After more than a year, USPTO still hand-keying patent issue information

A year ago I reported that USPTO’s then-new system for paying patent issues fees was a disappointment.  That then-new system was a web-based system in which the practitioner could provide issue information in character form.  The hope of course is that USPTO would auto-load the issue information into USPTO’s systems.  For example if the practitoner correctly typed the assignee name into the web-based system, then the hope is that the assignee name would be correctly spelled on the front page of the issued patent.  And similarly if the “attorney, agent or firm” information were correctly typed into the web-based system, then the hope is that the “attorney, agent or firm” information would be correctly spelled on the front page of the issued patent.

And as of a year ago, the disappointing news was that the USPTO was hand-keying this issue information into USPTO’s systems.  The result at that time for our office was a discouraging 20% error rate.

I had hoped that in the year that has passed since USPTO’s release of this web-based system for paying patent issue fees, USPTO would finally have gotten around to setting it up so that the issue information would auto-load into USPTO’s systems.

But no, even now the USPTO is hand-keying the issue information.  Just now we have received issued US patents with USPTO mistakes on the front page, mistakes that happened because a USPTO person fat-fingered some of the issue information.  We have been forced to file many requests for Certificates of Correction for these mistakes.

A related concern is that USPTO is dragging its feet on the Certificates of Correction.  I just checked one request for a CofC that we filed three months ago, and I find that it is still outstanding.  In cases where the CofC is due to Office mistake, the USPTO is supposed to attend to the CofC right away.  But that’s not what is happening.

One hopes that before another year passes, USPTO will get around to setting it up so that the text information provided by practitioners in the web-based issue fee payment system will auto-load into USPTO’s system.  This will greatly reduce the need for such Certificates of Correction.

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