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35 U.S.C. § 102(e) is November 29, 2000
In December 2002, The USPTO commenced a prototype of electronic image processing of patent applications. Three art units in Technology Centers 1600 and 2800 will participate in this prototype, as well as sections of the Office of Initial Patent Examination (OIPE) and other related processing divisions. This prototype program will test the use of image technology to replace the standard paper processing of patent applications currently used in the USPTO. All processing and examination will be performed with the image files, instead of the paper source documents, by the examiners, technical support staff and all other USPTO professional staff during the prototype. (See USPTO Announces Prototype of Image Processing (signed 11/19/02) 1265 OG 87 (12/17/02)).