The United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) is scheduled to institute two new procedures in January 2024 in their mission to streamline the patent process, to increase efficiency, and to reduce the carbon footprint by reducing shipping and paper usage.

  • The USPTO is planning to go live on January 17, 2024 with the implementation of the mandatory filing of the Specification, Claims, and Abstract of non-provisional 111(a) applications in DOCX format. DOCX is a word processing file format based on open standards.  Applications can be supported with an auxiliary pdf filing until further notice. If a new non-provisional 111(a) application is not filed in DOCX format, it will incur a $400 surcharge for Large Entities ($200 surcharge for Small Entities).   The USPTO has indicated that they plan to add the DOCX requirement for other application types and Office Actions in the future.
  • The USPTO is planning to institute as of January 30, 2024, that Certificates of Correction for patents will only be issued electronically.   The Certificates of Correction will be available immediately upon issuance.