Recent USPTO filing receipt delays

How long is it taking the USPTO these days to mail an official Filing Receipt?  At our firm we try to track these things pretty closely, and here is how it looks lately.  

I should mention first that for purposes of this blog article, I am looking only at recent cases filed by our office in which every factor favors a prompt filing receipt:

  • the case is e-filed, not paper-filed,
  • there are no missing parts (all fees paid, inventor declaration provided), and
  • a computer-readable Application Data Sheet is provided.

Here the typical delays in mailing of an official Filing Receipt.

Design patent applications.  We are astonished at how quickly the OPAP (Office of Patent Application Processing) is mailing Filing Receipts in design cases.  In many recent cases the Filing Receipt has shown up a mere three or four calendar days after we filed the design patent application.  I mention “calendar days” because sometimes this is three or four calendar days including a weekend.  In recent times it does not happen very often that the delay is substantially longer than the observed delay of three or four calendar days.  Kudos to the folks at OPAP who do the patent application processing for design patent applications!

Non-provisional applications.  These days a typical delay for a Filing Receipt for a 111(a) patent application is around thirteen calendar days.  This work is also carried out by OPAP.  In recent times it does not happen very often that the delay is substantially longer than the observed typical delay.

Provisional applications.  These days a typical delay for a Filing Receipt for a provisional patent application is around eighteen calendar days.  In recent times it does not happen very often that the delay is substantially longer than the observed typical delay.  This work is also carried out by OPAP.  It’s a bit of a surprise that these would take longer than non-provisional applications, given that there is no need to check for an inventor declaration or the presence of a claim, and no need to count the claims, and no need to check for presence of a multiple dependent claim.

National phase entries from PCT applications.  This work is carried out by DO/EO/US rather than by OPAP.  It’s a bit of a disappointment that these are taking so much longer than other applications for a Filing Receipt to get mailed.  These days a typical delay from the DO/EO/US office is about thirty-three days but it is not uncommon to have to wait two or three months for a Filing Receipt.  This is still better than the delays of a year or more that we sometimes saw in past years from DO/EO/US.  But it would be very helpful if DO/EO/US could reduce its backlog to be more like that of OPAP, and if DO/EO/US could more consistently do its work promptly rather than having so many cases take much longer than others.

It seems quite clear that USPTO maintains separate workflow queues for these different types of patent applications.

Why do we care how long it takes to get a Filing Receipt?  There are several reasons. As a first example, if we are doing a filing based upon instructions from a foreign patent firm, we will typically wait to bill the foreign firm only after we are pretty sure we have done all of the work (and paid all of the fees), so that a single bill to the foreign firm will contain all charges.  If USPTO is going to find some real or imagined deficiency in the papers or fees that we sent to the USPTO, we would like to know about it promptly so that we can address the real or imagined deficiency before mailing that single bill to the foreign firm.

As a second example, a USPTO person will sometimes find a real or imagined flaw in a signed inventor declaration.  Most often the imagined flaw is illusory — for example the Declaration lists the family name first and given name second because the inventor is Asian, and the USPTO person says this fails to match the Application Data Sheet in which the field captions force the given name to be listed first and force the family name to be listed second.  But every now and then the USPTO person is actually correct and there is some actual problem with the Declaration.  If this happens, of course we want to know about the problem as soon as possible, so that a fresh signature can be obtained on a fresh Declaration.  Any delay in this process risks the bad news that the inventor has disappeared or has been run over by a truck.  So of course we are very glad when USPTO manages to carry out its Filing Receipt work promptly.

2 Replies to “Recent USPTO filing receipt delays”

  1. DO/EO/US will not start processing national stage applications to generate a filing receipt until the 30-month date unless box 1 “[t]his is an express request to begin national examination procedures” is checked on the form PTO-1390 national stage application transmittal letter.

    1. Thank you! Yes Randall is quite right about this.

      The DO/DO/US delays I discussed in the blog post are all cases in which we made such an express request.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *