Beginning April 18, 2023, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is shifting towards issuing paper waste-reducing electronic patent grants (eGrants) to patent recipients—a new process that delivers the official copy of patent grants in an electronic format. The USPTO will provide a bound paper version as a ceremonial copy throughout a limited transition period, and then for a nominal fee thereafter.
“By issuing eGrants, we’re making considerable strides toward more environmentally-conscious operations at the USPTO,” said Kathi Vidal, Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO. “Providing 21st century service to our stakeholders means shifting our processes to reflect 21st century policies. The eGrant process not only minimizes paper waste, but it also benefits stakeholders by reducing pendency and streamlining the process. It’s a win-win for the agency and for our customers.”
The eGrant process is expected to significantly decrease the USPTO’s printing and mailing needs, potentially reducing patent pendency and saving the agency nearly $2 million in annual printing and mailing costs. Further, under the new process, patent recipients will receive their electronic patent grant in PDF format on the day of issuance.
During the transition period, patent awardees will have access to the eGrant official copy in Patent Center and receive the bound paper version as a ceremonial copy. Patent recipients may still request USPTO certified copies and presentation copies from the USPTO’s certified copy center for an additional fee. Unlimited free copies of eGrants can also be printed from USPTO’s online Patent Center. The agency already provides electronic trademark registration certificates to trademark owners.
The USPTO expects the eGrant process to reduce the time between payment of the issue fee and patent grant. Because of this, there will be less time after the payment of the issue fee for applicants to file continuing applications, Quick Path IDSes, and petitions to withdraw an application from issue. Accordingly, these submissions should be filed as early as possible, with continuing applications preferably filed before payment of the issue fee.