37 CFR 102.4: Requirements for making requests

Taken from the Ninth Edition of the MPEP, Revision 07.2022, Published February 2023

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102.4    Requirements for making requests.

  • (a) A request for USPTO records that are not customarily made available to the public as part of USPTO’s regular informational services must be in writing, and shall be processed under FOIA, regardless of whether FOIA is mentioned in the request. Requests should be sent to the USPTO FOIA Officer, United States Patent and Trademark Office, P.O. Box 1450, Alexandria, Virginia 22313-1450 (records FOIA requires to be made regularly available for public inspection and copying are addressed in § 102.2(c) ). For the quickest handling, the request letter and envelope should be marked "Freedom of Information Act Request." For requests for records about oneself, § 102.24 contains additional requirements. For requests for records about another individual, either a written authorization signed by that individual permitting disclosure of those records to the requester or proof that individual is deceased (for example, a copy of a death certificate or an obituary) facilitates processing the request.
  • (b) The records requested must be described in enough detail to enable USPTO personnel to locate them with a reasonable amount of effort. Whenever possible, a request should include specific information about each record sought, such as the date, title or name, author, recipient, and subject matter of the record, and the name and location of the office where the record is located. Also, if records about a court case are sought, the title of the case, the court in which the case was filed, and the nature of the case should be included. If known, any file designations or descriptions for the requested records should be included. In general, the more specifically the request describes the records sought, the greater the likelihood that USPTO will locate those records. If the FOIA Officer determines that a request does not reasonably describe records, the FOIA Officer will inform the requester what additional information is needed or why the request is otherwise insufficient. The FOIA Officer also may give the requester an opportunity to discuss the request so that it may be modified to meet the requirements of this section.
[Added, 65 FR 52916, Aug. 31, 2000, effective Oct. 2, 2000; para. (a) revised, 68 FR 14332, Mar. 25, 2003, effective May 1, 2003]