MPEP 710.06
Situations When Reply Period Is Reset or Restarted

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

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710.06    Situations When Reply Period Is Reset or Restarted [R-08.2017]

Where the citation of a reference is incorrect or an Office action contains some other error that affects applicant’s ability to reply to the Office action and this error is called to the attention of the Office within 1 month of the mail date of the action, the Office will restart the previously set period for reply to run from the date the error is corrected, if requested to do so by applicant. If the error is brought to the attention of the Office within the period for reply set in the Office action but more than 1 month after the date of the Office action, the Office will set a new period for reply, if requested to do so by the applicant, to substantially equal the time remaining in the reply period. For example, if the error is brought to the attention of the Office 5 weeks after mailing the action, then the Office would set a new 2-month period for reply. The new period for reply must be at least 1 month and would run from the date the error is corrected. See MPEP § 707.05(g) for the manner of correcting the record where there has been an erroneous citation.

Where for any reason it becomes necessary to remail any action (MPEP § 707.13), applicant’s period for reply will be restarted to correspond to the remailing date of the action.

A supplementary action after a rejection explaining the references more explicitly or giving the reasons more fully, even though no further references are cited, establishes a new date from which the statutory period runs.

If the error in citation or other defective Office action is called to the attention of the Office after the expiration of the period for reply, the period will not be restarted and any appropriate extension fee will be required to render a reply timely. The Office letter correcting the error will note that the time period for reply remains as set forth in the previous Office action.

See MPEP §§ 505, 512, and 513 for U.S. Patent and Trademark Office practice on date stamping documents.

In the event that correspondence from the Office is received late (A) due to delays in the U.S. Postal Service, or (B) because the mail was delayed in leaving the USPTO (the postmark date is later than the mail date printed on the correspondence), applicants may petition to reset the period for reply, which petition shall be evaluated according to the guidelines which follow. Where the Office action involved in the petition was mailed by a Technology Center (TC), the authority to decide such petitions has been delegated to the TC Director. See Notice entitled "Petition to reset a period for response due to late receipt of a PTO action," 1160 OG 14 (March 1, 1994).

Where a Customer has registered as a participant in the e-Office Action program to receive email notifications of Office communications and the participant did not receive an email notification or the email notification is delivered a few days later than the mailroom/notification date, the participant should contact the Patent Electronic Business Center (Patent EBC) by telephone to request the Office take appropriate corrective action. If the participant contacts the Patent EBC within one month from the email date, the Office will reset the time period for reply to commence on the date the email notification was sent.

I.    PETITIONS TO RESET A PERIOD FOR REPLY DUE TO LATE RECEIPT OF AN OFFICE ACTION

The Office will grant a petition to restart the previously set period for reply to an Office action to run from the date of receipt of the Office action at the correspondence address when the following criteria are met:

  • (A) the petition is filed within 2 weeks of the date of receipt of the Office action at the correspondence address;
  • (B) a substantial portion of the set reply period had elapsed on the date of receipt (e.g., at least 1 month of a 2- or 3-month reply period had elapsed); and
  • (C) the petition includes (1) evidence showing the date of receipt of the Office action at the correspondence address (e.g., a copy of the Office action having the date of receipt of the Office action at the correspondence address stamped thereon, a copy of the envelope (which contained the Office action) having the date of receipt of the Office action at the correspondence address stamped thereon, etc.), and (2) a statement setting forth the date of receipt of the Office action at the correspondence address and explaining how the evidence being presented establishes the date of receipt of the Office action at the correspondence address.

There is no statutory requirement that a shortened statutory period of longer than 30 days to reply to an Office action be reset due to delay in the mail or in the Office. However, when a substantial portion of the set reply period had elapsed on the date of receipt at the correspondence address (e.g., at least 1 month of a 2- or 3-month period had elapsed), the procedures set forth above for late receipt of action are available. Where an Office action was received with less than 2 months remaining in a shortened statutory period of 3 months the period may be restarted from the date of receipt. Where the period remaining is between 2 and 3 months, the period will be reset only in extraordinary situations, e.g., complex Office action suggesting submission of comparative data.

II.    PETITIONS TO RESET A PERIOD FOR REPLY DUE TO A POSTMARK DATE LATER THAN THE MAIL DATE PRINTED ON AN OFFICE ACTION

The Office will grant a petition to restart the previously set period for reply to an Office action to run from the postmark date shown on the Office mailing envelope which contained the Office action when the following criteria are met:

  • (A) the petition is filed within 2 weeks of the date of receipt of the Office action at the correspondence address;
  • (B) the reply period was for payment of the issue fee, or the reply period set was 1 month or 30 days; and
  • (C) the petition includes (1) evidence showing the date of receipt of the Office action at the correspondence address (e.g., copy of the Office action having the date of receipt of the Office action at the correspondence address stamped thereon, etc.), (2) a copy of the envelope which contained the Office action showing the postmark date, and (3) a statement setting forth the date of receipt of the Office action at the correspondence address and stating that the Office action was received in the postmarked envelope.

The provisions of 37 CFR 1.8 and 1.10 apply to the filing of the above-noted petitions with regard to the requirement that the petition be filed within 2 weeks of the date of receipt of the Office action.

The showings outlined above may not be sufficient if there are circumstances that point to a conclusion that the Office action may have been delayed after receipt rather than a conclusion that the Office action was delayed in the mail or in the Office.