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Patent Law Firm: us patent, patent search, patent attorney, patent an invention, patent idea, patent information, patent law, patent application, u.s patent, united state patent, patent lawyer, patent agent, us patent search, software patent, patent pending, patent research, design patent, patent protection, patent help, patents, invention marketing in San Francisco Bay Area, Silicon Valley, San Jose, Santa Clara.


USPTO disclosure document program

A service provided by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO or Office) is the acceptance and preservation for two years of “Disclosure Documents” as evidence of the date of conception of an invention.

A paper disclosing an invention (called a Disclosure Document) and signed by the inventor or inventors may be forwarded to the USPTO by the inventor (or by any one of the inventors when there are joint inventors), by the owner of the invention, or by the attorney or agent of the inventor(s) or owner. The Disclosure Document will be retained for two years, and then be destroyed unless it is referred to in a separate letter in a related patent application filed within those two years.


These documents will be kept in confidence by the USPTO without publication in accordance with 35 U.S.C. 122(b), effective November 29, 2000.

This program does not diminish the value of the conventional, witnessed, permanently bound, and page-numbered laboratory notebook or notarized records as evidence of conception of an invention, but it should provide a more credible form of evidence than that provided by the mailing of a disclosure to oneself or another person by registered mail.

WARNING to Inventors
The two-year retention period is not a “grace period” during which the inventor can wait to file his or her patent application without possible loss of benefits. It must be recognized that, in establishing priority of invention, an affidavit or testimony referring to a Disclosure Document must usually also establish diligence in completing the invention or in filing the patent application after the filing of the Disclosure Document.

Inventors are also reminded that any public use or sale in the United States or publication of the invention anywhere in the world more than one year prior to the filing of a patent application on that invention will prohibit the granting of an U. S. patent on it. Foreign patent laws in this regard may be much more restrictive than U.S. laws.

Inventors who are not familiar with the requirement of "diligence in completing the invention" or "reduction of practice" under the US patent law are advised to consult an attorney or agent registered to practice before the PTO.

Content of the Disclosure Document
The benefits afforded by the Disclosure Document will depend directly upon the adequacy of the disclosure. It is strongly recommended that the document contain a clear and complete explanation of the manner and process of making and using the invention in sufficient detail to enable a person having ordinary knowledge in the field of the invention to make and use the invention. When the nature of the invention permits, a drawing or sketch should be included. The use or utility of the invention should be described, especially in chemical inventions.

Preparation of the Document
A standard format for the Disclosure Document is required to facilitate the PTO's electronic data capture and storage. The Disclosure Document (including drawings or sketches) must be on white letter-size (8 1/2 by 11 inch) or A4 (21.0 by 29.7 cm) paper, written on one side only, with each page numbered. Text and drawings must be sufficiently dark to permit reproduction with commonly used office copying machines. Oversized papers, even if foldable to the above dimensions, will not be accepted. Attachments such as videotapes and working models will not be accepted and will be returned.

Other Enclosures
The Disclosure Document must be accompanied by a separate signed cover letter stating that it is submitted by, or on behalf of, the inventor and requesting that the material be received into the Disclosure Document Program. The inventor's request may take the following form:

"The undersigned, being the inventor of the disclosed invention, requests that the enclosed papers be accepted under the Disclosure Document Program, and that they be preserved for a period of two years."

The original submission will not be returned. A notice with an identifying number and date of receipt in the PTO will be mailed to the customer, indicating that the Disclosure Document may be relied upon only as evidence and that a patent application should be diligently filed if patent protection is desired.

The Disclosure Document will be preserved by the PTO for two years after its receipt. After that time, it will be destroyed unless it is referred to in a separate letter in a related patent application filed within the two-year period. The separate letter filed in the related patent application must identify not only the patent application, but also the Disclosure Document by its title, number, and date of receipt in the PTO. Acknowledgment of such letters will be made in the next official communication or in a separate letter from the Patent and Trademark Office.

A fee in the form of a check or money order made payable to "Commissioner of Patents and Trademarks" must accompany the Disclosure Document when it is submitted to the Patent and Trademark Office. Documents without the full fee will be returned. Mail the Disclosure Document with payment to:

Mail Stop DD
Commissioner for Patents
P.O. Box 1450
Alexandria, VA 22313-1450

A copy of a Disclosure Document as filed in the Patent and Trademark Office will be furnished upon receipt of a written request (by the original submitter only) and a fee of $25.

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