Switch to DOCX filing coming January 1

Switch to DOCX filing coming January 1

As a part of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s continuous efforts to modernize and streamline patent application systems, the agency now offers applicants the ability to file patent application documents in DOCX format through EFS-Web, Private PAIR, and Patent Center. The USPTO will transition to DOCX for all filers on January 1, 2022. Use of any other format after that date will result in a surcharge.

DOCX is a safe and stable open source format supported by many popular word processing applications, including Microsoft Word 2007 and higher, Google Docs, Office Online, LibreOffice and Pages for Mac. 

DOCX:

  • Increases efficiency by eliminating the need to convert structured text into a PDF for filing
  • Ensures higher data quality by reducing conversion errors that can occur when converting to a PDF file
  • Provides a smarter interface that detects common errors, and provides instant feedback to prevent unnecessary delays in processing your application
  • Secures privacy by providing automatic metadata detection (e.g., Author and Comments) and removal features to support the submission of only substantive information in the DOCX file
  • Improves application quality by providing content-based validations pre-submission and identifying issues up front, allowing them to be addressed before examination begins
  • Increases ease of use via automated document indexing
  • Improves compatibility by eliminating the non-embedded font error, the most common obstacle in uploading a PDF

In response to helpful feedback the USPTO received after last year’s Federal Register Notice on DOCX, office actions are available in DOCX and XML formats with further enhanced features—including the ability to use DOCX for drawings.

For more information and to view frequently asked questions, visit File patent application documents in DOCX. A schedule of free online training sessions is also available.

If you need assistance, contact the Patent Electronic Business Center at ebc@uspto.gov or 866-217-9197.

Disclaimer
Inventors Eye offers useful information, non-legal advice, and interesting stories about innovation and intellectual property (IP). Given that IP law and policy change over time, readers should consult current statutes and regulations before attempting to apply for a patent or register a trademark. These laws and the application process can be complicated. If you have IP that could be patented or registered as a trademark, the use of an attorney or agent who is qualified to represent you in the USPTO is advised.

The USPTO gives you useful information and non-legal advice in the areas of patents and trademarks. The patent and trademark statutes and regulations should be consulted before attempting to apply for a patent or register a trademark. These laws and the application process can be complicated. If you have intellectual property that could be patented or registered as a trademark, the use of an attorney or agent who is qualified to represent you in the USPTO is advised.

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