What Is Electronic Patent Filing?

Electronic patent filing is the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s simplified the method for submitting a design patent. Electronic filing is quicker and less expensive than submitting a paper application. If you plan to file electronically, you should save your drawings as a PDF (or a set of PDFs).

Filing an Electronic Patent

  1. Visit the EFS website and select "eFile Unregistered" beneath Patent Digital Submitting. (This is if you are not already a registered e-filer with the USPTO.)
  2. On the next display screen, submit your first and last name and select “New Patent.”
  3. Select Design.
  4. Select Nonprovisional Application.
  5. On the next display screen, add the title of your design and your contact information.
  6. The next display screen is where you will import your PDFs. Underneath “Document Description,” select the corresponding option from the drop-down menu.
  7. Once you've finished adding your PDFs, click on “Upload and Validate” on the bottom of the display screen.
  8. The next display screen should state that your records data have "Uploaded” and have been "Validated." If not, you'll be given directions on how to handle any issues.
  9. Select the fees for which you'll be paying. It’s best to pay for all fees at this time. Click on “Calculate” and then click “Proceed.”
  10. On the next display screen, you'll be asked to submit your application. You will then be taken to a website to pay by bankcard. The USPTO will not start reviewing your application until your fees are paid. You will receive a digital receipt and proof of submission.

At this point, you must have written your patent application and have separate PDFs saved that you can submit to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). You should plan your timing well in this area. If you file too early, you will prematurely begin your one-year time interval.  In the event you file too late, you might lose some patent rights.

Provisional Patent Warning

Your provisional patent will expire after 12 months. If you wish to hold your patent protection after that time, set a reminder for about 10 months after you file to re-file a brand new provisional patent or to file a non-provisional patent.

Submitted Drawing Rules

The Guidelines for submitted patent drawings can be found in Section 608.02 of the MPEP, which is the main reference that should be used when preparing patent drawings. If you intend to submit color drawings with your application you will need to file a petition that outlines why color drawings are critical to understanding your specific concept or idea.

Like color drawings, black and white images are usually not permitted in utility patent applications. The USPTO will settle for black and white images, nevertheless, when the invention cannot be illustrated in ink. General examples include images of cell cultures and crystalline buildings.

If you need help filing an electronic patent, you can post your legal need (or post your job) on UpCounsel’s marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google and Stripe.