In examination of an application it is sometimes necessary to inspect the application papers of a previously patented or abandoned application. It is always necessary to do so in the examination of a reissue application.
Recently patented and abandoned paper files are stored at the Files Repository. Older files are housed in warehouses located off site. Image File Wrapper (IFW) applications are stored electronically and do not have a paper file wrapper to be stored other than certain artifact material. The electronic file is the official record of the application.
Patented and abandoned paper files or artifact folders are ordered by means of a PALM transaction. To place such an order, the examiner is required to input his/her PALM location code, employee number, and patent number(s) and/or application number(s) of the file(s) that are needed. After transmission of the requested transaction by the examiner, a “response” screen informs him/her of the status of the request for each file. The examiner is informed that the request is:
- (A) accepted;
- (B) accepted, but for which the file is stored at a warehouse off site (in which case delivery time is increased);
- (C) not accepted because the file is not located at the repository or warehouse;
- (D) not accepted because a previous request for the file has not yet been filled; or
- (E) not accepted because the patent or application number inputted is not valid.
Personnel at the Files Repository regularly perform a PALM print transaction which produces a list of all accepted requests in patent number order and, for requests for abandoned files, in application number order. The printed record of each request is detached from the list when its associated file is found and then stapled to it. Periodic deliveries of files are made to the offices of their requestors by Files Repository personnel, and files that are ready to be returned to the repository are picked up. For applications stored in IFW, this process is not necessary.
With the exception of certain older files, the drawings of patented and abandoned files, if any, are now stored within their respective application file wrappers. Since it is desired not to separate one from the other, both the file and its drawings are delivered when a file is ordered.