Assignment Recordation Date

I’ll share my notion of the Best Practice for recordation of US patent assignments.  Please post comments below.

As a starting point to this discussion, I will remind the reader that if we receive a signed assignment and if we sit on it too long, we eventually come out on the wrong side of the 3-month period set forth in 35 USC § 261:

An interest that constitutes an assignment, grant or conveyance shall be void as against any subsequent purchaser or mortgagee for a valuable consideration, without notice, unless it is recorded in the Patent and Trademark Office within three months from its date or prior to the date of such subsequent purchase or mortgage.

So we will take as our starting point that whatever else we do about recording an assignment or postponing the recording of an assignment, we ought to try extremely hard to avoid getting on the wrong side of this three-month period.  (There are similar statutory three-month periods for trademark assignments and copyright assignments.)

Old-timers (or at least, practitioners who were in practice prior to January 1, 2014) will recall the days when it was necessary to pay a government fee to record a patent assignment. In those old days, practitioners would go to great lengths to try to avoid paying two fees if there was a way to squeeze two recordations into a single recordation (so as to pay only one fee).  A practitioner having encountered a problem with an existing recordation filing would go to great lengths to try to salvage the filing so as to avoid having to pony up a second government fee.  If there were two inventors, each of whom was supposed to sign an assignment, and if the signed assignments showed up on different days, most folks would carefully save up the first one and postpone e-filing it until the second signed assignment arrived.  This way, the filer could bunch them together and e-file them all in the same package.

As I say, the overarching goal for most practitioners in those old days was to try as hard as possible to get away with paying only one government fee for multiple assignments.

But the US eliminated the fee on January 1, 2014.  So that is no longer a reason to drag our feet on e-filing a signed assignment if we have it in hand.

A first drawback to intentionally postponing recording a signed assignment is that one might inadvertently permit the three-month period to pass (which I will call a “recordation failure”). By this I mean that to avoid a recordation failure, one needs to aggressively docket the three-month period. The docket steps would be (a) receive the signed assignment from the client; (b) note the date of execution (which might not be the same as the date that we received the signed assignment from the client); (c) add three months to the date of execution to arrive at a drop-dead recordation date, and (d) docket the drop-dead date and one or two warning dates.

If there were a docket failure (failing to set the drop-dead date, or failing to blow whistles loudly enough toward the end of the three-month period) then this would lead to a recordation failure (failing to record the signed assignment within the three-month period set forth in 35 USC § 261).

In our office, we estimate that the internal cost to set and clear a docket is around $50.  So if we can simply do something and get it done, rather than dragging our feet on the task, we don’t need to docket to remember to do whatever it is.  And then we save $50.

So to emphasize the above point, if we record each signed assignment promptly after receiving it, this also avoids having to do the above-mentioned fuss of docketing the three-month period under 35 USC § 261. Once we record the signed assignment, we can stop worrying about setting and clearing dockets to remember to record the signed assignment.

The practitioner who makes a decision to postpone recording an assignment is creating a second risk.  Whenever we sit on a signed assignment without recording it, we create the risk of misplacing the signed assignment. What if the document falls behind a desk?  What if the breeze catches the document and it flies out the window?  What if the file server where we store the PDF document crashes?  What if the file server does not crash, but through some bad luck the PDF document gets stored in the wrong folder?

The USPTO’s assignment recordation system may thus be thought of as an offsite backup for signed assignments. Saying this a different way, the sooner the signed assignment is recorded, the sooner that one may stop worrying about the risk of misplacing it.

A nay-sayer might ask “yes but if I record each inventor’s assignment when it arrives, I will have to fill in the twenty or so fields of the EPAS system twice instead of once!”  The answer to this, of course, is that when we are recording the first assignment, we should save a template.  When the second assignment shows up, we can use the template to auto-populate nearly all of the fields of the EPAS system for that second recordation.

Do you think that what I have described is a Best Practice?  Please post your comment below.

 

Posted in Patents |

302 Recording of Assignment Documents [R-07.2015]

37 CFR 3.11  Documents which will be recorded.

  • (a) Assignments of applications, patents, and registrations, and other documents relating to interests in patent applications and patents, accompanied by completed cover sheets as specified in § 3.28 and § 3.31, will be recorded in the Office. Other documents, accompanied by completed cover sheets as specified in § 3.28 and § 3.31, affecting title to applications, patents, or registrations, will be recorded as provided in this part or at the discretion of the Director.
  • (b) Executive Order 9424 of February 18, 1944 (9 FR 1959, 3 CFR 1943-1948 Comp., p. 303) requires the several departments and other executive agencies of the Government, including Government-owned or Government-controlled corporations, to forward promptly to the Director for recording all licenses, assignments, or other interests of the Government in or under patents or patent applications. Assignments and other documents affecting title to patents or patent applications and documents not affecting title to patents or patent applications required by Executive Order 9424 to be filed will be recorded as provided in this part.
  • (c) A joint research agreement or an excerpt of a joint research agreement will also be recorded as provided in this part.

37 CFR 3.58  Governmental registers.

  • (a) The Office will maintain a Departmental Register to record governmental interests required to be recorded by Executive Order 9424. This Departmental Register will not be open to public inspection but will be available for examination and inspection by duly authorized representatives of the Government. Governmental interests recorded on the Departmental Register will be available for public inspection as provided in § 1.12.
  • (b) The Office will maintain a Secret Register to record governmental interests required to be recorded by Executive Order 9424. Any instrument to be recorded will be placed on this Secret Register at the request of the department or agency submitting the same. No information will be given concerning any instrument in such record or register, and no examination or inspection thereof or of the index thereto will be permitted, except on the written authority of the head of the department or agency which submitted the instrument and requested secrecy, and the approval of such authority by the Director. No instrument or record other than the one specified may be examined, and the examination must take place in the presence of a designated official of the Patent and Trademark Office. When the department or agency which submitted an instrument no longer requires secrecy with respect to that instrument, it must be recorded anew in the Departmental Register.

37 CFR Part 3 sets forth Office rules on recording assignments and other documents relating to interests in patent applications and patents and the rights of an assignee.

37 CFR 3.11(c) provides that the Office will record a joint research agreement or an excerpt of a joint research agreement.

302.01 Assignment Document Must Be Copy for Recording [R-08.2012]

37 CFR 3.24  Requirements for documents and cover sheets relating to patents and patent applications.

  • (a) For electronic submissions: Either a copy of the original document or an extract of the original document may be submitted for recording. All documents must be submitted as digitized images in Tagged Image File Format (TIFF) or another form as prescribed by the Director. When printed to a paper size of either 21.6 by 27.9 cm (8 1/2 inches by 11 inches) or 21.0 by 29.7 cm (DIN size A4), the document must be legible and a 2.5 cm (one-inch) margin must be present on all sides.
  • (b) For paper or facsimile submissions: Either a copy of the original document or an extract of the original document must be submitted for recording. Only one side of each page may be used. The paper size must be either 21.6 by 27.9 cm (8 1/2 inches by 11 inches) or 21.0 by 29.7 cm (DIN size A4), and in either case, a 2.5 cm (one-inch) margin must be present on all sides. For paper submissions, the paper used should be flexible, strong white, non-shiny, and durable. The Office will not return recorded documents, so original documents must not be submitted for recording.

The United States Patent and Trademark Office will accept and record only a copy of an original assignment or other document. See MPEP § 317. The document submitted for recordation will not be returned to the submitter. If the copy submitted for recordation is illegible, the recorded document will be illegible. Accordingly, applicants and patent owners should ensure that only a legible copy is submitted for recordation.

302.02 Translation of Assignment Document [R-08.2012]

37 CFR 3.26  English language requirement.

The Office will accept and record non-English language documents only if accompanied by an English translation signed by the individual making the translation.

The assignment document, if not in the English language, will not be recorded unless accompanied by an English translation signed by the translator.

302.03 Identifying Patent or Application [R-07.2015]

37 CFR 3.21  Identification of patents and patent applications.

An assignment relating to a patent must identify the patent by the patent number. An assignment relating to a national patent application must identify the national patent application by the application number (consisting of the series code and the serial number; e.g., 07/123,456). An assignment relating to an international patent application which designates the United States of America must identify the international application by the international application number; e.g., PCT/US2012/012345. An assignment relating to an international design application which designates the United States of America must identify the international design application by the international registration number or by the U.S. application number assigned to the international design application. If an assignment of a patent application filed under § 1.53(b) of this chapter is executed concurrently with, or subsequent to, the execution of the patent application, but before the patent application is filed, it must identify the patent application by the name of each inventor and the title of the invention so that there can be no mistake as to the patent application intended. If an assignment of a provisional application under § 1.53(c) of this chapter is executed before the provisional application is filed, it must identify the provisional application by the name of each inventor and the title of the invention so that there can be no mistake as to the provisional application intended.

The patent or patent application to which an assignment relates must be identified by patent number or application number unless the assignment is executed concurrently with or subsequent to the execution of the application but before the application is filed. Then, the application must be identified by the name(s) of the inventors, and the title of the invention. If an assignment of a provisional application is executed before the provisional application is filed, it must identify the provisional application by name(s) of the inventors and the title of the invention.

The Office makes every effort to provide applicants with the application numbers for newly filed patent applications as soon as possible. It is suggested, however, that an assignment be written to allow entry of the identifying number after the execution of the assignment. An example of acceptable wording is:

“I hereby authorize and request my attorney, (Insert name), of (Insert address), to insert here in parentheses (Application number , filed ) the filing date and application number of said application when known.”

302.04 Foreign Assignee May Designate Domestic Representative [R-11.2013]

35 U.S.C. 293   Nonresident patentee; service and notice.

Every patentee not residing in the United States may file in the Patent and Trademark Office a written designation stating the name and address of a person residing within the United States on whom may be served process or notice of proceedings affecting the patent or rights thereunder. If the person designated cannot be found at the address given in the last designation, or if no person has been designated, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia shall have jurisdiction and summons shall be served by publication or otherwise as the court directs. The court shall have the same jurisdiction to take any action respecting the patent or rights thereunder that it would have if the patentee were personally within the jurisdiction of the court.

37 CFR 3.61  Domestic representative.

If the assignee of a patent, patent application, trademark application or trademark registration is not domiciled in the United States, the assignee may designate a domestic representative in a document filed in the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The designation should state the name and address of a person residing within the United States on whom may be served process or notice of proceedings affecting the application, patent or registration or rights thereunder.

An assignee of a patent or patent application who is not domiciled in the United States may, by written document signed by such assignee, designate a domestic representative. The designation of domestic representative should always be a paper separate from any assignment document, in order that the paper of designation can be retained in the appropriate application or patent file. Also, there should be a separate paper of designation of representative for each patent or application, so that a designation paper can be placed in each file. The designation of a domestic representative should be directed to the Office of Public Records for processing.

302.05 Address of Assignee [R-08.2012]

The address of the assignee may be recited in the assignment document and must be given in the required cover sheet. See MPEP § 302.07.

302.06 Fee for Recording [R-08.2012]

37 CFR 3.41  Recording fees.

  • (a) All requests to record documents must be accompanied by the appropriate fee. Except as provided in paragraph (b) of this section, a fee is required for each application, patent and registration against which the document is recorded as identified in the cover sheet. The recording fee is set in § 1.21(h) of this chapter for patents and in § 2.6(b)(6) of this chapter for trademarks.
  • (b) No fee is required for each patent application and patent against which a document required by Executive Order 9424 is to be filed if:
    • (1) The document does not affect title and is so identified in the cover sheet (see § 3.31(c)(2)); and
    • (2) The document and cover sheet are either: Faxed or electronically submitted as prescribed by the Director, or mailed to the Office in compliance with § 3.27.

The recording fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.21(h) is charged for each patent application and patent identified in the required cover sheet except as provided in 37 CFR 3.41(b).

302.07 Assignment Document Must Be Accompanied by a Cover Sheet  [R-07.2015]

37 CFR 3.28  Requests for recording.

Each document submitted to the Office for recording must include a single cover sheet (as specified in § 3.31) referring either to those patent applications and patents, or to those trademark applications and registrations, against which the document is to be recorded. If a document to be recorded includes interests in, or transactions involving, both patents and trademarks, then separate patent and trademark cover sheets, each accompanied by a copy of the document to be recorded, must be submitted. If a document to be recorded is not accompanied by a completed cover sheet, the document and the incomplete cover sheet will be returned pursuant to § 3.51 for proper completion, in which case the document and a completed cover sheet should be resubmitted.

37 CFR 3.31  Cover sheet content.

  • (a) Each patent or trademark cover sheet required by § 3.28 must contain:
    • (1) The name of the party conveying the interest;
    • (2) The name and address of the party receiving the interest;
    • (3) A description of the interest conveyed or transaction to be recorded;
    • (4) Identification of the interests involved:
      • (i) For trademark assignments and trademark name changes: Each trademark registration number and each trademark application number, if known, against which the Office is to record the document. If the trademark application number is not known, a copy of the application or a reproduction of the trademark must be submitted, along with an estimate of the date that the Office received the application; or
      • (ii) For any other document affecting title to a trademark or patent application, registration or patent: Each trademark or patent application number or each trademark registration number or patent against which the document is to be recorded, or an indication that the document is filed together with a patent application;
    • (5) The name and address of the party to whom correspondence concerning the request to record the document should be mailed;
    • (6) The date the document was executed;
    • (7) The signature of the party submitting the document. For an assignment document or name change filed electronically, the person who signs the cover sheet must either:
      • (i) Place a symbol comprised of letters, numbers, and/or punctuation marks between forward slash marks (e.g. /Thomas O’Malley III/) in the signature block on the electronic submission; or
      • (ii) Sign the cover sheet using some other form of electronic signature specified by the Director.
    • (8) For trademark assignments, the entity and citizenship of the party receiving the interest. In addition, if the party receiving the interest is a domestic partnership or domestic joint venture, the cover sheet must set forth the names, legal entities, and national citizenship (or the state or country of organization) of all general partners or active members that compose the partnership or joint venture.
  • (b) A cover sheet should not refer to both patents and trademarks, since any information, including information about pending patent applications, submitted with a request for recordation of a document against a trademark application or trademark registration will become public record upon recordation.
  • (c) Each patent cover sheet required by § 3.28 seeking to record a governmental interest as provided by § 3.11(b) must:
    • (1) Indicate that the document relates to a Government interest; and
    • (2) Indicate, if applicable, that the document to be recorded is not a document affecting title (see § 3.41(b)).
  • (d) Each trademark cover sheet required by § 3.28 seeking to record a document against a trademark application or registration should include, in addition to the serial number or registration number of the trademark, identification of the trademark or a description of the trademark, against which the Office is to record the document.
  • (e) Each patent or trademark cover sheet required by § 3.28 should contain the number of applications, patents or registrations identified in the cover sheet and the total fee.
  • (f) Each trademark cover sheet should include the citizenship of the party conveying the interest.
  • (g) The cover sheet required by § 3.28 seeking to record a joint research agreement or an excerpt of a joint research agreement as provided by § 3.11(c) must:
    • (1) Identify the document as a “joint research agreement” (in the space provided for the description of the interest conveyed or transaction to be recorded if using an Office-provided form);
    • (2) Indicate the name of the owner of the application or patent (in the space provided for the name and address of the party receiving the interest if using an Office-provided form);
    • (3) Indicate the name of each other party to the joint research agreement party (in the space provided for the name of the party conveying the interest if using an Office-provided form); and
    • (4) Indicate the date the joint research agreement was executed.
  • (h) The assignment cover sheet required by § 3.28 for a patent application or patent will be satisfied by the Patent Law Treaty Model International Request for Recordation of Change in Applicant or Owner Form, Patent Law Treaty Model International Request for Recordation of a License/ Cancellation of the Recordation of a License Form, Patent Law Treaty Model Certificate of Transfer Form or Patent Law Treaty Model International Request for Recordation of a Security Interest/ Cancellation of the Recordation of a Security Interest Form, as applicable, except where the assignment is also an oath or declaration under § 1.63 of this chapter. An assignment cover sheet required by § 3.28 must contain a conspicuous indication of an intent to utilize the assignment as an oath or declaration under § 1.63 of this chapter.

Each assignment document submitted to the Office for recording must be accompanied by a cover sheet as required by 37 CFR 3.28. The cover sheet for patents or patent applications must contain:

  • (A) The name of the party conveying the interest;
  • (B) The name and address of the party receiving the interest;
  • (C) A description of the interest conveyed or transaction to be recorded;
  • (D) Each patent application number or patent number against which the document is to be recorded, or an indication that the document is filed together with a patent application;
  • (E) The name and address of the party to whom correspondence concerning the request to record the document should be mailed;
  • (F) The date the document was executed; and
  • (G) The signature of the party submitting the document.

For applications filed on or after September 16, 2012, if the assignment document is also intended to serve as the required oath or declaration, the cover sheet must also contain a conspicuous indication of an intent to utilize the assignment as the required oath or declaration under 37 CFR 1.63. See 37 CFR 3.31(h).

If the document submitted for recordation is a joint research agreement or an excerpt of a joint research agreement, the cover sheet must clearly identify the document as a "joint research agreement" (in the space provided for the description of the interest conveyed if using Form PTO-1595). The date the joint research agreement was executed must also be identified. The cover sheet must also identify the name(s) of the owner(s) of the application or patent (in the space provided for the name and address of the party receiving the interest if using Form PTO-1595). The name(s) of every other party(ies) to the joint research agreement must also be identified (in the space provided for the name of the party conveying the interest if using Form PTO-1595).

Each patent cover sheet should contain the number of patent applications or patents identified in the cover sheet and the total fee.

Examples of the type of descriptions of the interest conveyed or transaction to be recorded that can be identified are:

  • (A) assignment;
  • (B) security agreement;
  • (C) merger;
  • (D) change of name;
  • (E) license;
  • (F) foreclosure;
  • (G) lien;
  • (H) contract; and
  • (I) joint research agreement.

Cover sheets required by 37 CFR 3.28 seeking to record a governmental interest must also (1) indicate that the document relates to a governmental interest and (2) indicate, if applicable, that the document to be recorded is not a document affecting title.

A patent cover sheet may not refer to trademark applications or registrations.

Form PTO-1595, Recordation Form Cover Sheet, may be used as the cover sheet for recording documents relating to patent(s) and/or patent application(s) in the Office.

302.08 Mailing Address for Submitting Assignment Documents [R-08.2012]

37 CFR 3.27  Mailing address for submitting documents to be recorded.

Documents and cover sheets submitted by mail for recordation should be addressed to Mail Stop Assignment Recordation Services, Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, P.O. Box 1450, Alexandria, Virginia 22313-1450, unless they are filed together with new applications.

37 CFR 3.27 sets out how documents submitted for recording should be addressed to the Office. In order to ensure prompt and proper processing, documents and their cover sheets should be addressed to the Mail Stop Assignment Recordation Services, Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, P.O. Box 1450, Alexandria, VA 22313-1450, unless they are filed together with new applications. Requests for recording documents which accompany new applications should be addressed to the Commissioner for Patents, P.O. Box 1450, Alexandria, VA 22313-1450.

302.09 Facsimile Submission of Assignment Documents [R-11.2013]

Assignments and other documents affecting title may be submitted to the Office via facsimile (fax). See the USPTO website or MPEP § 1730 for the facsimile number. This process allows customers to submit their documents directly into the automated Patent and Trademark Assignment System and receive the resulting recordation notice at their fax machine. The customer’s fax machine should be connected to a dedicated line because recordation notices will be returned automatically to the sending fax number through the Patent and Trademark Assignment System. If the Office system is unable to complete transmission of the recordation notice, the notice will be printed and mailed to the sender by U.S. Postal Service first class mail. Recorded documents will not be returned with the “Notice of Recordation.”

Any assignment-related document for patent matters submitted by facsimile must include:

  • (A) an identified application or patent number;
  • (B) one cover sheet to record a single transaction; and
  • (C) payment of the recordation fee by a credit card (use of the Credit Card form, PTO-2038 (see MPEP § 509), is required for the credit card information to be kept separate from the assignment records) or a USPTO Deposit Account.

The following documents cannot be submitted via facsimile:

  • (A) Assignments submitted concurrently with newly filed patent applications;
  • (B) Documents with two or more cover sheets (e.g., a single document with one cover sheet to record an assignment, and a separate cover sheet to record separately a license relating to the same property); and
  • (C) Requests for “at cost” recordation services.

The date of receipt accorded to an assignment document sent to the Office by facsimile transmission is the date the complete transmission is received in the Office. See MPEP § 502.01. The benefits of a certificate of transmission under 37 CFR 1.8 are available.

If a document submitted by fax is determined not to be recordable, the entire document, with its associated cover sheet, and the Office “Notice of Non-Recordation” will be transmitted via fax back to the sender. Once corrections are made, the initial submission, amended, may then be resubmitted by mailing the corrected submission to the address set forth in 37 CFR 3.27. Timely resubmission will provide the sender with the benefit of the initial receipt date as the recordation date in accordance with 37 CFR 3.51.

The Patent and Trademark Assignment System assigns reel and frame numbers and superimposes recordation stampings on the processed and stored electronic images. Accordingly, copies of all recorded documents will have the reel and frame numbers and recordation stampings.

302.10 Electronic Submission of Assignment Documents [R-07.2015]

37 CFR 3.31  Cover sheet content.

  • (a)
    • *****
      • (7) The signature of the party submitting the document. For an assignment document or name change filed electronically, the person who signs the cover sheet must either:
        • (i) Place a symbol comprised of letters, numbers, and/or punctuation marks between forward slash marks (e.g. /Thomas O’ Malley III/) in the signature block on the electronic submission; or
        • (ii) Sign the cover sheet using some other form of electronic signature specified by the Director.

*****

37 CFR 1.4  Nature of correspondence and signature requirements.

*****

  • (d)
    • *****
      • (2) S-signature. An S-signature is a signature inserted between forward slash marks, but not a handwritten signature as defined by paragraph (d)(1) of this section. An S-signature includes any signature made by electronic or mechanical means, and any other mode of making or applying a signature other than a handwritten signature as provided for in paragraph (d)(1) of this section. Correspondence being filed in the Office in paper, by facsimile transmission as provided in § 1.6(d), or via the Office electronic filing system as an attachment as provided in § 1.6(a)(4), for a patent application, patent, or a reexamination or supplemental examination proceeding may be S-signature signed instead of being personally signed (i.e., with a handwritten signature) as provided for in paragraph (d)(1) of this section. The requirements for an S-signature under this paragraph (d)(2) of this section are as follows.
        • (i) The S-signature must consist only of letters, or Arabic numerals, or both, with appropriate spaces and commas, periods, apostrophes, or hyphens for punctuation, and the person signing the correspondence must insert his or her own S-signature with a first single forward slash mark before, and a second single forward slash mark after, the S-signature (e.g., /Dr. James T. Jones, Jr./); and
        • (ii) A patent practitioner (§ 1.32(a)(1)), signing pursuant to §§ 1.33(b)(1) or 1.33(b)(2), must supply his/her registration number either as part of the S-signature, or immediately below or adjacent to the S-signature. The number (#) character may be used only as part of the S-signature when appearing before a practitioner’s registration number; otherwise the number character may not be used in an S-signature.
        • (iii) The signer’s name must be:
          • (A) Presented in printed or typed form preferably immediately below or adjacent the S-signature, and
          • (B) Reasonably specific enough so that the identity of the signer can be readily recognized.
      • (3) Electronically submitted correspondence. Correspondence permitted via the Office electronic filing system may be signed by a graphic representation of a handwritten signature as provided for in paragraph (d)(1) of this section or a graphic representation of an S-signature as provided for in paragraph (d)(2) of this section when it is submitted via the Office electronic filing system.
      • (4) Certifications—
        • (i) Certification as to the paper presented. The presentation to the Office (whether by signing, filing, submitting, or later advocating) of any paper by a party, whether a practitioner or non-practitioner, constitutes a certification under § 11.18(b) of this subchapter. Violations of § 11.18(b)(2) of this subchapter by a party, whether a practitioner or non-practitioner, may result in the imposition of sanctions under § 11.18(c) of this subchapter. Any practitioner violating § 11.18(b) of this subchapter may also be subject to disciplinary action. See § 11.18(d) of this subchapter.
        • (ii) Certification as to the signature. The person inserting a signature under paragraph (d)(2) or (d)(3) of this section in a document submitted to the Office certifies that the inserted signature appearing in the document is his or her own signature. A person submitting a document signed by another under paragraph (d)(2) or (d)(3) of this section is obligated to have a reasonable basis to believe that the person whose signature is present on the document was actually inserted by that person, and should retain evidence of authenticity of the signature. Violations of the certification as to the signature of another or a person’s own signature as set forth in this paragraph may result in the imposition of sanctions under § 11.18(c) and (d) of this chapter.
      • (5) Forms. The Office provides forms for the public to use in certain situations to assist in the filing of correspondence for a certain purpose and to meet certain requirements for patent applications and proceedings. Use of the forms for purposes for which they were not designed is prohibited. No changes to certification statements on the Office forms (e.g., oath or declaration forms, terminal disclaimer forms, petition forms, and nonpublication request forms) may be made. The existing text of a form, other than a certification statement, may be modified, deleted, or added to, if all text identifying the form as an Office form is removed. The presentation to the Office (whether by signing, filing, submitting, or later advocating) of any Office form with text identifying the form as an Office form by a party, whether a practitioner or non-practitioner, constitutes a certification under § 11.18(b) of this chapter that the existing text and any certification statements on the form have not been altered other than permitted by EFS-Web customization.

*****

Assignments and other documents affecting title may be submitted to the Office via the Office’s Electronic Patent Assignment System (EPAS). See the USPTO website at http://epas.uspto.gov for additional information regarding EPAS.

Any assignment related document submitted by EPAS must include:

  • (A) an identified application or patent number;
  • (B) one cover sheet to record a single transaction which cover sheet is to be completed on-line; and
  • (C) payment of the recordation fee by a credit card (use of the Credit Card form, PTO-2038 (see MPEP § 509), is required for the credit card information to be kept separate from the assignment records), electronic fund transfer (EFT) or a USPTO Deposit Account.

For an assignment document filed electronically, the signature of the person who signs the cover sheet must comply with 37 CFR 3.31(a)(7) or 37 CFR 1.4(d)(2).

The date of receipt accorded to an assignment document sent to the Office by EPAS is the date the complete transmission is received in the Office.

If a document submitted by EPAS is determined not to be recordable, the entire document, with its associated cover sheet, and the Office "Notice of Non-Recordation" will be transmitted via fax back to the sender. Once corrections are made, the initial submission, as amended, may then be resubmitted by mailing the corrected submission to the address set forth in 37 CFR 3.27. Timely submission will provide the sender with the benefit of the initial receipt date as the recordation date in accordance with 37 CFR 3.51.

The Patent and Trademark Assignment System assigns reel and frame numbers and superimposes recordation stampings on the processed and stored electronic images. Accordingly, copies of all recorded documents will have the reel and frame numbers and recordation stampings.

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