An Archive of Patent Office Rules and Procedures

This isn’t really meant as a traditional post, but I’ve noticed that there isn’t one organized place to view older versions of the pamphlet issued by the Patent Office providing rules and procedures for filing patents and other interactions with the Patent Office. These rules are now housed within the CFR, and the Patent Office is now the USPTO, but it’s still useful to understand the rules for filing a patent when looking at an old patent. The bulk of these are from Hathitrust, but I’ve gone to the Library of Congress and elsewhere to digitize many of the older sets of rules not available online anywhere, in an effort to create a complete resource for people interested in the subject. This resource goes in hand with the list of copyright rules manuals I’ve previously posted.

Oh, and if you have a copy of old Patent Office Rules from a year not available below, let me know! If you put it online I’ll be sure to link to it. Note that unless otherwise, my scans were done at the Library of Congress – the three exceptions were done at the law library of the George Washington University School of Law

This collection has two caveats. The first is that I didn’t scan every rules pamphlet, or even almost all. I did, however, try to ensure that any gaps were minimized, so one can find the rules from within a few years before or after the relevant application was filed. In practice, the rules weren’t being completely changed every few years, so the rules of within a few years are likely pretty similar. The second is that, for my own scans, I used CamScanner instead of a proper scanner. The gist is that some pages aren’t quite as sharp as might be preferred, but everything is legible, and most pages are perfectly fine. It’s just not archival quality.

There are three types of such rule pamphlets published by the Patent Office (it became the Patent and Trademark Office in 1975). The first, published until 1877, contains all rules. In 1877 the Patent Office split off trademarks and prints/labels (registered under copyright rules with the Patent Office from 1874) into a separate pamphlet. In the 20th century, prints/labels were split off into their own pamphlet.

Patent/Unified Rules of Procedure

1828-1837 (At UNH’s IPMall)
1834
1837
1844
1846 (My scan at LoC Law Library – includes all circulars)
1849
1851
1854 (my scan)
1855 (my scan at GW)
1861
1866 (my scan at GW)
1869 (my scan at GW)
1871 (my scan)
1873 (my scan)
1875 (my scan)
1878 (my scan)
1880
1883 (my scan)
1884 (my scan)
1885 (my scan)
1888
1892
1897
1901
1902
1903
1903-1904
1907
1908
1908
1908
1910
1911
1916
1916
1919
1919
1925
1927
1929
1931
1931-1935 (compiled)
1933
1935
February 1936
October 1936
1936-1939 (compiled)
1939
February 1940
October 1940
1940
1942
1942-1947 (compiled)
1949-1955 (compiled)
1950
1951
1953-1955 (compiled)
1960-1963 (compiled)
1960-1968 (compiled)
1965
1968
1970-1973 (compiled)

Trademark (and prints/labels until 1900) Rules of Procedure

Rules for Registration of Prints and Labels under the 1874 Act
(covered in Patent Rules 1874-1876, Trademark Rules until 1900, law repealed 1940, registration returned to Copyright Office)

Author: Zvi S. Rosen

Lawyer and sometimes academic. I've written a fair deal about the evolution of intellectual property law into its present form, this blog is a way to share things that don't fit into a full-length article.

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