[Federal Register Volume 67, Number 72 (Monday, April 15, 2002)]
[Pages 18176-18177]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 02-9017]



Patent and Trademark Office

Electronic Publication of the Trademark Manual of Examining 

AGENCY: Patent and Trademark Office, Commerce.

ACTION: Notice and request for comments.


SUMMARY: The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) 
announces its intention to disseminate all future editions of the 
Trademark Manual of Examining Procedure (TMEP) solely in electronic 

DATES: Comments must be received on or before May 15, 2002, to ensure 

ADDRESSES: Mail comments to the Commissioner for Trademarks, 2900 
Crystal Drive, Arlington, Virginia 22202-3513, attention: Sharon Marsh; 
fax comments to (703) 872-9282, attention Sharon Marsh; or e-mail 
comments to [email protected].
    Copies of all comments will be available for public inspection in 
Suite 10B10, South Tower Building, 10th floor, 2900 Crystal Drive, 
Arlington, Virginia 22202-3513, from 8:30 a.m. until 5 p.m., Monday 
through Friday, and will be posted on the www.uspto.gov Web site.

Commissioner for Trademarks, (703) 308-8910, extension 145; or e-mail 
to [email protected].

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Trademark Manual of Examining Procedure 
(TMEP) is a reference work that sets forth the practices and procedures 
that are followed in connection with the prosecution of applications to 
register marks at the USPTO. In the past, the USPTO has provided the 
text of the TMEP to the Government Printing Office (GPO) for paper 
publication, distribution and sale. The USPTO, as well as private 
practitioners and others, bought copies of the TMEP from the GPO. The 
GPO also provided deposit copies to libraries through its Federal 
Depository Library Program.
    Currently, the TMEP is available on the Internet at the USPTO Web 
site (http://www.uspto.gov), and is also provided in paper and DVD-ROM 
formats. The USPTO hereby announces its intention to disseminate all 
future editions of the TMEP solely in electronic form. Electronic 
distribution of the TMEP will enable the USPTO to provide more frequent 
updates of the TMEP, thereby benefiting external and internal 
customers. Additionally, electronic dissemination will result in 
substantial cost savings.
    A Federal agency that disseminates information electronically must 
do so in a manner consistent with guidelines set forth in OMB Circular 
A-130. Dissemination of the TMEP solely in electronic format is 
consistent with those guidelines.
    The guidelines require that ``[a] change to electronic 
dissemination, as

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the sole means of disseminating the product, will not impose 
substantial acquisition or training costs on users, especially State 
and local governments and small business entities.'' OMB Circular A-
130, paragraph 8a(8)(e). Elimination of the paper version of the TMEP 
will not result in any significant acquisition costs. The Internet 
version of the TMEP can be accessed without any special equipment or 
software. Free access to the TMEP will continue to be provided on DVD-
ROM and via the Internet at all eighty-seven Patent and Trademark 
Depository Library (PTDL) locations throughout the United States. 
Elimination of the paper version of the TMEP is unlikely to 
significantly increase the demand for computer capacity at the PTDLs or 
otherwise impose a burden on them. PTDLs routinely provide reference 
assistance and training in the access and use of this and other 
trademark information. However, the electronic version of the TMEP is 
highly user-friendly, and therefore, its use requires little or no 
training. In addition, commercial vendors currently provide the TMEP in 
paper form, and the USPTO anticipates that availability through this 
channel will continue.
    The guidelines also provide that use of electronic media is proper 
if ``[t]he agency develops and maintains the information 
electronically.'' OMB Circular A-130, paragraph 8a(8)(a). The 
information set forth in the TMEP is both developed and maintained 
    A further requirement for use of electronic means to disseminate 
information is that the ``[e]lectronic media or formats are practical 
and cost effective ways to provide public access to a large, highly 
detailed volume of information.'' OMB Circular A-130, paragraph 
8a(8)(b). Electronic dissemination of the TMEP is both cost-effective 
and practical. Non-electronic dissemination of the TMEP is fairly 
costly. For example, when the TMEP was last reissued, the USPTO 
expended over $20,000.00 in printing and binding costs. Electronic 
dissemination would eliminate these costs. Additionally, electronic 
dissemination is highly practical; such dissemination will allow the 
USPTO to issue updates whenever required by statutory, regulatory or 
policy changes. Additionally, the electronic format allows users to 
conduct electronic searches of the nineteen chapters and numerous 
subsections that comprise the TMEP.
    The guidelines also require that ``[t]he agency disseminates the 
product frequently.'' OMB Circular A-130, paragraph 8a(8)(c). The TMEP 
is disseminated to users on demand. Currently, the product is updated 
every few years because of the burden involved in printing and 
disseminating a several-hundred-page paper document. Moving to 
electronic dissemination only will permit the USPTO to issue much more 
frequent updates and keep the TMEP current with changes in statute, 
regulation, and procedure.
    The guidelines also provide that information should not be 
disseminated electronically unless ``[t]he agency knows a substantial 
portion of users have ready access to the necessary information 
technology and training to use electronic information dissemination 
products.'' OMB Circular A-130, paragraph 8a(8)(d). The USPTO is 
confident that a substantial proportion of its customers have ready 
access to the Internet, the forum on which the TMEP is posted, and that 
its customers have the necessary training to utilize the TMEP.
    At this time, at least one publisher offers a paper TMEP in a 
slightly different format than that offered by the GPO. Thus, the USPTO 
is confident that, if there is a demand for a paper TMEP, an 
entrepreneurial publisher exists who will offer a paper publication.

    Dated: April 9, 2002.
James E. Rogan,
Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property, Director, United 
States Patent and Trademark Office.
[FR Doc. 02-9017 Filed 4-12-02; 8:45 am]