Changes to Representation of Others Before the United States Patent and Trademark Office; Correction
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO or Office) is correcting an earlier final rule, ``Changes to the Representation of Others Before the United States Patent and Trademark Office,'' that appeared in the Federal Register on May 26, 2021 and which takes effect on June 25, 2021. This document corrects a minor error. No other changes are being made to the underlying final rule.
New Implementation Date for Patent Practitioner Registration Statement and Continuing Legal Education Certification
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO or Office) is delaying the implementation of the biennial mandatory registration statement required from registered patent practitioners and individuals granted limited recognition to practice before the USPTO in patent matters until November 1, 2024. However, beginning in the spring of 2022, registered patent practitioners and individuals granted recognition to practice before the USPTO in patent matters may voluntarily certify that they have completed six credit hours of continuing legal education (CLE) in the preceding 24 months.
Submitting Patent Applications in Structured Text Format and Reliance on the Text Version as the Source or Evidentiary Copy
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.