USPTO rule makes electronic filing mandatory for trademark submissions

Does this new rule apply to me?

Yes, with limited exceptions, it will apply to everyone conducting business with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) regarding a trademark matter.

Trademark applicants and registrants will be required to:

  • File their trademark applications and documents concerning trademark applications and registrations online using the USPTO's Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS).
  • Provide and maintain an accurate email address for receiving correspondence from the USPTO about their particular application or registration.
  • Provide and maintain an accurate postal address to ensure that the USPTO can contact them if their email correspondence address doesn't work.

See the final rule.

When does this new rule apply to me?

This new rule becomes effective on December 21, 2019.

What are the goals of this new rule?

Our goal is to have end-to-end electronic processing of applications and registrations, which will result in faster processing times and fewer errors. You will submit your application or maintenance documents through TEAS, any submission related to your application or registration will be filed through TEAS, and any USPTO correspondence regarding your application or registration will be sent to you by email.

With limited exceptions, paper and fax submissions will no longer be accepted. Email submissions will continue to not be accepted. (Only informal communication regarding your application or registration can be done by email.)

Will requirements for acceptable specimens be affected by this new rule?

Yes, the specimen rule changes will involve:

  • Updating Rule 2.56 to incorporate statutory and case law requirements for specimens and to reflect electronic filing realities
  • Requiring the URL and the access or print date of all webpage specimens for goods or services
  • Requiring label and tag specimens to be shown attached to your goods or their packaging to be accepted as specimens for goods.

Why is this rule being put in place?

Paper submissions hinder efficiency and accuracy and are more costly than electronic submissions because they require manual processing. Electronic submissions generally do not. By preparing and submitting an application or related document through TEAS, your document is more likely to be legally complete and take less time than preparing and mailing a paper version.

By using TEAS, your submission is processed faster, data-entry errors decrease, and the risk of lost or missing papers is eliminated.

Questions?

Email TMpolicy@uspto.gov with any questions.