Saturday, June 5, 2021

USPTO - Modernizing Patent Filing with DOCX?

The USPTO Director article: Modernizing Patent Filing with DOCX confirms the USPTO still plans to shift user patent filings to DOCX and charge PDF filers an extra Non-DOCX fee starting on January 1, 2022. 

In my experience, PDF has worked well aside from the embedded fonts issue. PDF has been the file format used millions of times since beginning of e-filing. Also PDF is no longer an Adobe only software offering. 

If DOCX is better as stated in the article, one might expect some user validation. Instead, nearly all the user comments to the article say DOCX is not ready! Despite many months of USPTO promotion and development it has a number of bugs, pitfalls, and no user benefit over filing of PDF documents.

I don't think the USPTO should ignore the users on this issue. Instead, it should wait until DOCX is ready so users uniformly agree it is a better way of filing, or let users choose PDF or DOCX and continue without tilting costs (i.e., no USPTO surcharge for Non-DOCX filings). Otherwise, the USPTO is penalizing users for avoiding use of substandard software.

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