The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) recently announced that it will transition to the electronic issuance of patents and trademark registrations in 2022. Such “digital certificates” have been the norm in many foreign countries for years.

Currently, the USPTO delivers or mails a printed patent to the correspondence address of record upon issuance. By switching to digital, physical delivery will be replaced by issuance via the USPTO’s patent document viewing systems. Patentees would be able to download and print their electronically issued patents. According to the USPTO, this change will expedite the process of patent issuance to within one week of the patent number being assigned.

With respect to trademarks, the USPTO anticipates that the transition to digital delivery will begin later in 2022. Electronically-issued certificates are expected to speed the registration process by at least two weeks.

For those who prefer an official certificate, however, the USPTO will continue to print them upon request for $25 per copy.