By: Mitch Gabanic

On December 10th, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) released its plan to modernize the way it issues patents and trademark registrations. Beginning in 2022, the USPTO plans to transition to a policy of providing official digital copies of issued patents and trademarks. The USPTO is thus shifting its granting of ribboned paper copies of issued patents and trademarks that began in 1790. If you like the paper copies, however, there is no reason to despair. For applicants still wishing to receive a physical copy of the issued patent or trademark registration with an embossed gold seal and the Director’s signature, they can pay the USPTO an additional fee of $25.

Applicants may find the issuance of digital copies advantageous for a few reasons. The digital certificate reduces costs associated with preparing and forwarding a hard copy to the applicant. Applicants will be able to easily download and print their electronically issued patents and trademarks. There are also environmental benefits because fewer physical copies and mailings mean less paper waste and pollution. Finally, the new process will result in timely patent and trademark issuance, reducing the pendency of issued applications, and increasing the effective term, by about 1-2 weeks. This streamlined approach provides applicants with quicker access to their patents or trademark certificates following issuance.

A full summary of the initiative is available here.