Official Letter

What does Official Letter mean?

An office letters refers to a letter provided by the United States Patent and Trademark Office to an applicant outlining a concern with a trademark or patent application. Typically, the applicant will need to take action to address the concern if they wish for the application process to proceed. The Patent and Trademark Office provides an online form that applicants can use to respond to official letters.

The Patent and Trademark Office uses several types of official letters for various purposes as follows.

  • An examiner's amendment is notification that the Patent and Trademark Office has amended an application. This letter is informational in nature, one of the few types to which the applicant does not need to take action so long as he agrees with the nature of the amendment.
  • A priority action serves as written notification that an application has problems that the applicant must address within six months in order for the application process to continue. The Patent and Trademark Office uses this letter after the examiner with the Patent and Trademark Office has reviewed the issue with the applicant.
  • An office action is an initial notification to the applicant that there is a problem with the application or a final notification to the applicant if the applicant's previous steps to remedy an issue did not suffice to address the concern. The applicant must address the issue within six months in order for the application process to continue.
  • A suspension letter is notification that the Patent and Trademark Office has formally suspended an application. The suspension is generally for a problem the office communicated previously to the applicant in a priority action or office action letter. The applicant does not have to respond to this letter.

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