USPTO Announces that Electronic Issuance of U.S. Patents will begin on April 18, 2023
Further to our communications of December 10, 2021 and December 15, 2021, regarding the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO)’s transition to electronic issuance of U.S. patents and U.S. trademark registration certificates, the USPTO has now issued a Final Rule in the Federal Register to implement electronic patent issuance effective April 18, 2023.
According to the USPTO, all U.S. utility, design, plant, and reissue patents will be issued electronically beginning on April 18, 2023. The so-called “eGrant” will be the official copy of the granted patent. Prior to April 18th, the USPTO will still mail an official paper ribbon copy of each issued U.S. patent. The USPTO will also provide a “ceremonial paper copy” of issued patents during the transition period at no additional cost to the patentee. This ceremonial paper copy will be reminiscent of the previous paper ribbon copy, bound with a coversheet, official seal, and signature of the USPTO Director, but it will indicate that it is merely a ceremonial copy of the a patent that is instead officially issued electronically. However, the USPTO indicates that Certificates of Correction and Reexamination Certificates will not be electronically issued at this time.
Importantly, the USPTO confirmed that the window of time between the mailing of the Issue Notification and the actual issuance of the eGrant may be reduced, in turn reducing the amount of time that is available for an Applicant to file a continuing application before the patent grants. To ensure copendency, the USPTO advises that Applicants file any continuing applications before payment of the issue fee in the parent application.
More information is available on the USPTO’s eGrants web page at: https://www.uspto.gov/patents/apply/patent-center/egrants and in the USPTO’s eGrants FAQ at: https://www.uspto.gov/sites/default/files/documents/egrant-faqs.pdf
A copy of the Federal Register Notice is available at: https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2023-02-28/pdf/2023-03809.pdf