FAQ Transferring Ownership / Assignments at the USPTO

(This information is extracted mostly from http://www.uspto.gov/learning-and-resources/transferring-ownership-assignments-faqs#160529)


Are documents submitted for recordation examined?

No. All documents that meet the minimum requirements outlined in 37 CFR 3 are processed and recorded.


What is EPAS ?

EPAS is the Electronic Patent Assignment System. Using EPAS, a Patent Assignment Recordation Coversheet may be created and submitted by completing on-line web forms and attaching the supporting legal documentation as TIFF image(s) or a PDF file for submission via the Internet.

 [ETAS is the Electronic Trademark Assignment System.]


Can I stop an assignment recordation once I have submitted it?

Assignments filed online via EPAS or ETAS are generally recorded within hours of submission.

If the assignment has not yet been recorded, contact the Assignment Recordation Branch by telephone and we may be able to suspend the recordation. The recordation will be suspended for two days to allow time for submission of a written letter requesting that the recordation be cancelled and that a refund be issued.

If the assignment has been recorded, it cannot be cancelled. You must follow the procedures outlined in the Trademark Manual of Examining Procedure (TMEP) Section 503.06 at http://tess2.uspto.gov/tmdb/tmep/0500.htm#_T50306.

For further information, please contact the Assignment Recordation Branch Customer Service Desk at 571-272-3350 from 8:30 am – 5:00 pm Eastern Time.


What does it mean when a document is “ recorded ?”

The office simply puts the information on the public record and does not verify the validity of the information. Recordation is a ministerial function. The office neither makes a determination of the legality of the transaction nor the right of the submitting party to take the action.


Are title searches conducted by the PTO prior to recordation?

No. All documents that meet the minimum requirement in 37 CFR 3 are processed and recorded. Persons buying or selling properties should be sure that there is an accurate chain of title in place before submitting recordation requests.


How do I get to the EPAS system?

EPAS is located at  http://epas.uspto.gov

[ETAS is located at https://etas.uspto.gov/]

[The ETAS inquiry system is located at http://assignments.uspto.gov/assignments/q?db=tm]

[The EPAS inquiry system is located at http://assignment.uspto.gov/]


How do I pay to have an assignment recorded?

Payment may be made by use of a check, credit card, money order or USPTO deposit account if submitting documents in paper. Trademark assignments submitted electronically may be paid by credit card, USPTO deposit account or electronic fund transfer (EFT). The USPTO accepts VISA, MASTERCARD, AMERICAN EXPRESS and DISCOVER credit cards.


What are the requirements for recordation (37 CFR 3)?

Essentially the rules:

(1) specify the minimum information about the transaction that must be submitted;

(2) require submitters to submit this information of a separate cover sheet; and

(3) specify that submissions must be legible and of such quality to permit processing; and

(4) pay the proper recording fee.

The rules permit submission of true copies of assignment-related documents; original documents are not required nor desired, as they will not be returned.


What USPTO office records assignment and other documents affecting title?

The Assignment Recordation Branch in the Public Records Division processes and records assignment documents for both patent and trademark properties.


What is a “Recordation Cover Sheet” and why is it so important?

All the searchable information going on the public record is transcribed directly from the cover sheet. The office does not compare the contents of the cover sheet to the underlying document to determine what data should be entered or to attempt to identify and resolve discrepancies.


What is ETAS ?

ETAS is the Electronic Trademark Assignment System. Using ETAS, a Trademark Assignment Recordation Coversheet may be created and submitted by completing on-line web forms and attaching the supporting legal documentation as TIFF image(s) or a PDF file for submission via the Internet.


Where can I find training information on the Assignment Search released December 2014?    

To view online training, go to: http://helix-1.uspto.gov/player/20150122_AssignmentDatabase.html [40 minutes]


How is an assignment-related document processed?

All assignments are processed through an image-based workflow management system called the Patent and Trademark Assignment System (PTAS).

Paper documents are manually scanned into the PTAS. Documents received electronically through EFS, ETAS or EPAS are electronically scanned into the PTAS system.

Bibliographic data concerning the property (ies) and party (ies) involved in the transaction are transcribed from the manually scanned image by the PTO or are entered by the requesting party at the time of submission through EFS, ETAS or EPAS. This bibliographic data is entered into the USPTO Assignment Historical Database. The data submitted is reviewed for completeness and the documents are determined to be recordable or non-recordable.

The images of the coversheet and the document found recordable are automatically assigned reel and frame numbers by the PTAS and put on searchable media (microfilm and CD-ROM).

PTAS software then superimposes the assigned reel and frame numbers, the official recordation date stamp and the payment information on the images.

The PTAS generates a “Notice of Recordation” which is returned to the correspondence address on the cover sheet.

Documents found to be non-recordable are returned to the customer with a “Notice of Non-Recordation” citing the reason for non-recordation.


If I have a question about filing an assignment document, where can I get help ?  

You may contact the Assignment Recordation Branch customer Service Desk at 571-272-3350 from 8:30 am – 5:00 pm Eastern Time. You may e-mail questions about electronic trademark assignment filing to ETAS@uspto.gov or for electronic patent assignment filing to EPAS@uspto.gov.


Is a cover sheet required when submitting recordation requests electronically?

Yes. But, when submitting documents electronically through EFS, ETAS or EPAS, the cover sheet is electronically created based on the information the filer enters on the electronic form.


How do I get to the ETAS system ?

ETAS is located at  http://etas.uspto.gov.


Is the Assignment Document read?

No. Everything required for the public record is transcribed from the cover sheet.

If I have a question about filing an assignment document, where can I get help ?

You may contact the Assignment Recordation Branch customer Service Desk at 571-272-3350 from 8:30 am – 5:00 pm Eastern Time. You may e-mail questions about electronic trademark assignment filing to ETAS@uspto.gov  or for electronic patent assignment filing to EPAS@uspto.gov.


Must the USPTO cover sheet forms (PTO-1594 Trademarks or PTO-1595 Patents) be used when submitting recordation requests in paper?

No, these forms are not mandatory. However, the USPTO strongly encourages their use. Completing the forms in their entirety ensures that all the required information for recordation has been sent to the office. The forms are available in PDF-fillable format on the USPTO Forms page , thus making them quick and easy to prepare.

When these forms are received in the USPTO, they are scanned along with the supporting documentation. The bibliographic data from the cover sheet is then entered into the PTAS system and the documents are processed.


Why is a document non-recordable ?

Documents are usually returned as “ non-recordable ” for one of three reasons:

A critical piece of bibliographic information was omitted from the cover sheet;

The document itself is illegible or of such poor quality that it cannot be scanned electronically, or

The correct fee was not paid.

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