UPDATE: USPTO Introduces Electronic Patent Grants

As a reminder, the transition to the electronic Letters Patent (which the USPTO will call an “eGrant”) will begin on April 18, 2023.  USPTO will continue to provide a free ceremonial paper copy of issued patents during the transition period, although the length of the transition period is not yet determined. This ceremonial paper copy will be similar to current Letters Patent since it will be bound with a similar coversheet, seal, and USPTO Director’s signature, but will indicate that it is merely a ceremonial copy of the patent and that the official patent was issued electronically.

The new eGrant will look similar to an electronic version of the Letters Patent, but have a new digital USPTO seal that will be embedded with an encrypted Director’s digital signature that may be used to validate the electronic patent document as the issued patent.

While the Letters Patent will be issued electronically, the USPTO indicates that Certificates of Correction and Reexamination Certificates will still be physically mailed at this time.

With the implementation of the eGrant, the time from payment of the Issuance Fee to the actual issuance of the patent will likely be significantly reduced, and thus there will be little time available for an Applicant to file continuing applications before the eGrant issues.  As such, it is even more important that Applicants file any continuing applications no later than the payment of the Issue Fee.  Moreover, after payment of the Issue Fee, the time to file IDSs, QPIDS, and Petitions to Withdraw from Issuance also will be greatly reduced.

If Applicants would like to still have printed copies of the issued patents, Applicants can print the eGrant (at no charge), order a presentation copy, order a certified copy, or order the ceremonial copy (which will be free during the transition period but for a fee thereafter).

February 28, 2023

On February 27, 2023, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) issued a final decision to implement the issuance of electronic Letters Patents effective April 18, 2023.

Thus, beginning April 18, formal patent grants will no longer be issued on paper but instead will be issued electronically and will be immediately available on the issue date.  The electronic patent grant will be the official statutory patent grant.  Ceremonial paper copies will be available for purchase at a nominal charge; however, no details are yet available regarding the form of the ceremonial copy or the related charge.  We will update this Notice as more details become available from the USPTO.

For more information, read the full Federal Register Notice or visit the eGrant webpage on the USPTO website, where you can find our eGrant FAQ document and additional information.