USPTO To Propose Paperless Patents

In a Director’s Forum weblog submit revealed December 10, 2021, the USPTO introduced plans to difficulty proposed rule modifications referring to the format by which U.S. patents are issued, making digital patents the norm, with one thing akin to right this moment’s ribboned copies obtainable upon request (and for a nominal charge). Lots of you studying this will likely marvel what took so lengthy, however as with many authorities company practices, it turns on the market’s a statute that needed to be reckoned with earlier than the USPTO might go paperless.

Difficulty of Patent

Chapter 14 of 35 U.S.C. pertains to “Issue of Patent.” 35 USC § 153 gives:

Patents shall be issued within the title of america of America, beneath the seal of the Patent and Trademark Workplace, and shall be signed by the Director or have his signature positioned thereon and shall be recorded within the Patent and Trademark Workplace.

So, earlier than the USPTO might transition to digital patents, it had to determine tips on how to difficulty them “signed by the Director” or with “his signature placed thereon.”

As soon as that hurdle was overcome, the USPTO needed to handle 37 CFR § 1.315, entitled “Delivery of patent,” which gives:

The patent can be delivered or mailed upon issuance to the correspondence handle of report.

That’s the place the proposed rule modifications will are available.

As defined within the weblog submit, the USPTO will suggest to as an alternative “issue the patent electronically”—“with the USPTO seal and the Director’s signature” —through Patent Middle and Patent Software Picture Retrieval (PAIR)). Based on Drew Hirshfeld, Performing the Features and Duties of the Beneath Secretary of Commerce for Mental Property and Director of the USPTO, the USPTO believes this variation will end in sooner issuance, i.e., inside one week after the patent quantity is assigned.

What About Logos?

Based on the Director’s Weblog submit, no rule change could be required to implement comparable modifications for trademark registration certificates, however the USPTO nonetheless plans to solicit public suggestions on its proposal to exchange paper registration certificates with digital variations. Because the USPTO “currently issue[s] 6,000-9,000 printed trademark registration certificates per week,” this variation will considerably cut back paper processing and related prices.

What If I Nonetheless Need A Fairly Paper Patent?

The Director’s Weblog submit reassures stakeholders who should still need paper “presentation copies” of their patents and trademark registration certificates. Particularly, the USPTO contemplates providing presentation copies “with an embossed gold seal and a Director’s signature” for a nominal charge of $25 per copy.

Does this imply the proposed modifications will embody decreasing the problem charge by $25?

I’m guessing most stakeholders with massive patent portfolios will welcome this variation, particularly with the choice of acquiring presentation copies when warranted. Even now, we’ve shoppers who don’t need us to ahead their ribboned copies, and a few for whom we nonetheless are holding their patents till their Covid-19 working-from-home standing ends.

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