It will be recalled (see blog article) that on October 1, the USPTO shut down its PDX relationship with the Japanese Patent Office and migrated the certified-copy traffic from PDX to DAS.
This was a welcome development for practitioners because as compared with PDX, the DAS system offers many benefits:
- it is more secure (protected by authorization codes)
- It permits the practitioner to test ahead of the time of actual need, to make sure that the electronic document will be available when needed
- in the event of a problem with transmittal of an electronic certified copy, it permits the practitioner to troubleshoot and pinpoint the source of any difficulty
As I mentioned in that blog article, the natural next step would be for USPTO to do the same for its PDX relationships with the Chinese patent office (SIPO) and the Korean patent office (KIPO). The natural next step would be for USPTO to migrate its electronic-certified-copy relationships involving China and Korea from PDX to DAS. This would offer the many benefits of DAS to practitioners handling cases connected with China and Korea.
From the technical point of view such a migration ought to be easy and painless. It would only be a matter of turning off the PDX mechanism and the document flow should easily proceed within the existing DAS connections.
Maybe USPTO was holding back a bit on such a migration to see how the Japan migration went. If that was USPTO’s reason for holding back on the China and Korea migrations, then USPTO might as well proceed.
What makes me say this is that the sky did not fall. Three weeks ago was the day that USPTO pulled the plug on its PDX-Japan connection, and there was no outcry. I know this because I follow quite a few patent practitioner discussion groups and listservs (and indeed my firm hosts several patent practitioner listservs) and if there had been any side effects from the Japan-DAS migration, I am pretty sure I would have heard about it. The members of the listservs are not shy and if they had wanted to share any complaints they would have done so.
I also spent the last five days hanging out with, and talking with, the couple of thousand patent practitioners who attended the AIPLA annual meeting in Washington. These practitioners likewise are not shy and would have said something if they had thought there was a problem with the Japan-DAS migration.
Put plainly, USPTO got it right. USPTO correctly handled whatever its internal computer system needs were to make this PDX-to-DAS transition work. And USPTO did an exemplary job of communicating the transition, well in advance, to its customers (the patent practitioners). The fact that USPTO got those two things right prompts me to speculate that USPTO also probably did a good job of prepping the EBC for the calls that it might receive about the transition.
So now the action steps are clear. USPTO ought to carry out similar PDX-to-DAS migrations for the China and Korea document flows. This will offer the many user benefits of DAS (as compared with PDX) for those document flows, just as it already has for the Japan-US document flow.
My interest in this is not an idle interest. I have had a handful of PDX problems in recent months involving document flows between China and the US. With these problems it has been nearly impossible to pinpoint the problem — was the problem caused by the Chinese client? by Chinese counsel? By the Chinese patent office? By the US patent office? It has been impossible to investigate independently, and one of the PDX problems is outstanding even now, more than a year after it first arose.
In contrast, if USPTO had already migrated the document flows to DAS, I would long ago have been able to pinpoint the source of the problem. The electronic certified copies would long ago have gotten transmitted to where they needed to be.
Let’s see how long it takes USPTO to carry out this PDX-to-DAS migration for China and Korea.