The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) published a final rule in the Federal Register on August 3, 2020 that includes a fee for patent applications that are not filed in DOCX format, except for design, plant, or provisional applications. This new fee was scheduled to become effective on January 1, 2023. Through this final rule, the USPTO is delaying the effective date of this fee until April 3, 2023. The USPTO has held and continues to hold many discussions with stakeholders to ensure a fair and reasonable transition to the DOCX format.
This final rule is effective December 29, 2022. The change to 37 CFR 1.16(u) in amendatory instruction 2.i., published at 85 FR 46932 on August 3, 2020, is applicable only to nonprovisional utility applications filed under 35 U.S.C. 111 on or after April 3, 2023.