Method of Filing the Application
Provisional and nonprovisional patent applications (e.g., original applications, and continuing applications) may be filed in pdf format using the USPTO’s electronic filing system (EFS-Web).The USPTO’s “EFS-Web Quick Start Guide” is provided in Appendix E of Segment 3-5. EFS-Web may also be used to submit payments of most patent fees (e.g., patent application filing fees,) as well as follow-on documents (e.g., amendments, information disclosure statements (IDS), replies to Office actions and notices, evidence, petitions, and other documents filed after the filing of a patent application or request for reexamination). After a user submits documents via EFS-Web, the system will display a page that states that the USPTO has received the user’s submission. The user, generally within two hours, will receive an Electronic Acknowledgement Receipt of a successful submission received by the USPTO.See, e.g., MPEP § 502.05(I). For provisional and nonprovisional applications having the required elements to obtain a filing date, the filing date will be the date specified in the Electronic Acknowledgement Receipt.See, e.g., MPEP §502.05(III)(B).
Users of EFS-Web may be unregistered or registered. While both unregistered and registered users may file a provisional or nonprovisional patent application, unregistered users are not permitted to file most follow-on documents. A user may become a registered user by obtaining a PKI digital certificate. To obtain a PKI certificate, a user must be a registered practitioner (i.e., an attorney or agent) or an inventor, and complete the appropriate paperwork (e.g., review the PKI subscriber agreement and complete the certificate action form). However, a PKI certificate holder is permitted to designate more than one employee to use the PKI certificate under the direction and control of the holder.
General instructions on how to use EFS-Web may be found in the EFS-Web Quick Start Guide.