Ask the Commish


Bob Stoll, Commissioner for Patents

Q. Why does it take just as long to get a first office action when you file for a patent electronically as it does when you file the old fashioned paper way? It seems electronic filing would speed up the process.

A: Once cases have been assigned to an examiner, they are acted upon based on their filing date, whether filed in paper or electronically.

While it may seem to take just as long to get a first office action, many potential pitfalls and unnecessary delays are avoided by using our electronic filing system or EFS-Web.

EFS-Web filed applications do not have to be converted from paper into electronic form by the Office, lessening the chance that any submitted papers end up illegible or misplaced.

This eliminates delays and potential nuisances in the initial processing of applications and gets the application to the examiner’s docket more quickly.

Filing applications via EFS-Web provides numerous other benefits.

You forgo printing, postage, courier costs, and you receive immediate notification that your submission has been received.

Unlike paper filings, most new applications submitted electronically can be viewed within an hour after filing.

Filing electronically via EFS-Web also provides an additional 50% reduction in the basic filing fee for small entities. As a result of the numerous advantages offered by EFS-Web, today 93% of new applications are filed electronically.

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