TMEP 403: Correspondence Returned as Undeliverable

October 2017 Edition of the TMEP

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403    Correspondence Returned as Undeliverable

If a paper Office action or notice (e.g., a notice of allowance) is returned to the USPTO because the United States Postal Service has not been able to deliver it, the time for response will not be extended unless the USPTO sent the Office action or notice to the wrong address due to a USPTO error.

If the USPTO sent the Office action or notice to the wrong address due to a USPTO error, the USPTO will reissue the Office action or notice and provide the applicant/registrant with a new response period. A "USPTO error in sending the Office action or notice to the wrong address" means that the USPTO either entered the correspondence address incorrectly or failed to properly enter a notice of change of address filed before the date on which the action was issued.  The transmittal of correspondence or a response on letterhead bearing a new address is not a proper notice of change of address.  The applicant or attorney must specifically request that the correspondence address be changed. See TMEP §§609.02 and 609.02(a).

If the Office action or notice was sent to the correspondence address of record (see TMEP §§609–609.04 regarding the correspondence address), but was returned as undeliverable, the USPTO will try to obtain the correct address and forward the Office action or notice.  However, the time for response will not be extended.

The USPTO scans the returned action and envelope into TICRS.

If outgoing e-mail to a primary e-mail correspondence address of record is returned as undeliverable, the USPTO will send a paper copy to the correspondence address of record.  See TMEP §§304–304.09 regarding e-mail communications. This practice may not be followed for undeliverable duplicate courtesy copies of correspondence because the primary address is the correspondence address of record. See TMEP §§609.01 and 609.02.

See TMEP §§717–717.02 regarding the reissuing of the examining attorney’s Office actions.