Collaborative Search Pilot

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I am told that not very many applicants make use of the two Collaborative Search Pilot (CSP) programs at the USPTO.  Each of the programs offers a fast-track way to get a strong patent.  The more I think about CSP, the more I wonder why the programs get such little use.  In this blog article I will describe the programs and I will offer my thoughts as to how an applicant might go about deciding whether or not to make use of the programs. Finally I will mention the actual numbers of times the two CSP programs have gotten used by applicants. Continue reading “Collaborative Search Pilot”

Drawings that are good enough and then not good enough

Every month or so, in recent years, we receive from the USPTO a Notice to File Corrected Application Papers (NTFCAP) in a recently filed patent application that says our drawings are not good enough.  What we find to be frustrating and annoying about this is that invariably the application is a continuation or a divisional of an application in which the drawings were good enough. Today I filed a request to have such a Notice withdrawn.  Here is what I wrote:  Continue reading “Drawings that are good enough and then not good enough”

2020 is a leap year

2020 is a leap year.  What got me thinking about this is a sentence that I just wrote in an email message to instructing counsel in Turkey for a US case that our firm is handling:

We now have an Office Action and it is attached. To avoid abandonment a response must be made by February 29, 2020.

Which prompts a discourse on the inadequacy of integers.  All but the most diehard blog readers are invited to skip the following. Continue reading “2020 is a leap year”

Listserv update redux

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(Update:  See a followup message here about a step that you might take to try to get the listservs working for you again.)

(See also I turned on munging.)

(Updated to describe shipment of digital multimeters.)

Readers may recall my recent blog article about woes with outbound emails from our listserv server.

Alert listserv member Diane L. Gardner of Mastermind IP Law P.C. posted this comment to that blog article:

From my IT provider:

They do not have a spf record.

And her IT provider was absolutely right.  I had not attended to setting up an SPF record on our new dedicated server.  I ought to have done that sooner.  Prompted by her posting, we added the SPF record.  Here is the record:

v=spf1 +mx +a +ip4: ~all

We have sent two of our digital multimeters to Diane — one for her and one for her IT provider.  Thanks to both of you!

We also corrected a PTR (reverse DNS lookup) record.  The PTR record is “” pointing to “”.

There’s a chance these two changes might help a little.

We already had and still have a DKIM record.  The DKIM record is “” pointing to “v=DKIM1; k=rsa; p=[public key]”.

Thanks again to the nice commenter.

If you have stopped receiving listserv postings

(Update:  See a followup message here about a step that you might take to try to get the listservs working for you again.)

(Here is an update.)

(See also “I turned on munging“.)

Oppedahl Patent Law Firm LLC sponsors a dozen listservs (email discussion communities) free of charge for the intellectual property community.   If you are a subscriber to one or more of the listservs, and if you have stopped receiving the postings, read on.

You can see many of the listservs here.  The email discussion communities sponsored free of charge by OPLF include:

On about November 17, we migrated the listservs from “shared hosting” at our hosting provider to “dedicated hosting”.   In the old system, our outbound listserv traffic was commingled with that of the many other customers of our hosting provider who were also being hosted on the particular server that was our “shared server”.  (In case it is of interest to you, our traffic came out from IP address  But starting on about November 17, our outbound listserv traffic came out all by itself, not commingled with anybody else’s traffic, from our dedicated server.  (In case it is of interest, our traffic now comes out from IP address

The volume of our outbound email traffic is no greater than before, and the nature and type of our traffic is unchanged from what it was before.  But instead of being commingled with outbound email traffic from other entities unrelated to OPLF, it now comes out from an IP address that is not the source of email from anybody other than OPLF.

And starting on about November 18, several email service providers, among them Google, have been randomly blocking lots of our email traffic. 

As best I can see, the service providers use some poorly designed AI algorithm.  The algorithm notices that email traffic is arriving from a new IP address, and the algorithm notices that multiple email messages from this new IP address have identical content, and then the algorithm in a very mindless way decides to block random messages that arrives from that IP address.  

If the decision whether or not to block randomly selected emails were made by an actual human being, things would be different.  The human being would see the multiple identical email messages being a very dry discussion of some obscure aspect of the Patent Cooperation Treaty or the Madrid Protocol or the Hague Agreement and would realize that this is not a sales pitch for a cream for dissolving skin moles or a proposal of a way to spirit ten million dollars out of a bank in Nigeria.  The human being would notice that each of the listserv messages has an “unsubscribe” link and is emitted from a “Mailman” software system that ensures that email postings only get sent to people who have actually subscribed to the listserv.

But it is clear that these decisions, at Google and at other email service providers, are being made by poorly designed algorithms that do not exercise any such judgment.  

I have attempted to contact several of the poorly behaved email service providers, including Google, but I have not been able to reach an actual human being at any of them.  And I have not gotten any of them to pay any attention to this problem.

As far as I can see, the only chance of straightening this out is for you, the paying customer of the email service provider, to instruct your email service provider to be smarter.  As I describe here, this might be a matter of whitelisting emails that are “From:” particular email addresses in our listserv system.  Or it might be a matter of whitelisting emails where the “envelope sender” is “”.  Or it might be a matter of whitelisting emails where the sender is IP address  It might be as simple as instructing them to read this blog article.  

Your email service provider probably won’t do this because I ask.  Probably if they do the right thing it will only be because you ask it to do so.

If you do contact your email service provider and give them instructions, please post a comment below for the benefit of other readers and listserv members.  Indeed the accumulated comments might help a decisionmaker at a company like Google to better appreciate what is the right thing to do about this.

How you learn that your case has been accepted into Collaborative Search & Examination?

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Readers will recall my article about Super Patents.  If you want to try to get a Super Patent, you have to file a PCT application in one of the participating Receiving Offices and you have to select one of the participating International Searching Authorities (ISAs) and you have to file a form requesting acceptance into the Collaborative Search & Examination (CS&A) pilot program.  And you have to get incredibly lucky to get one of the very small number of slots open for applicants in this pilot program.

Which raises the very interesting question — if you do all of these things, how do you find out if you got accepted into the pilot program?  How do you find out whether your PCT application will receive an International Search Report and Written Opinion that resulted from the collaborative effort of five International Searching Authorities?  

Just now I was delighted to learn that one of our firm’s clients got one of the small number of coveted slots in CS&E.  But how did we learn this good news?  How, as a general matter, does one learn that one has been accepted into this pilot program?  Maybe you already knew the answer, but I did not.  I was astonished at the answer. Continue reading “How you learn that your case has been accepted into Collaborative Search & Examination?”

Today’s big yellow banner on EFS-Web

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Sometimes when USPTO has something very important that it feels customers need to know, it shouts the message with a big yellow banner very prominently on the front page of EFS-Web.   

Just checking my calendar here … yes, today’s date is Monday, November 25, 2019.  The announcement about EFS-Web being unavailable during the wee hours of Friday, November 8 is now seventeen days out of date.

I wonder how long it will take after this blog post for someone at the USPTO to get that banner (which is dated Wednesday, November 6) aged off the system.

November 28 is a holiday at the USPTO

Thursday, November 28, 2019 will be a federal holiday in the District of Columbia.  This means the USPTO will be closed.  This means that any action that would be due at the USPTO on November 28 will be timely if it is done by Friday, November 29, 2019.

Be sure to participate in WIPO’s 2019 PCT User Survey

Every two years, WIPO surveys its users.  WIPO’s goal is to help determine which areas of the PCT services provided by the International Bureau could be improved.  If you would like to make sure that you receive this year’s questionnaire when WIPO has it ready, follow the instructions in this article from the November 2019 PCT Newsletter.

DAS system now supports trademark applications

Readers are already familiar with WIPO’s Digital Access Service (“DAS”) which facilitates interchange of electronic certified copies (“ECC’s”) of utility patent applications, utility model applications, and design applications for purposes of priority claims.  But maybe some readers are not aware that the DAS system now supports interchange of ECC’s of trademark applications.  Continue reading “DAS system now supports trademark applications”