The USPTO is in the process of transitioning to a system that supports submitting new patent applications in structured text, specifically DOCX format. Filing in structured text allows applicants to submit their specifications, claims, and abstracts in text-based format, thereby eliminating the need for applicants to convert applications into a PDF for filing. It also provides a flexible format with no template constraints and improves data quality by supporting original formats for chemical formulas, mathematical equations, and tables.
The USPTO previously stated that for applications filed in DOCX, the authoritative document would be the accompanying PDF that the USPTO systems generate from the DOCX document. In response to public feedback, however, the USPTO now considers the DOCX document filed by the applicant to be the authoritative document. Accordingly, an applicant who files or has filed an application in DOCX may rely on that version as the source or evidentiary copy of the application to make any corrections to the documents in the application file. The USPTO will be hosting DOCX training sessions to provide more information, demonstrate how to file and retrieve DOCX files in Patent Center, EFS–Web, and PAIR, and answer any questions. Applicants can also file test submissions through Patent Center training mode to practice filing in DOCX. In addition, the USPTO will be offering listening sessions to gather feedback and suggestions to further improve DOCX features.
The Federal Register notice is available here.