USPTO Transitioning To Electronically Granted Patents


Written by:
Sheehan Phinney’s Intellectual Property Group
April 12, 2023

On April 18, 2023, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) will begin issuing official patents in electronic form in lieu of the traditional method of printing issued patents on paper. As the USPTO explained in its February 28, 2023 notification of this rule change, the change is being implemented “to reduce pendency of patent applications, foster a green economy by reducing paper waste, and permit complete issued patents to be viewable and printable by both the applicants as well as the public immediately upon issuance in Patent Center, the USPTO’s electronic patent application filing and management system.”

The change is expected to shorten the time window between issue fee payment and patent issuance considerably. Traditionally, this time window has been at least several weeks. After April 18, 2023, however, it is expected to be significantly shorter. In this regard, the USPTO cautions that “. . . applicants will have less time, after the payment of the issue fee, to file continuing applications, Quick Path Information Disclosure Statements, or petitions under 37 CFR 1.313(c) to withdraw an application from issue. Therefore, the best practice would be for applicants to file these submissions as early as possible. Preferably, continuing applications should be filed before the payment of the issue fee.”

Sheehan Phinney has updated its reporting protocols, docketing, and other internal processes to align with these changes and recommended best practices, so as to make this transition as simple and seamless as possible for all our clients.  Please contact us if you any questions.