USPTO Announces a Proposed Rule to Implement Electronic Patent Issuance

On December 15, the USPTO issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to revise the rules of practice to issue patents electronically through its patent document viewing systems (i.e., Patent Center and Patent Application Image Retrieval (PAIR)).

The proposal is that formal ribbon copies of issued patents would no longer be mailed in physical paper form to the correspondence address of record; instead, formal ribbon copies would be made available in electronic form to the patentee and the public through the USPTO’s electronic systems.  This new process would result in electronic patent issuance about two weeks sooner than under the current process of issuing printed patents.

This is a proposed rulemaking, and so no changes would be expected before at least mid-2022.  The full text of the notice is available in the Federal Register.