The USPTO will transition from officially issuing patents in paper form to officially issuing patents electronically, starting April 18, 2023. In addition to saving paper, the USPTO predicts the change to electronically issued patents will shorten the time from issue fee payment to grant, reducing application pendency.
The Format Of Electronically Issued Patents
The transition to electronically issued patents was initially announced in December of 2021. As explained in the February 28, 2023 Federal Register Notice, starting April 18, 2023, patents will be issued electronically under a new USPTO digital seal with the Director’s digital signature. According to the Notice, “the digital seal and electronic signature of the Director … will be in conformance with 35 U.S.C. 153, which requires that patents be issued ‘under the seal of the Patent and Trademark Office, and shall be signed by the Director or have [her or] his signature placed thereon and shall be recorded in the Patent and Trademark Office.’” Indeed, “An encrypted digital signature that may be used to validate the electronic patent document as the issued patent will be embedded within the seal.” Read more