After centuries of issuing paper patents to inventors, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office will soon transition to only electronic issuance, with patent holders able to receive a printed “ceremonial” copy to display proudly if they wish. This long-awaited transition, effective April 18, 2023, should reduce costs associated with handling, storage and shipping, and the pendency between issue fee payment and grant of the patent is expected to be substantially reduced. Patent recipients will benefit from a more cost-effective patent office and shorter pendency, but they should consider how this shortened time to grant can impact their patent rights, particularly with respect to continuing applications and the Duty of Disclosure.
The New Electronic Patent Process
Under the new issuance procedure, the USPTO will publish electronic patents via Patent Center, with each electronic patent bearing the seal and Director’s signature in digital form. The electronic patents will be available via Patent Center to the patentee as well as the public. As is the case under paper patent issuance, the electronic patents will publish on Tuesdays, and the Official Gazette will continue to publish the detailed patent information. Read more