The following is an edited transcript of my video Trademarks in the Cloud.

The USPTO recently phased out issuing trademark registration certificates on paper to all registrants automatically, and are instead issuing them electronically.  When I launched the firm in December of 1999, the first applications I filed were on paper, and this provides me the opportunity now to look both forward and backward on this topic.

Not only were applications printed and typed out on paper, but I would actually take the paper copies to the USPTO and hand them the paper copies at the filing window to get a stamped copy back. Now, for many years, everything has been filed electronically, and the last remaining element of the application process that was tangible on paper was the registration certificate. I love my registration certifi9cates. In fact, for the more than a dozen registrations that I’ve received on behalf of myself and the firm, I’ve framed them, because they’re beautiful and they show an investment in the brand.

The USPTO has phased out automatically sending the paper certificates, but there’s no loss in protection and no change in substance to trademark owners. If you don’t have the paper certificate, you still have a registration and a registration number, and you can actually pull up the PDF certificate relatively easily through the USPTO’s TSDR system. But this last element moving to the cloud still is a change. Everything else about trademarks—from monitoring to searching to filing—all takes place in the cloud, and now we can really say that it’s a 100% cloud-based system.

If or when you receive a trademark registration now, you can pay a small fee to receive a paper copy from the USPTO. I think that’s a great idea. Frame it, show off to your customers and employees how much effort, thought and time you’ve put into protecting your brand.

I think this is a good development; I I hope it saves the USPTO some money, and I hope it speeds up the registration process.


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