The USPTO has announced a further delay of the fee for patent applications that are not filed in DOCX format. Originally set to take effect January 1, 2022, and then delayed to January 1, 2023, the USPTO now has delayed the effective date to April 3, 2023. This means applicants and legal teams returning from winter holiday vacations won’t be forced to file utility patent applications in DOCX format or pay an additional $400 (large entity), but will have a few more months to get comfortable with the DOCX filing and validation process.
As set forth in the Federal Register Notice, applicants are “strongly encouraged” to begin filing patent applications in DOCX format now, before the new fee takes effect. The USPTO has offered and continues to offer DOCX training sessions and other resources.