F.R. §2.197, provides a certificate of transmission procedure to avoid lateness when correspondence is faxed within the response period but is received in the USPTO after expiration of the response period, or not received, or lost within the USPTO.  The certificate of transmission procedure may be used for any correspondence that may be filed by fax.  SeeTMEP §306.01 regarding documents that may not be filed by fax.

Under the certificate of transmission procedure, certain correspondence will be considered to be timely filed even if received after the end of the filing period, if the correspondence is transmitted by fax to the USPTO before the expiration of the filing period and accompanied by a certificate attesting to the date of transmission.  The person signing the certificate certifies the expectation that the transmission would be initiated before midnight, local time, on the date specified.

Filers must retain a copy of the correspondence, including the signed and dated certificate.  SeeIn re Sasson Licensing Corp., 35 USPQ2d 1510, 1512 (Comm’r Pats. 1995).

SeeTMEP §306.05(d) regarding the procedure for establishing the timely filing of correspondence that was faxed to the USPTO with a certificate of transmission under37 C.F.R. §2.197, but was lost or misplaced.

306.05(a) Location and Form of Certificate of Transmission

The certificate of transmission should be clearly labeled as such and should include a reference to the registration number or application serial number, the date of transmission, and the signature of the person attesting that the document is being transmitted on a certain date.

When possible, the certificate should appear on the document being transmitted, rather than on a separate sheet of paper.  See58 Fed. Reg. 54494 (Oct. 22, 1993).

If the certificate of fax transmission is presented on a separate paper, itmust identify the document and the application or registration to which it relates.

306.05(b) Wording of Certificate of Transmission

The following wording is suggested for the certificate of transmission:

Sample certificate of transmission with the wording "I hereby certify that this correspondence is being facsimile transmitted to the United States Patent and Trademark Office on the date shown below." and lines for the typed or printed name of the signatory, the signature, and the date.
306.05(c) Effect of Certificate of Transmission

As noted inTMEP §306.03, the filing date given to correspondence received by fax transmission is the date that the complete transmission is received by a USPTO fax machine, unless the transmission is completed on a Saturday, Sunday, or Federal holiday within the District of Columbia, in which case the filing date is the next succeeding day that is not a Saturday, Sunday, or Federal holiday within the District of Columbia.  

The date of transmission on the certificate is used only to determine whether the correspondence was transmitted to the USPTO within the filing period.  Therefore, if the complete transmission is actually received in the USPTO within the filing period, the certificate of transmission is ignored.  If the transmission is completed after the expiration of the filing period, the USPTO looks at the correspondence to see if a certificate of transmission was included.  If no certificate is found, the correspondence is untimely.

If the correspondence includes a signed certificate of transmission, and the date of transmission on the certificate is within the filing period, the correspondence is considered to be timely.

For example, if a West Coast applicant transmitted correspondence by fax on the last day of the response period, beginning before 9:00 p.m. Pacific Time (midnight Eastern Time) but completed after 9:00 p.m. Pacific Time, the USPTO would give the correspondence a filing date as of the next business day, because that is the date on which the USPTO received the complete transmission.  However, if the practitioner affixed a certificate of transmission to the faxed correspondence indicating that the correspondence was being transmitted on the last day of the response period, then the correspondence would be considered timely filed, even though the transmission completed after 9:00 p.m. Pacific Time (midnight Eastern Time) was received in the USPTO the day after the deadline for response.

If the filing period ends on a Saturday, Sunday or Federal holiday within the District of Columbia, the correspondence will be considered to be timely if the date of transmission on the certificate is the next succeeding day that is not a Saturday, Sunday or Federal holiday within the District of Columbia (see 37 C.F.R. §2.196;TMEP §308).

Whenever it is necessary to change the effective filing date of an application (e.g., when an application filed under §1(b) of the Trademark Act is amended to request registration on the Supplemental rather than the Principal Register after submission of an allegation of use) and the correspondence included a certificate of transmission under37 C.F.R. §2.197, the date of actual receipt (as stamped or labeled on the relevant correspondence) rather than the date on the certificate is used as the new effective filing date.  SeeTMEP §§206–206.04 as to changes in the effective filing date of an application.

306.05(d) Correspondence Transmitted by Fax Pursuant to 37 C.F.R. §2.197 but Not Received by Office

Rule 2.197(b) sets forth procedures for requesting that correspondence be considered timely when the correspondence is filed with a certificate of transmission, but is not received by or is lost within the USPTO.  Such correspondence will be considered timely based on the date of transmission set forth on the certificate of transmission, if the party who transmitted the correspondence:

  • (1) informs the USPTO in writing of the previous fax transmission of the correspondence within two months after becoming aware that the USPTO has no evidence of receipt of the correspondence;
  • (2) supplies an additional copy of the previously transmitted correspondence, including a copy of the signed and dated certificate of transmission (seeIn re Sasson Licensing Corp., 35 USPQ2d 1510, 1512 (Comm’r Pats. 1995)); and
  • (3) includes a statement attesting, based on personal knowledge or to the satisfaction of the Director, to the previous timely transmission.  A copy of the sending unit’s report confirming transmission may be used to support this statement.  The statement does not have to be verified.

The party who transmitted the correspondence must notify the USPTO of the transmission of the correspondence within two months after becoming aware that the USPTO has no evidence of receipt of the correspondence.  37 C.F.R. §2.197(b)(1).  Where no written action is generated that can be used as a starting point for measuring timeliness, the two-month deadline runs from the date that the party who filed the correspondence became aware that there was a problem with the filing date.  See TMEP §1705.04.

The required evidence should be directed to the area in the USPTO where the misplaced or lost document was intended to be filed, e.g., the law office, ITU/Divisional Unit, or Post Registration Section.

Ifallthe above criteria cannot be met, the only remedy available is a petition to revive under37 C.F.R. §2.66 (if appropriate), or a petition under37 C.F.R. §2.146,which must include a petition fee, and a statement that attests on a personal knowledge basis to the previous timely transmission, along with any additional evidence.  See37 C.F.R. §§2.66,2.146;TMEP §§1702–1708 regarding petitions under37 C.F.R. §2.146,TMEP §§1714–1714.01(g) regarding petitions to revive, andTMEP §1712 regarding reinstatement of applications and registrations.

The above procedure doesnotapply to submissions that are excluded from the certificate of mailing or transmission procedures under37 C.F.R. §2.195(d) or§2.197(a)(2).  See TMEP §306.01.

The USPTO may require evidence relating to the mailing or transmission of correspondence under37 C.F.R. §2.197(a), to establish an actual date of transmission.  37 C.F.R. §2.197(c).  

306.06 Requirements for Certificate of Transmission Strictly Enforced  

The requirements of37 C.F.R. §2.197 are strictly enforced, and petitions to consider a document timely filed as of the date on the certificate are denied when a party fails to comply with these requirements.  A party’s inadvertent failure to comply with the requirements of a rule is not considered an extraordinary situation that would warrant waiver of the rule under37 C.F.R. §2.146(a)(5) or§2.148.  See TMEP §305.02(h) and cases cited therein.

307 Hand Delivery

Trademark Operation, Madrid Processing Unit, and Trademark Trial and Appeal Board.  Correspondence may be hand-delivered between 8:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Eastern Time, Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays within the District of Columbia, to the following location:

Trademark Assistance Center

James Madison Building - East Wing

Concourse Level Room C 55

600 Dulany Street

Alexandria

VA22314

Trademark examining attorneyswill notaccept documents for filing (either with or without fees).

If the filer wants a receipt, he or she should provide a card, which will be date‑labeled and handed back to the person delivering the document.  When a card is used for receipt, it should include the applicant’s name, the application serial number or registration number, the mark, and the title or a description of the document being filed.  The card should also specify the items submitted (e.g., drawing, specimen, fee).  See TMEP §303.02(c).

Customer Service Window.  The USPTO strongly encourages parties who are hand-delivering trademark correspondence to bring it directly to the Trademark Assistance Center at the address listed above.  Use of any patent box for trademark-related correspondence is strongly discouraged, and may result in delayed processing.  However, the USPTO will accept trademark correspondence delivered to the Customer Service Window located in the Randolph Building, 401 Dulany Street, Alexandria, Virginia 22314.  The USPTO will stamp postcard-type receipts to acknowledge the receipt of correspondence filed at the Customer Service Window.  The Customer Service Window is open from 8:30 a.m. until 12:00 midnight, Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays within the District of Columbia.

SeeTMEP §309 regarding unscheduled closings of the USPTO.

308 Period Ending on Saturday, Sunday, or Federal Holiday

35 U.S.C. §21(b). 

When the day, or the last day, for taking any action or paying any fee in the United States Patent and Trademark Office falls on Saturday, Sunday, or a Federal holiday within the District of Columbia, the action may be taken, or the fee paid, on the next succeeding secular or business day.

37 C.F.R.  Times for taking action: Expiration on Saturday, Sunday or Federal Holiday.

Whenever periods of time are specified in this part in days, calendar days are intended.  When the day, or the last day fixed by statute or by regulation under this part for taking any action or paying any fee in the Office falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or Federal holiday within the District of Columbia, the action may be taken, or the fee paid, on the next succeeding day that is not a Saturday, Sunday, or a Federal holiday.

(See also37 C.F.R. §2.145(d) for time for appeal to court and civil action.)

Any action or fee that is due on a date falling on a Saturday, Sunday, or a Federal holiday within the District of Columbia is considered timely if the action is received, or the fee paid, on the following day that is not a Saturday, Sunday, or a Federal holiday within the District of Columbia.  This applies to all documents, whether filed through TEAS or on paper.

The following days are Federal holidays in the District of Columbia, under 5 U.S.C.  §6103:

  • New Year’s Day, January 1.
  • Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr., the third Monday in January.
  • Washington’s Birthday, the third Monday in February.
  • Memorial Day, the last Monday in May.
  • Independence Day, July 4.
  • Labor Day, the first Monday in September.
  • Columbus Day, the second Monday in October.
  • Veterans Day, November 11.
  • Thanksgiving Day, the fourth Thursday in November.
  • Christmas Day, December 25.
  • Inauguration Day (January 20 of each fourth year after 1965),except when it falls on a Saturday (see Note below).

As to the observance of holidays that fall on Saturday, 5 U.S.C. §6103  also provides:

  • (b)(1)Instead of a holiday that occurs on a Saturday, the Friday immediately before is a legal public holiday....

NOTE:  If Inauguration Day (January 20 of each fourth year after 1965) falls on a Saturday, the preceding Friday isnota legal public holiday for purposes of35 U.S.C. §21(b).   When Inauguration Day falls on Sunday, the next succeeding day selected for the public observance of the inauguration of the President is a legal public holiday.  5 U.S.C. §6103(c).

309 Unscheduled Closings of the United States Patent and Trademark Office

When the USPTO is officially closed by executive order of the President or by the Office of Personnel Management for an entire day because of some unscheduled event, such as adverse weather conditions, the USPTO will consider that day to be a “Federal holiday within the District of Columbia” under35 U.S.C. §21(b).   37 C.F.R. §2.2(d).  Any action or fee due that day is considered timely if the action is taken, or the fee paid, on the next succeeding business day that the USPTO is open.

However, when the USPTO is open for business during anypartof a business day between 8:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., documents are due on that day even though the USPTO may be officially closed for some period of time during the business day because of an unscheduled event.  TEAS, or the procedures of37 C.F.R. §2.197, may be used, as appropriate, for the filing of documents during unscheduled closings of the USPTO.

310 Computing Period for Response to Office Action or Notice

The deadline for responding to an Office action, notice of allowance, or other notice issued by the USPTO is computed from the date of issuance of the action or notice to the date the response is received in the USPTO.  SeeTMEP §303.01regarding the date of receipt in the USPTO.

For example, a response to an examining attorney’s Office action dated August 31 is due on the following February 28 (or 29 if it is a leap year); a response to an Office action dated February 28 is due on August 28 and not on the last day of August.  Ex parte Messick, 7 USPQ 57 (Comm’r Pats. 1930).

Under37 C.F.R. §2.197, correspondence is considered to be timely filed even if it is received after the expiration of the filing period, if the correspondence was deposited with the USPS as first-class mail or transmitted to the USPTO by facsimile transmission before the expiration of the filing period and accompanied by a certificate attesting to the date of mailing or transmission.  SeeTMEP §§305.02–305.02(h) regarding the certificate of mailing procedure, andTMEP §§306.05–306.05(d) regarding the certificate of transmission procedure.

If a document or fee is due on a Saturday, Sunday, or a Federal holiday within the District of Columbia, the document or fee is considered timely if it is received on or before the following day that is not a Saturday, Sunday or a Federal holiday within the District of Columbia.  35 U.S.C. §21(b);37 C.F.R. §2.196;TMEP §308.

SeeTMEP §309 regarding unscheduled closings of the USPTO.