USPTO announces e-Office Action program for patent applicationsJuly 22, 2009

In a press release, the USPTO announced the availability of the e-Office Action program for patent applications. Under the program, applicants or attorneys may sign up to receive an email notice when an office action is mailed in an application, and can then download the office action from Private PAIR. This avoids the time delay of mailing the office action, thereby getting notice of the action sooner than previously possible (and also has the benefit of reducing mailing and processing costs at the USPTO). If the office action is not downloaded within 7 days, the USPTO would then send a postcard notifying of the office action.

The program is opt-in, so current applicants and attorneys will continue to receive paper copies of office actions for the time being. However, it seems likely that in the foreseeable future the USPTO will implement this program for all applications.

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