Under the current publication process, electronic capture of most of the information to be printed in a patent will begin as soon as an electronic message concerning the allowed application is received in the Office of Data Management, immediately after the Notice of Allowance has been mailed. The application is then electronically exported to Initial Data Capture (IDC) for electronic capture of the patent filed. This process takes approximately 6 weeks. Upon IDC completion, an electronic message is then sent to the File Maintenance Facility to ensure that all post allowance correspondence, fees and drawings have been updated. The application may stay in FMF for 1-2 weeks or until all post-allowance requirements are met.
When the issue fee is paid and all other requirements have been met (e.g., drawings) for issuance as a patent, the application is then electronically exported to the Final Data Capture (FDC) stage. The FDC makes any updates necessary to the electronic file and places the allowed patent application in an issue. The average time that an allowed application is in the FDC process is 5 weeks (2 weeks of processing time for assignment of issue date). The “Issue Notification” is mailed approximately 3 weeks prior to the issue date of the patent.
A bond paper copy of the patent grant is sealed and mailed by the Office of Data Management.
All allowed applications ready for printing will be selected by chronological sequence based on the date the issue fee was paid. Special handling will be given to the following applications in these categories:
- (A) Allowed cases which were made special by the Director.
- (B) Allowed cases that have a U.S. effective filing date more than 5 years old.
- (C) Allowed reissue applications.
- (D) Allowed applications having an effective filing date earlier than that required for declaring an interference with a copending application claiming the same subject matter.
- (E) Allowed application of a party involved in a terminated interference.
35 U.S.C. 2 Powers and duties.
- (b) SPECIFIC POWERS.— The Office—
- (1) shall adopt and use a seal of the Office, which shall be judicially noticed and with which letters patent, certificates of trademark registrations, and papers issued by the Office shall be authenticated;
35 U.S.C. 153 How issued.
Patents shall be issued in the name of the United States of America, under the seal of the Patent and Trademark Office, and shall be signed by the Director or have his signature placed thereon and shall be recorded in the Patent and Trademark Office.
I. PRINTING NAMES OF PRACTITIONERS AND FIRM ON PATENTS
The Fee(s) Transmittal form (PTOL-85B) provides a space (item 2) for the person submitting the base issue fee to indicate, for printing, (1) the names of up to three registered patent attorneys or agents or, alternatively, (2) the name of a single firm, which has as a member at least one registered patent attorney or agent, and the names of up to two registered patent attorneys or agents. If the person submitting the issue fee desires that no name of practitioner or firm be printed on the patent, the space on the Fee(s) Transmittal form should be left blank. If no name is listed on the form, no name will be printed on the patent.
II. ASSIGNMENT PRINTED ON PATENT
The Fee(s) Transmittal form (PTOL -85B) provides a space (item 3) for assignment data which should be completed in order to comply with 37 CFR 3.81. The Office does not look to the assignment record to determine the name of the assignee to be printed on the front of the patent. Therefore, unless an assignee’s name and address are identified in item 3 of the Fee(s) Transmittal form PTOL-85B, the patent will issue to the applicant. Assignment data printed on the patent will be based solely on the information so supplied. See MPEP § 307. Recording of the assignment, or submission of the assignment for recordation as set forth in 37 CFR 3.11 is required for a Patent to issue to an assignee. See 37 CFR 3.81(a).
III. ASSIGNEE NAMES
Only the first appearing name of an assignee will be printed on the patent where multiple names for the same party are identified on the Fee(s) Transmittal form, PTOL-85B. Such multiple names may occur when both a legal name and an “also known as” or “doing business as” name is also included. This printing practice will not, however, affect the practice of recording assignments with the Office in the Assignment Division. The assignee entry on form PTOL-85B should still be completed to indicate the assignment data as recorded in the Office. For example, the assignment filed in the Office and therefore the PTOL-85B assignee entry might read “Smith Company doing business as (d.b.a.) Jones Company.” The assignee entry on the printed patent will read “Smith Company.”