Many people these days are finalizing documents in PDF format. This format is a very feature-rich environment and it might be tempting to put on all the “bells and whistles”. However, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has adopted a set of standards to restrict submitted content to what it is prepared to handle. Below are some of the USPTO standards:
Page Size- The size of the pages when printed should be either DIN size A4 (21.0 cm by 29.7 cm) or the standard 8.5 inches by 11 inches (21.6 cm by 27.9 cm). Anything larger than that will be reduced to 8.5 inches by 11 inches.
PDF Version- The PDF document version must conform to Adobe version between 1.1 and 1.6 to accommodate the USPTO reference viewer (Adobe Acrobat Reader 7.0 or higher). This requirement will be updated as newer versions are released.
Fonts- All fonts used must be embedded. This allows all characters used to travel with the document. Be sure the embedded fonts are licensed and legally embeddable.
Color Text- Use of colored text is inadvisable. Use black text only. Colored text may not convert properly and may become unreadable.
Images- All images should be scanned at a minimum resolution of 300DPI. Images should be saved in a lossless format (such as TIFF, PNG, GIF, or BMP). It is also recommended very strongly that the PDF software doesn’t downsample images, as this could reduce the image quality. No compression should be used for color or grayscale images. It is recommended that bi-tonal (black and white) images be compressed using CCITT Group IV compression.
Layers- All layers should be flattened to ensure that the whole document is available for examination. Layers marked as “invisible” will be lost during processing.
Object Content- Objects that can’t be rendered to a printed page, such as video, sound, etc., are prohibited. Three dimensional models, file attachments, multipage objects, and commenting/reviewing features are likewise prohibited. Dependencies on external files or resources to render an attached image are not permissible.
Security- Encryption and password protection are not allowed. They will not pass validation and will not be submitted. Files submitted through EFS Web are protected by the True Pass security application.
Viruses/Embedded Codes- Files containing executables, worms, viruses, or any potentially malicious content will be immediately deleted.
JobOptions- Most PDF creation tools have a tool that allows the user to set specific options for certain jobs. The JobOptions file can be set to ensure that documents for submission conform to the USPTO’s standards.
File Naming Conventions- File names may not begin with a hyphen (-) or an underscore (_), nor are brackets or commas allowed. It must begin with either a letter or number and must end with the file extension .pdf, .txt, or .zip (lower-case only). Within the filename underscores and hyphens may be used, but no other symbols are allowed. Also prohibited are the following reserved device names:
- COM (followed by the numbers 1 through 9)
- LPT (followed by the numbers 1 through 9)
No spaces are allowed in the file name, but they are allowed in your local file path. Finally, file names are limited to 100 characters, including the required file extension.