MPEP 601.03(b)
Change of Correspondence Address in Applications Filed Before September 16, 2012

This is the Ninth Edition of the MPEP, Revision 08.2017, Last Revised in Januay 2018

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601.03(b)    Change of Correspondence Address in Applications Filed Before September 16, 2012 [R-07.2015]

[Editor Note: See MPEP § 601.03(a) for change of correspondence address in applications filed on or after September 16, 2012.]

37 C.F.R. 1.33 (pre-AIA) Correspondence respecting patent applications, reexamination proceedings, and other proceedings.

  • (a) Correspondence address and daytime telephone number. When filing an application, a correspondence address must be set forth in either an application data sheet (§ 1.76 ), or elsewhere, in a clearly identifiable manner, in any paper submitted with an application filing. If no correspondence address is specified, the Office may treat the mailing address of the first named inventor (if provided, see §§ 1.76(b)(1) and 1.63(c)(2) ) as the correspondence address. The Office will direct, or otherwise make available, all notices, official letters, and other communications relating to the application to the person associated with the correspondence address. For correspondence submitted via the Office’s electronic filing system, however, an electronic acknowledgment receipt will be sent to the submitter. The Office will generally not engage in double correspondence with an applicant and a patent practitioner, or with more than one patent practitioner except as deemed necessary by the Director. If more than one correspondence address is specified in a single document, the Office will select one of the specified addresses for use as the correspondence address and, if given, will select the address associated with a Customer Number over a typed correspondence address. For the party to whom correspondence is to be addressed, a daytime telephone number should be supplied in a clearly identifiable manner and may be changed by any party who may change the correspondence address. The correspondence address may be changed as follows:
    • (1) Prior to filing of § 1.63 oath or declaration by any of the inventors. If a § 1.63 oath or declaration has not been filed by any of the inventors, the correspondence address may be changed by the party who filed the application. If the application was filed by a patent practitioner, any other patent practitioner named in the transmittal papers may also change the correspondence address. Thus, the inventor(s), any patent practitioner named in the transmittal papers accompanying the original application, or a party that will be the assignee who filed the application, may change the correspondence address in that application under this paragraph.
    • (2) Where a § 1.63  oath or declaration has been filed by any of the inventors. If a § 1.63 oath or declaration has been filed, or is filed concurrent with the filing of an application, by any of the inventors, the correspondence address may be changed by the parties set forth in paragraph (b) of this section, except for paragraph (b)(2).

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Pre-AIA 37 CFR 1.33(a) provides that the application must specify a correspondence address to which the Office will send notice, letters, and other communications relating to an application. The correspondence address must either be in an application data sheet (pre-AIA 37 CFR 1.76 ) or in a clearly identifiable manner elsewhere in any papers submitted with the application filing. If more than one correspondence address is specified in a single document, the Office will select one of the specified addresses for use as the correspondence address and, if given, will select the address associated with a Customer Number over a typed correspondence address. Additionally, applicants will often specify the correspondence address in more than one paper that is filed with an application, and the address given in the different places sometimes conflicts. Where the applicant specifically directs the Office to use non-matching correspondence addresses in more than one paper, priority will be accorded to the correspondence address specified in the following order: (A) application data sheet (ADS); (B) application transmittal; (C) oath or declaration (unless power of attorney is more current); and (D) power of attorney. Accordingly, if the ADS includes a typed correspondence address, and the declaration gives a different address (i.e., the address associated with a Customer Number) as the correspondence address, the Office will use the typed correspondence address as included on the ADS. In the experience of the Office, the ADS is the most recently created document and tends to have the most current address. After the correspondence address has been entered according to the above procedure, it will only be changed pursuant to pre-AIA 37 CFR 1.33(a)(1).

The submission of a daytime telephone number of the party to whom correspondence is to be addressed is requested pursuant to pre-AIA 37 CFR 1.33(a). While business is to be conducted on the written record (37 CFR 1.2 ), a daytime telephone number is useful in initiating contact that could later be reduced to writing. Any party who may change the correspondence address may also change the telephone number.

Pre-AIA 37 CFR 1.33(a)(1) provides that the party filing the application and setting forth a correspondence address may later change the correspondence address provided that an executed oath or declaration under pre-AIA 37 CFR 1.63 by any of the inventors has not been filed. If a patent practitioner (i.e., registered attorney or agent) filed the application, any other patent practitioners named in the transmittal papers may also change the correspondence address. A patent practitioner named in a letterhead would not be considered as being named in the transmittal papers for purposes of changing the correspondence address. A clear identification of the individual as a representative is required. If an application is filed by a company to whom the invention has been assigned or to whom there is an obligation to assign the invention, a person who has the authority to act on behalf of the company may change the correspondence address. Thus, the inventor(s), any patent practitioner named in the transmittal papers accompanying the original application, or a party that will be the assignee who filed the application, may change the correspondence address pursuant to pre-AIA 37 CFR 1.33(a)(1). The filing of an executed oath or declaration that does not include a correspondence address does not affect any correspondence address previously established on filing of the application, or changed pursuant to pre-AIA 37 CFR 1.33(a)(1).

Where a correspondence address has been established on filing of the application or changed pursuant to pre-AIA 37 CFR 1.33(a)(1) (prior to the filing of an executed oath or declaration under pre-AIA 37 CFR 1.63 by any of the inventors), that correspondence address remains in effect upon filing of an executed oath or declaration under pre-AIA 37 CFR 1.63  and can only be subsequently changed pursuant to pre-AIA 37 CFR 1.33(a)(2). Under pre-AIA 37 CFR 1.33(a)(2), where an executed oath or declaration under pre-AIA 37 CFR 1.63 has been filed by any of the inventors, the correspondence address may be changed by (A) a patent practitioner of record, (B) an assignee as provided for under pre-AIA 37 CFR 3.71(b), or (C) all of the applicants (pre-AIA 37 CFR 1.41(b) ) for patent, unless there is an assignee of the entire interest and such assignee has taken action in the application in accordance with pre-AIA 37 CFR 3.71. See pre-AIA 37 CFR 1.33(a)(2).

Special care should be taken in continuation or divisional applications to ensure that any change of correspondence address in a prior application is reflected in the continuation or divisional application. For example, where a copy of the oath or declaration from the prior application is submitted for a continuation or divisional application filed under pre-AIA 37 CFR 1.53(b) and the copy of the oath or declaration from the prior application designates an old correspondence address, the Office may not recognize, in the continuation or divisional application, the change of correspondence address made during the prosecution of the prior application. Applicant is required to identify the change of correspondence address in the continuation or divisional application to ensure that communications from the Office are mailed to the current correspondence address. See pre-AIA 37 CFR 1.63(d)(4).

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