USPTO extends backup PDF option for DOCX filers, announces new date for non-DOCX filing fee

The transition to the DOCX format for patent application filings is an important part of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO) efforts to use all available technology to strengthen patents and reduce pendency times. If you haven’t already, we encourage you to start filing in DOCX for all nonprovisional applications for utility patents, so we can streamline the process for you and improve our ability to examine your application quickly and effectively.

As we continue to work with stakeholders to ease the transition to DOCX, we are extending, until further notice, the option for applicants to upload a backup PDF version of their application with their DOCX version. We first offered this backup pdf option in April 2022. Though the USPTO has not seen any recent reports of conversion discrepancies, should applicants prefer, they can rely on the backup PDF to verify the substance of their original filing. There are no fees associated with the backup PDF, and there is no obligation to provide one.

Additionally, through a final rule published today in the Federal Register, we are delaying the effective date of the non-DOCX filing fee from June 30, 2023 to the new date of January 17, 2024. The USPTO is committed to ensuring a successful and smooth transition to the DOCX format for our patent applicants, and we are grateful for the productive feedback we have received thus far throughout this process.

You can find the full text of the final rules in the Federal Register and on the USPTO’s Patent Related Notices webpage. Please see the USPTO’s DOCX webpage for more information about filing patent application documents in DOCX.