One hundred six practitioners write to the Acting Commissioner for Patents

Today a letter got sent to the Acting Commissioner for Patents, Andrew Faile.  It was signed by one hundred six patent practitioners.   You can see the letter here.  USPS delivered it as you can see here.  A courtesy copy of the letter was send by email to Acting Commissioner Faile and to Director Kathi Vidal.

The purpose of the letter is to help Acting Commissioner Faile appreciate the two major failures in the USPTO’s Federal Register notice dated April 28, 2022 entitled Filing Patent Applications in DOCX Format (87 FR 25226).


What is in the “yearlong study” that supposedly says DOCX is the right path?

The USPTO published a Federal Register notice entitled Setting and Adjusting Patent Fees during Fiscal Year 2020, dated August 2, 2020 (85 FR 46932).   This is the FR notice that communicates the USPTO’s conclusion that if we are going to force applicants to change from what they were doing in the past, and in particular if we are going to force them henceforth to hand in some particular format for US patent applications, then we at the USPTO know what’s best, and what’s best is not some particular flavor of PDF.  What’s best (according to the USPTO) is Microsoft Word DOCX format. 

The Federal Register notice said, in four places:

The USPTO conducted a yearlong study of the feasibility of processing text in PDF documents. The results showed that searchable text data is available in some PDFs, but the order and accuracy of the content could not be preserved. 

As soon as we saw this, many members of the practitioner community wondered what was in the “yearlong study”?    What was there in this “yearlong study” that led to a conclusion that Microsoft Word DOCX format was supposedly the better format to try to force applicants and practitioners to file, rather than some particular PDF format?

One member of the practitioner community filed a FOIA request at the USPTO, asking for a copy of the “yearlong study”.  This was ten months ago.  The people at the USPTO whose job it is to fight FOIA requests comply with the FOIA law have fought tooth and nail to keep from having to hand over the “yearlong study” and have not handed it over even now after ten months.  And indeed almost everything about the USPTO’s way of forcing the Microsoft DOCX format upon applicants and practitioners has led to an adversarial relationship between the USPTO and a substantial portion of the practitioner community.

So it was very much a breath of fresh air when, earlier today, at my request, Acting Commissioner Andrew Faile sent me a copy of the “yearlong study”.  I think Acting Commissioner Faile is trying to be more open and candid with the practitioner community now in recent months.

I have done a quick read of the yearlong study and you can read my initial conclusions here.

Just released — a new version of “Guide to the Madrid System”

Many readers of this blog are frequent users of the Madrid Protocol system.   Some probably qualify as “power users” of the Madrid Protocol system.  What some might not be aware of, however, is that WIPO provides what is called its Guide to the Madrid System.  You can see the book’s front cover at right.  This is a 260-page book, and the big news is that this book just got re-released today in its 2022 version.  Continue reading “Just released — a new version of “Guide to the Madrid System””

Nice people at WIPO received our poster

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It will be recalled that the Tenth e-Trademarks Listserv Reception took place on Tuesday, May 3, 2022 (blog article with pix) and that we knew ahead of time that some nice people from WIPO (from the Madrid Protocol part of WIPO) were planning to attend.

Never wanting to miss a chance to pass along “asks” to an intellectual property office, the members of the listserv collected a bunch of “asks”.  We prepared a big poster listing the “asks” and we put it on an easel so that people attending the listserv could review the “asks” and could sign the poster if they were comfortable doing so.  You can read about the poster and you can see a big photo of it, and a list of the “asks”, here.  At the end of the evening, we pulled the poster off from its corrugated cardboard backing and we folded it up and stuck it in an envelope and mailed it to the nice WIPO people.

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I am delighted to report that today an email message came in from David Muls (photo at right), who is one of the high-up people at WIPO in charge of Madrid Protocol.   It is he who received the postal service envelope at WIPO headquarters, with the folded-up signed poster inside.  He sent us an email saying:

The poster was well received!!!!! 😀 We are impressed by the many signatures!!!

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He provided a photo of the unfolded poster as it arrived in Geneva, and you can see it here at right.  (I think in this particular photo he was mostly trying to capture the “asks” but I think all of the signatures came through as well on the physical poster.)

By the way I find myself from time to time writing phrases such as “nice people at WIPO” and I keep wondering if maybe that is actually redundancy in such a phrase.  Or inherency or something.

Second round of electronic US trademark registration certificates gets issued

(Corrected with two corrections prompted by alert reader Ken Boone.  The starting number was 6741505, not 6741504.  Thus the count of issued registrations was 7477, not 7478.  Thank you, Ken.)

Today, May 31, 2022, a second round of US trademarks got registered under the new “electronic certificate” program.

The lowest US trademark registration number handed out today was 6741505.  The highest US trademark registration number handed out today was 6748981.  So it looks like the Trademark Office issued 7477 US trademark registrations today.  That number is roughly consistent with the numbers from a few weeks ago, before the big SNAFU on May 10, 2022.

The electronic registration certificates all seem to be present in TSDR right now at 5:41 AM Eastern Time.

The certificate for the lowest registration number got cryptographically signed on May 20, 2022 at 4:32 AM.  The certificate for the highest registration number got cryptographically signed on May 27, 2022 at 8:02 AM.