Under the current publication process, utility and reissue patents are issued within about four weeks after the issue fee and any required publication fee are received in the Office. A patent number and issue date will be assigned to an application and an Issue Notification will be mailed after the issue fee has been paid and processed by the USPTO. Because the Issue Notification may be mailed less than two weeks before the application is expected to issue as a patent, applicants are advised to file any continuing application before receiving the Issue Notification to avoid loss of copendency.
Since the Office cannot ensure that any paper filed after payment of the issue fee will reach the appropriate USPTO official before the date the application issues as a patent, applicants are also encouraged to file any necessary amendments, assignments, petitions, information disclosure statements, or other papers prior to the date of issue fee payment, preferably within one month after the Notice of Allowance has been mailed. See MPEP § 502 for post allowance correspondence.
In order to minimize disruptions and delays in the printing process, the application is not available after the Notice of Allowance has been mailed unless necessary for “Query Printer Waiting”, amendments submitted under 37 CFR 1.312, information disclosure statements, and petitions. Corrected filing receipts will not be mailed after the date of mailing of the Notice of Allowance unless special circumstances exist. Duplicate filing of papers is not recommended (and may be treated as a failure to engage in reasonable efforts to conclude prosecution pursuant to 37 CFR 1.704(c)(10)). The same correspondence should not be mailed and faxed to the Office unless the duplication has been specifically required by the Office. See MPEP § 719.01(a).