Good News. In the U.S., patents will soon be granted electronically starting April 18, 2023. The patent grants, which will be known as “eGrants”, will be available in PDF format on the day of issuance to applicants as well as the public, from the USPTO’s online Patent Center. The eGrant will be the official statutory patent grant. All patent types; utility, design and plant, will issue as eGrants. Other documents such as certificates of correction or reexamination certificates will not issue electronically. During a limited transitional period (unspecified), the USPTO will provide a bound paper version as a ceremonial copy, free of charge, to applicant and, thereafter, upon request and for a nominal fee (unspecified).
Important to keep in mind is that after April 18, 2023, the window of time between the mailing of the Issue Notification and the issuing of the eGrant may be reduced which would affect the ability to file a continuation application. Thus, it is now even more important to file a continuation application before the payment of the issue fee to ensure copendency. Much like now, eGrants will only have a day of issuance, not an hour and minute time stamp, for meeting copendency requirements.
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