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No More USPTO Submissions in PDF

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June 22, 2021

All documents submitted to the US Patent and Trademark Office will need to be in DOCX format as of Jan. 1, 2022. PDF submissions will cost extra. According to the USPTO, it decided to make the change years ago to streamline the examination process. DOCX, created and used by Microsoft, is supported by LibreOffice, OpenOffice, Google Docs, and others. Microsoft says it won’t sue over licensing and patents that use DOCX. The XML nature of the format makes it easier for the patent office’s internal systems to extract and process text, tables, graphs, and schematics. Attempts to use a non-DOCX formatted file will incur a “surcharge fee” on top of the cost applicants usually pay to file. The size of the business or organization filling out the forms will determine the fee. It will cost $400 for large entities, and $200, and $100 for small and micro ones. The USPTO will host training sessions to show people how to prepare, send, and handle DOCX files with its systems. According to a press release, the office “looks forward to continuing our engagement with the public on the DOCX transition so we can better serve America’s innovation community.”

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