Submitting Patent Applications in Structured Text Format and Reliance on the Text Version as the Source or Evidentiary Copy, 29571-29572 [2021-11256]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 104 / Wednesday, June 2, 2021 / Notices and the NTIA website, https:// www.ntia.gov/, without change. All personal identifying information (for example, name, address) voluntarily submitted by the commenter may be publicly accessible. Do not submit confidential business information or otherwise sensitive or protected information. Dated: May 27, 2021. Kathy D. Smith, Chief Counsel, National Telecommunications and Information Administration. [FR Doc. 2021–11592 Filed 6–1–21; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–60–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE Patent and Trademark Office [Docket No.: PTO–P–2021–0010] Submitting Patent Applications in Structured Text Format and Reliance on the Text Version as the Source or Evidentiary Copy United States Patent and Trademark Office, Department of Commerce. ACTION: Notice. AGENCY: The United States Patent and Trademark Office (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 jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with NOTICES SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:49 Jun 01, 2021 Jkt 253001 also file test submissions through Patent Center training mode to practice filing in DOCX. In addition, we will be offering listening sessions to gather feedback and suggestions to further improve DOCX features. DATES: Effective date: June 2, 2021. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mark O. Polutta, Senior Legal Advisor, 571–272–7709, or Eugenia A. Jones, Senior Legal Advisor, 571–272–7727, of the Office of Patent Legal Administration, Office of the Deputy Commissioner for Patents. For technical questions related to submitting documents in DOCX format, please contact the Patent Electronic Business Center (EBC) at 1–866–217– 9197 (toll-free), 571–272–4100 (local), or ebc@uspto.gov. The EBC is open from 6 a.m. to midnight, ET, Monday through Friday. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The USPTO is in the process of transitioning to a system that supports submitting new patent applications in structured text, specifically DOCX format. Application documents submitted in DOCX format will facilitate the examination and publication processes. This notice provides information on structured text filing. Specifically, the USPTO now considers the DOCX documents filed by applicants to be the authoritative document, otherwise referred to as the source or evidentiary copy of the application, for purposes of determining the content of the application as originally filed, should a discrepancy be discovered. This notice does not require patent applicants to make any changes to their practices. Currently, applicants may electronically file an application either by submitting PDF files or by submitting DOCX files. If an applicant submits DOCX files, the USPTO uses the DOCX files to generate PDF files prior to the actual filing of the application. The USPTO published a final rule on setting and adjusting patent fees on August 3, 2020. See Setting and Adjusting Patent Fees During Fiscal Year 2020, 85 FR 46932 (Aug. 3, 2020). In addition to establishing a fee for applications not submitted in a DOCX format, the response to comment 54 in the final rule stated that for applications filed in DOCX, the authoritative document will be the accompanying PDF that the USPTO systems generate from the DOCX document. See id. at 46957. In response to public feedback, the USPTO has changed what will be the authoritative document. The USPTO is informing applicants that it now considers the DOCX documents filed by applicants to be the authoritative PO 00000 Frm 00026 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 29571 document, otherwise referred to as the source or evidentiary copy of the application. This change applies to all patent documents submitted in DOCX format, including DOCX submissions made prior to this notice. The source or evidentiary copy of the application is the version submitted to the USPTO by the applicant in one of the following formats: Paper, DOCX, or PDF when not accompanied by a DOCX version of the same. Applicants should not submit PDF versions they created when filing an application in DOCX, as they are unnecessary. If the applicant submits documents in DOCX along with PDF versions they created (not the autogenerated PDFs created by the USPTO), then the DOCX version will still be considered the source or evidentiary copy, and the applicant will be required to pay the non-DOCX surcharge fee. Applicants can rely on the DOCX version as the source or evidentiary copy in order to make any corrections to the record when any discrepancies are identified between the source or evidentiary copy and the documents as converted by the USPTO. Accordingly, during the filing process, applicants will be advised to review the DOCX files before submission rather than reviewing the USPTO-generated PDF version, as set forth in the August 3, 2020, final rule. However, applicants are advised to check the USPTO-generated versions as soon as practicable for any discrepancies or errors. Any discrepancies or errors that occur as a result of filing an application in DOCX format should be promptly brought to the attention of the USPTO. Applicants should initially contact the Patent EBC for investigation at 1–866–217–9197 (toll-free), 571–272–4100 (local), or ebc@uspto.gov. Depending on the situation, applicants may need to file a petition under 37 CFR 1.181 in order to have the issue reviewed and addressed. This is consistent with current USPTO procedures for documents filed in patent applications. In this regard, the USPTO has a records retention schedule for documents it receives, including new patent applications and correspondence filed in patent applications. For example, applications filed in paper via mail or hand-delivery are scanned into the image file wrapper (IFW) or the Supplemental Complex Repository for Examiners (SCORE), as appropriate. In 2011, the USPTO established a one-year retention policy for patent-related papers scanned into the IFW or SCORE. See Establishment of a One-Year Retention Period for Patent-Related Papers That Have Been Scanned Into the E:\FR\FM\02JNN1.SGM 02JNN1 jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with NOTICES 29572 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 104 / Wednesday, June 2, 2021 / Notices Image File Wrapper System or the Supplemental Complex Repository for Examiners, 77 FR 3745 (Jan. 25, 2012). After the expiration of the one-year period, the USPTO disposes of the paper unless the applicant, patent owner, or reexamination party timely files a bona fide request to correct the electronic record of the paper in IFW or SCORE. DOCX submissions will be treated similarly. Therefore, the procedure to correct any discrepancies or errors that occur as a result of filing an application in DOCX format will align with the established procedure for an applicant, patent owner, or reexamination party to request corrections to the electronic record when there is an error caused by the USPTO in scanning papers into the IFW. Applicants should promptly review the electronic record of an application and file any request to correct the electronic record based on the source or evidentiary copy as soon as possible after the document has been submitted to the USPTO. Applicants should not expect to have a request to correct the electronic record granted if the request is based on the source or evidentiary copy and it is filed more than one year after submission of the document. Documents submitted by applicants in PDF or DOCX in patent applications will be treated in a similar manner to papers that have been scanned into the IFW in that they may be disposed of after a period of time if they are the source or evidentiary copy. The USPTO’s procedures regarding national security classified documents are unaffected by this notice. National security classified documents must be filed in the USPTO in paper format via hand-delivery to Licensing and Review or by mail in compliance with 37 CFR 5.1(a) and Executive Order 13526 of December 29, 2009, or in electronic format via the Department of Defense Secret internet Protocol Router Network (SIPRNET). See section 115 of the Manual of Patent Examining Procedure (MPEP, Ninth Edition, Revision 10.2019). National security classified documents filed electronically via SIPRNET are maintained at the USPTO in paper form; an electronic record of such documents is not maintained. Thus, all national security classified documents filed with the USPTO are maintained only in paper form, and the paper copies of these documents are the source or evidentiary copies. Andrew Hirshfeld, Commissioner for Patents, Performing the Functions and Duties of the Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office. [FR Doc. 2021–11256 Filed 6–1–21; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–16–P DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Docket No. RP21–838–000] Occidental Permian Ltd., OXY USA WTP LP v. El Paso Natural Gas Company, LLC; Notice of Complaint Take notice that on May 24, 2021, pursuant to Section 5 of the Natural Gas Act 1 and Rule 206 of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (Commission) Rules of Practice and Procedure, 18 CFR 385.206 (2021), Occidental Permian Ltd. and OXY USA WTP LP (Complainants) filed a formal complaint against El Paso Natural Gas Company, LLC (Respondent), alleging that the Respondent’s failure to waive and imposition of Critical Operating Condition charges and penalties for the period February 15, 2021 through February 17, 2021 is unjust and unreasonable, unreasonably punitive, and inconsistent with Commission policy and precedent, all as more fully explained in its complaint. The Complainants certify that copies of the complaint were served on the contacts listed for Respondent in the Commission’s list of Corporate Officials. Any person desiring to intervene or to protest this filing must file in accordance with Rules 211 and 214 of the Commission’s Rules of Practice and Procedure (18 CFR 385.211, 385.214). Protests will be considered by the Commission in determining the appropriate action to be taken, but will not serve to make protestants parties to the proceeding. Any person wishing to become a party must file a notice of intervention or motion to intervene, as appropriate. The Respondent’s answer and all interventions, or protests must be filed on or before the comment date. The Respondent’s answer, motions to intervene, and protests must be served on the Complainant. The Commission strongly encourages electronic filings of comments, protests and interventions in lieu of paper using 1 15 VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:49 Jun 01, 2021 Jkt 253001 PO 00000 U.S.C. 717d. Frm 00027 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 the ‘‘eFiling’’ link at http:// www.ferc.gov. Persons unable to file electronically may mail similar pleadings to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20426. Hand delivered submissions in docketed proceedings should be delivered to Health and Human Services, 12225 Wilkins Avenue, Rockville, Maryland 20852. In addition to publishing the full text of this document in the Federal Register, the Commission provides all interested persons an opportunity to view and/or print the contents of this document via the internet through the Commission’s Home Page (http:// www.ferc.gov) using the ‘‘eLibrary’’ link. Enter the docket number excluding the last three digits in the docket number field to access the document. At this time, the Commission has suspended access to the Commission’s Public Reference Room, due to the proclamation declaring a National Emergency concerning the Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID–19), issued by the President on March 13, 2020. For assistance, contact the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission at FERCOnlineSupport@ferc.gov, or call toll-free, (886) 208–3676 or TYY, (202) 502–8659. Comment Date: 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time on June 14, 2021. Dated: May 26, 2021. Debbie-Anne A. Reese, Deputy Secretary. [FR Doc. 2021–11577 Filed 6–1–21; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717–01–P DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Combined Notice of Filings Take notice that the Commission has received the following Natural Gas Pipeline Rate and Refund Report filings: Docket Number: PR21–47–000. Applicants: Columbia Gas of Maryland, Inc. Description: Tariff filing per 284.123(b), (e)/: CMD Rates Effective May 1 2021 to be effective 5/1/2021. Filed Date: 5/24/2021. Accession Number: 202105245095. Comments/Protests Due: 5 p.m. ET 6/ 14/2021. Docket Number: PR21–48–000. Applicants: Columbia Gas of Ohio, Inc. Description: Tariff filing per 284.123(b), (e)/: COH Rates Effective April 29 2021 to be effective 4/29/2021. E:\FR\FM\02JNN1.SGM 02JNN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 86, Number 104 (Wednesday, June 2, 2021)]
[Notices]
[Pages 29571-29572]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2021-11256]


-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

Patent and Trademark Office

[Docket No.: PTO-P-2021-0010]


Submitting Patent Applications in Structured Text Format and 
Reliance on the Text Version as the Source or Evidentiary Copy

AGENCY: United States Patent and Trademark Office, Department of 
Commerce.

ACTION: Notice.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The United States Patent and Trademark Office (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, we will be offering listening 
sessions to gather feedback and suggestions to further improve DOCX 
features.

DATES: Effective date: June 2, 2021.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mark O. Polutta, Senior Legal Advisor, 
571-272-7709, or Eugenia A. Jones, Senior Legal Advisor, 571-272-7727, 
of the Office of Patent Legal Administration, Office of the Deputy 
Commissioner for Patents.
    For technical questions related to submitting documents in DOCX 
format, please contact the Patent Electronic Business Center (EBC) at 
1-866-217-9197 (toll-free), 571-272-4100 (local), or [email protected]. The 
EBC is open from 6 a.m. to midnight, ET, Monday through Friday.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The USPTO is in the process of transitioning 
to a system that supports submitting new patent applications in 
structured text, specifically DOCX format. Application documents 
submitted in DOCX format will facilitate the examination and 
publication processes. This notice provides information on structured 
text filing. Specifically, the USPTO now considers the DOCX documents 
filed by applicants to be the authoritative document, otherwise 
referred to as the source or evidentiary copy of the application, for 
purposes of determining the content of the application as originally 
filed, should a discrepancy be discovered. This notice does not require 
patent applicants to make any changes to their practices.
    Currently, applicants may electronically file an application either 
by submitting PDF files or by submitting DOCX files. If an applicant 
submits DOCX files, the USPTO uses the DOCX files to generate PDF files 
prior to the actual filing of the application. The USPTO published a 
final rule on setting and adjusting patent fees on August 3, 2020. See 
Setting and Adjusting Patent Fees During Fiscal Year 2020, 85 FR 46932 
(Aug. 3, 2020). In addition to establishing a fee for applications not 
submitted in a DOCX format, the response to comment 54 in the final 
rule stated that for applications filed in DOCX, the authoritative 
document will be the accompanying PDF that the USPTO systems generate 
from the DOCX document. See id. at 46957.
    In response to public feedback, the USPTO has changed what will be 
the authoritative document. The USPTO is informing applicants that it 
now considers the DOCX documents filed by applicants to be the 
authoritative document, otherwise referred to as the source or 
evidentiary copy of the application. This change applies to all patent 
documents submitted in DOCX format, including DOCX submissions made 
prior to this notice.
    The source or evidentiary copy of the application is the version 
submitted to the USPTO by the applicant in one of the following 
formats: Paper, DOCX, or PDF when not accompanied by a DOCX version of 
the same. Applicants should not submit PDF versions they created when 
filing an application in DOCX, as they are unnecessary. If the 
applicant submits documents in DOCX along with PDF versions they 
created (not the auto-generated PDFs created by the USPTO), then the 
DOCX version will still be considered the source or evidentiary copy, 
and the applicant will be required to pay the non-DOCX surcharge fee.
    Applicants can rely on the DOCX version as the source or 
evidentiary copy in order to make any corrections to the record when 
any discrepancies are identified between the source or evidentiary copy 
and the documents as converted by the USPTO. Accordingly, during the 
filing process, applicants will be advised to review the DOCX files 
before submission rather than reviewing the USPTO-generated PDF 
version, as set forth in the August 3, 2020, final rule.
    However, applicants are advised to check the USPTO-generated 
versions as soon as practicable for any discrepancies or errors. Any 
discrepancies or errors that occur as a result of filing an application 
in DOCX format should be promptly brought to the attention of the 
USPTO. Applicants should initially contact the Patent EBC for 
investigation at 1-866-217-9197 (toll-free), 571-272-4100 (local), or 
[email protected]. Depending on the situation, applicants may need to file 
a petition under 37 CFR 1.181 in order to have the issue reviewed and 
addressed. This is consistent with current USPTO procedures for 
documents filed in patent applications.
    In this regard, the USPTO has a records retention schedule for 
documents it receives, including new patent applications and 
correspondence filed in patent applications. For example, applications 
filed in paper via mail or hand-delivery are scanned into the image 
file wrapper (IFW) or the Supplemental Complex Repository for Examiners 
(SCORE), as appropriate. In 2011, the USPTO established a one-year 
retention policy for patent-related papers scanned into the IFW or 
SCORE. See Establishment of a One-Year Retention Period for Patent-
Related Papers That Have Been Scanned Into the

[[Page 29572]]

Image File Wrapper System or the Supplemental Complex Repository for 
Examiners, 77 FR 3745 (Jan. 25, 2012). After the expiration of the one-
year period, the USPTO disposes of the paper unless the applicant, 
patent owner, or reexamination party timely files a bona fide request 
to correct the electronic record of the paper in IFW or SCORE. DOCX 
submissions will be treated similarly. Therefore, the procedure to 
correct any discrepancies or errors that occur as a result of filing an 
application in DOCX format will align with the established procedure 
for an applicant, patent owner, or reexamination party to request 
corrections to the electronic record when there is an error caused by 
the USPTO in scanning papers into the IFW.
    Applicants should promptly review the electronic record of an 
application and file any request to correct the electronic record based 
on the source or evidentiary copy as soon as possible after the 
document has been submitted to the USPTO. Applicants should not expect 
to have a request to correct the electronic record granted if the 
request is based on the source or evidentiary copy and it is filed more 
than one year after submission of the document. Documents submitted by 
applicants in PDF or DOCX in patent applications will be treated in a 
similar manner to papers that have been scanned into the IFW in that 
they may be disposed of after a period of time if they are the source 
or evidentiary copy.
    The USPTO's procedures regarding national security classified 
documents are unaffected by this notice. National security classified 
documents must be filed in the USPTO in paper format via hand-delivery 
to Licensing and Review or by mail in compliance with 37 CFR 5.1(a) and 
Executive Order 13526 of December 29, 2009, or in electronic format via 
the Department of Defense Secret internet Protocol Router Network 
(SIPRNET). See section 115 of the Manual of Patent Examining Procedure 
(MPEP, Ninth Edition, Revision 10.2019). National security classified 
documents filed electronically via SIPRNET are maintained at the USPTO 
in paper form; an electronic record of such documents is not 
maintained. Thus, all national security classified documents filed with 
the USPTO are maintained only in paper form, and the paper copies of 
these documents are the source or evidentiary copies.

Andrew Hirshfeld,
Commissioner for Patents, Performing the Functions and Duties of the 
Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of 
the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
[FR Doc. 2021-11256 Filed 6-1-21; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-16-P