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Friday Nov 18, 2011

Final Provision in Group 1 Becomes Effective

From: Janet Gongola, Patent Reform Coordinator

On November 15, 2011, the agency implemented the last provision required to go into effective within the first 60 days after enactment—the electronic filing incentive.  This provision imposes an additional $400 fee on original (non-reissue) patent applications filed in paper form, thereby incentivizing the electronic filing of these applications.  The $400 fee is reduced by 50% for small entities.  The fee does not apply to provisional, design, and plant patent applications. 

The agency initially noticed the electronic filing incentive in a Federal Register Notice published on September 23, 2011.  This first Notice introduced the concept of the electronic filing incentive and identified its effective date.  On the effective date of November 15, 2011, the agency published a second Federal Register Notice specifying exactly which rules changed to account for the non-electronic filing fee.  Both Notices are available here on our micro-site on the Implementation Information/Fee and Budgetary Issues page.

Electronic filing of patent applications helps patent examiners by avoiding extra processing steps that must be taken to convert a paper-filed patent application into an electronic filing.  Electronic filing also avoids inadvertent errors that may be introduced into the paper-to-electronic conversion process.  As a result of these benefits, examiners are able to issue Office Actions faster and maintain a quality review.  Similar benefits accrue with the electronic filing of all documents with the USPTO.

To learn about how to file a patent application electronically via EFS-Web, here is the link to the Electronic Filing Guide:  http://www.uspto.gov/ebc/portal/efs/quick-start.pdf.  I also encourage you to become a registered user of EFS-Web; there is no cost to register.  Lastly, as a reminder, a complete patent application must include a specification with at least one claim and any necessary drawings.

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