When an ADS turns out to be unsigned, or not correctly signed, or not signed by a practitioner, it leads to a cascade of problems. It often takes months or a lot of money, or both, to fix the problems. It would be trivially easy for Patentcenter to check an uploaded computer-readable Form PTO/AIA/14 (Application Data Sheet) such as we see at right, for a signature. But Patentcenter does not do so.
When a filer uploads Form PTO/AIA/14 (Application Data Sheet), Patentcenter should carry out validations. As mentioned here, Patentcenter should validate priority claims against DAS. This blog article points out that Patentcenter should validate the “non-inventor applicant” excuse field.
This is Feature Request FR23.
Getting a priority claim wrong in a patent application is a serious matter. There’s a super-simple thing that ePCT does to prevent many ways of getting priority claims wrong, that Patentcenter fails to do. Of course Patentcenter should do the same validation that ePCT does — cross-checking against DAS. I’ll explain. Continue reading
I bet I got your attention with that title! Nope, I think it is extremely unlikely that whatever the title made you think of has anything at all to do with the feature of USPTO’s Patentcenter that this article is going to talk about. Continue reading
Readers will recall my recent sense of discouragement with USPTO’s handling of its Patentcenter rollout. But yesterday there was an encouraging event. I think there is some reason for guarded optimism that USPTO may do better going forward in its handling of its Patentcenter rollout. Continue reading
One of the core design principles for Patentcenter, USPTO has said from the beginning, is that each feature of PAIR and each feature of EFS-Web will be replicated in Patentcenter. The idea is that once the USPTO manages to replicate each and every feature of PAIR and EFS-Web into Patentcenter, and manages to get all of the programming mistakes fixed, and manages to get it to scale well under load, then USPTO will shut down PAIR and EFS-Web. This blog article describes yet another defect, this time the Examiner lookup feature for an application in your workbench. Continue reading
(This is Patentcenter trouble ticket CP31.)
The designers of Patentcenter got it seriously wrong when they picked the default setting for the display of “Outgoing Corrrespondence”. The result for practitioners who until now have been accustomed to the default setting in EFS-Web is that the “Outgoing Correspondence” feature of Patentcenter is a trap for the unwary. Continue reading
The alpha testers of Patentcenter began their work in summer of 2018, and immediately found many things that needed fixing in Patentcenter. This blog article describes the complete failure of USPTO’s Ideascale system, which supposedly was to provide a way for the alpha testers to report the things that needed fixing. Continue reading
(This is trouble ticket CP28.)
When you upload a document in Patentcenter as part of an e-filing task, sometimes Patentcenter will make a guess as to the document description that makes sense. Other times, Patentcenter will quietly offer a hint that maybe you should provide a document description. That hint is communicated by a text-free rectangle as shown at right. At this point you are on the “upload documents” page of Patentcenter. Suppose you click “continue”? What will happen next?
Of course what should happen next is that the “continue” button should be grayed out. It should not even be possible to click “continue”. Patentcenter should politely decline to move on to the next page.
Or, if the designers failed to gray out the “continue” button, then what should happen next is that Patentcenter should put a big red border around this “hint” rectangle, and provide some words on the screen to communicate that a document description is going to be required before Patentcenter will allow you to move on to the next page.
But the designers of Patentcenter got this one wrong. What happens next is that the “continue” button just works the way it always does. Patentcenter moves on to the next page, which is the first of two “calculate fees” pages. Suppose you click “continue”? What will happen next? What happens next is that Patentcenter moves on to the second of two “calculate fees” pages. (Why is the “calculate fees” function spread out over two separate screens? The developers have argued that this is somehow a feature, not a bug. The developers say that this somehow saves time and trouble for filers. For me, since many of my e-filing tasks do not involve paying money, all this does is frequently waste my valuable time as I sit through through two screen-loads and mouse-clicks and hourglasses.)
Suppose you click “continue”? What will happen next? What happens next is that Patentcenter moves on to the next page, which is the “submit” page. Note that nowhere on this “submit” page is there any warning that anything is amiss about a document description.
Note that in any competent user interface design, the “submit” button should be grayed out right now, given that the document description is missing. But the “submit” button is not grayed out.
Suppose you click “submit”? What will happen next? Yes, three screens too late, Patentcenter finally gets around to mentioning that it feels you need to provide a document description for the uploaded PDF file. You can see this tardy error message quoted at right.
It is easy to see what the developers of Patentcenter need to do to fix this. Patentcenter needs to gripe promptly, right there on the “upload documents” page, and the “continue” button on that “upload documents” page should be grayed out until such time as the needed document description is provided.
What’s particularly sad about this is that I first reported this defect in Patentcenter (saving up a real or imagined defect regarding an uploaded document and springing it on the filer only three screens later when he or she tries to click “submit”) in my role as an alpha tester in January of 2019. I reported it in Ideascale, that place where suggestions and trouble reports go if they wish to be ignored. In other words, USPTO has known about this defect in Patentcenter for more than a year now and has not fixed it.