Reminder: USPTO taking next step in move to DOCX tomorrow

On January 17, those filing new, non-provisional utility patent applications in non-DOCX filing formats will incur a surcharge

At the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), as part of our continuous efforts to modernize our patent application systems to improve user experience, provide applicants a more streamlined process, harmonize across country borders, and strengthen our ability to examine applications quickly and effectively, we are taking the next step to further transition to the filing of patent application-related documents in DOCX format through Patent Center. 

Patent Center makes it easy for all users to file the specification, claims, abstract, and drawings in DOCX format and provides pre-prosecution checks that improve the robustness and reliability of patents. We have worked carefully with stakeholders to shape both the transition to DOCX as well as the timing. 

Beginning at 12:01 a.m. ET on January 17, those filing new, non-provisional utility patent applications with specification, claims, and abstract in non-DOCX filing formats will incur a surcharge. As previously noted, the option for applicants to provide a backup PDF, or auxiliary PDF, version of their application with their DOCX version remains available. There are no fees associated with providing the backup PDF. 

We are committed to ensuring a successful and smooth transition to the DOCX format for our patent applicants, and invite you to utilize the resources on the DOCX information page on the USPTO website. Additionally, we have a video explaining “How to file your patent application documents in DOCX” available, as well as free, upcoming training webinars

For questions or assistance regarding DOCX filing, please contact the Patent Electronic Business Center at or 866-217-9197, Monday through Friday, 6 a.m. to midnight ET.