Intellectual Property Law

USPTO Announces a Proposed Rule to Implement Electronic Patent Issuance

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The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to revise the rules of practice to issue patents electronically through its patent document viewing systems (i.e., Patent Center and Patent Application Image Retrieval (PAIR)). Issued patents would no longer be mailed to the correspondence address of record and would be available to the patentee and the public in electronic form weeks sooner.

The proposed changes represent another step the USPTO has taken to implement beginning-to-end electronic processing for patent applications and to streamline its service delivery processes. Previous efforts include the eOffice Action, the Image File Wrapper system, Public/Private PAIR, and Patent Center, among others. This new process would result in electronic patent issuance under the USPTO seal and with the Director’s signature within one week, after the patent number is assigned, reducing the pendency of every issued patent application by approximately two weeks.

The full text of the notice is available at the Federal Register and on the USPTO’s Patent Related Notices webpage. Comments on the NPRM must be submitted through the Federal eRulemaking Portal by February 14, 2022, to ensure consideration.

For more information, read the recent blog by Drew Hirshfeld, performing the Functions and Duties of the Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO.

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