T.M.E.P. § 303.02
Acknowledgment of Receipt
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303.02 Acknowledgment of Receipt
303.02(a) Electronic Mail Confirmation of Receipt of TEAS Document
When a document is filed through TEAS, the USPTO receives it within seconds after filing, and immediately issues a confirmation of filing via e-mail that includes the date of receipt and a summary of the submission. See TMEP §301 regarding TEAS. This e-mail confirmation is evidence of filing should any question arise as to the filing date of the document.
303.02(b) "Office 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 "Office Date" label, and it establishes the date of receipt (i.e., the filing date) of any paper. Before 1998, the USPTO used a stamp, known as the "Office Date Stamp," to indicate the date of receipt of incoming papers.
303.02(c) Postcard Receipt
When documents are filed through TEAS, a party need not send a postcard in order to receive a confirmation of filing, because the USPTO immediately issues a confirmation via e-mail that includes the date of receipt and a summary of the submission.
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 paper.
The identifying data on the postcard should be complete and specific. The nature of the paper 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 when that information is 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 it is lost or disassociated from the file.
The party submitting the postcard is responsible for placing proper postage on the self-addressed postcard. See TMEP §303.02(c)(i) regarding the use of postage meters.
If a postcard with proper postage accompanies application papers that are mailed to the USPTO, the postcard will be stamped with the serial number assigned to the application.
If the postcard accompanies application papers that are hand carried, the serial number is not stamped on the postcard. Therefore, if application papers are hand carried, the applicant may submit a second postcard with proper postage so that, upon serialization, the USPTO may send the additional card, stamped with the serial number, to the applicant.
When papers for more than one application or registration are filed under a single cover, a return postcard should be attached to each paper for which a receipt is desired.
303.02(c)(i) Postage on Return Receipt Postcards
The party submitting a return receipt postcard (see TMEP §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 must not 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).