The USPTO Continues to Modernize its Practices
On May 24, 2022, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) switched from issuing and mailing paper trademark registration certificates to emailing electronic copies. The digital transition is meant to streamline the trademark registration process for all involved, and the electronic certificates are authenticated with the signature of the USPTO Director and USPTO seal.
On average, the USPTO receives 100s of thousands of trademark applications annually, which in turn means that it has been mailing hundreds of thousands of paper certificates once a trademark registers. Not only does that take a lot of time and resources, but it also comes at a huge cost for the USPTO. Moreover, lawyers receiving registration certificates are required to process them, report them, and mail them to the client – unless the client requests for a firm to retain them safely.
It makes sense, because almost everything is being digitized, and COVID-19 likely hurried the process along. It especially is beneficial to many smaller law firms that don’t have ample administrative staff to assist with processing certificates, but it does come at a cost to clients that wish to obtain a print copy of the certificate. A “Presentation” or a “Certified” copy may be obtained for a small fee, whereas before, there was no charge for the official certificate.
Overall, the change is welcome, not only for efficiency-sake, but it will shorten the pendency period for a trademark application, which can be well over a year at this point. Trademark owners also will be notified directly by the USPTO when a registration issues, so good news will travel faster. File cabinets will soon be things of the past if they are not already.