DOCX Filing Requirement to Begin for Patent Applications

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Today is the date in which new patent applications under 35 U.S.C. §111(a) (i.e., any U.S. nonprovisional application) must be filed using the .DOCX format, which is the file extension format used for Microsoft Word documents, as announced by the USPTO in a blog posting on December 19, 2022. This has been in planning for a couple years already, and the USPTO has been conducting training sessions on preparing and filing .DOCX documents on EFS-Web, the USPTO’s patent filing system. The old format of .PDF (i.e., Adobe Acrobat) will incur a $400 non-DOCX surcharge fee. Only the drawings can be filed as a .PDF document. However, due to some practitioners and applicants’s concerns about data loss or corruption, the USPTO will support the filing of auxiliary .PDF documents along with the .DOCX document until June 30, 2023. The full patent disclosure must be subdivided when filing, namely, the specification, claims, abstract, and drawings. New .DOCX templates have been provided by the USPTO here, and here.