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Author Topic: Destroying Original Letters Patent?  (Read 285 times)


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Destroying Original Letters Patent?
« on: 02-08-18 at 11:16 am »

I have a client who is asking if we can just destroy the original letters patent instead of sending the document to them.  Does anyone know of any problem(s) with destroying original letters patent that cannot be fixed at a later time?  There is not a lot of information out there on this issue that I can find...

Robert K S

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Re: Destroying Original Letters Patent?
« Reply #1 on: 02-08-18 at 04:03 pm »

Since physical surrender of a ribbon copy isn't required in reissues any more (see MPEP 1416) and entering of a ribbon copy into evidence is, I believe, neither necessary nor sufficient to show patent ownership in court, it seems to me like the ribbon copy is largely if not entirely ceremonial.  As if to underscore the reduced significance of the ribbon copy, a few years ago the PTO switched from wax seals to cheap foil stickers.  It would not surprise me if in the next major update of the patent law (or regs, since I don't think ribbon copies are required by statute, correct me if I am wrong) they did away with ribbon copies altogether or just made them an up-sell exit-through-the-gift-shop trinket you could pay a premium for upon issuance.

Actually, I'm a little surprised that the PTO doesn't do more as a market entrant to compete with third-party sellers of patent plaques, patent paperweights, and the like.  I would think most buyers of such things would prefer to buy from the official source, the government, even if ultimately the manufacturing and shipping were farmed out to the same competitors.  If they could sell that kind of stuff and/or start charging for optional ribbon copies they could reduce fees for the rest of us.
This post is made in the context of professional discussion of general patent law issues and nothing contained herein may be construed as legal advice.


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