901.01(a) Ordering of Patented and Abandoned Provisional and Nonprovisional Application Files [R-07.2022]

In the examination of an application, it is sometimes necessary to inspect the application papers of some previously abandoned application (provisional or nonprovisional) or granted patent. This is always true in the case of a reissue application and reexamination proceeding.

If the patented or abandoned file is an Image File Wrapper (IFW) file, examiners can view the application papers from their desktop via the Patent Examiner’s Toolkit. Patented and abandoned files that are not available in IFW are stored at the Files Repository. Older files are housed in remote warehouses located in Maryland and Virginia.

Patented and abandoned files that are stored in paper are ordered by means of the File Ordering System (FOS). To place such an order, the system requires the examiner’s delivery organization (i.e. art unit), employee number, and patent number(s) and/or application number(s) of the file(s) that are needed. After transmission of the request transaction by the examiner, a “response” screen appears which informs the examiner of the status of the request for each file. The examiner is informed that the request:

  • (A) is accepted;
  • (B) is accepted, but the file is located at a remote warehouse (in which case delivery time is increased);
  • (C) is not accepted because the file is not located at the repository or warehouse;
  • (D) is not accepted because a previous request for the file has not yet been filled; or
  • (E) is not accepted because the patent or application number inputted is not valid.

Personnel at the Files Repository periodically retrieve the requested files and deliveries of files are made to the requesters’ interoffice mailing address. Upon delivery of files at the various locations, Files Repository personnel also retrieve files that are ready to be returned to the repository.