18May 2022
Document Automation

{2 minutes to read}  In December of last year, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to seek public feedback on a proposal to revise the rules of practice for issuing patents electronically. Under the current rule (37 CFR 1.315), the USPTO is required to deliver or mail a patent “upon issuance to the correspondence address of record.” Under the proposed changes, the USPTO would no longer physically deliver the patent by mailing it but would issue the patent electronically via their patent document viewing systems (i.e., Patent Center and Patent Application Image Retrieval (PAIR)). Patentees would also be able to download and print their electronically issued patents through these systems.

This change comes with many benefits for patent owners. For example, the new process will result in electronic patent issuance with the USPTO seal and the Director’s signature within one week after the patent number is assigned. This will reduce the pendency of every issued patent application by approximately two weeks.

The proposed changes represent another step toward the full digitization of the patent application processing and streamlining of the USPTO services. Beginning in 2001, the USPTO implemented the electronic filing system for patent applicants and has since launched numerous initiatives to provide high-quality services. These include the Image File Wrapper system, the eOffice Action program, Public/Private PAIR, and Patent Center, among others.

Next steps

Once the transition is complete, customers who wish to continue to receive “presentation copies” of issued patents and trademark registration certificates with an embossed gold seal and a Director’s signature, will still be available for a fee of $25 per copy. In future digital formats, the USPTO plans to use a digital seal and electronic Director’s signature to officially authorize the patent or trademark.

Silvia Salvadori, PhD Silvia Salvadori, PhD
Salvadori Law
Please contact me at silvia@salvadorilaw.com with questions or comments.