(Update: Maybe prompted by this blog article, it seems that somehow the USPTO found the third page of IDS and got it into IFW. Everything is okay now with this three-page IDS.)
How’s this for a nightmare situation in a pending US patent application? You e-file three pages of Information Disclosure Statements. But only two of the pages find their way into IFW.
TYFNIL we all realize what an adversary could do with this!
Ladies and gentlemen of the jury. The applicant filed three pages of information disclosure statements. You can see that from the Acknowledgment Receipt that is right here in the application file. But only two of the pages got considered by the Examiner. There were twenty US patents listed on that missing page.
Just imagine, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, what a difference it would have made for the Examiner, if the Examiner had had an opportunity to consider those twenty US patents when deciding whether or not to grant this patent!
Here’s a real-life example. Ten minutes ago I e-filed three pages of Information Disclosure Statements. You can see it right here in this quotation from the ack receipt.
Then I did what we all do. I looked in IFW to see what I just e-filed. And this is what I see. Yes, only two of the pages of the IDS are visible in IFW.
And it’s the same in the “display references” tab in PAIR.
This is a trap for the unwary. The USPTO e-filing system lost one of the pages of my IDS. Fortunately I noticed that USPTO screwed this up. We will docket to watch closely to see if anyone at USPTO fixes the screwup.
The FOAP (first office action prediction) in this case is 15 months. So hopefully we have a little time to spare for pestering the USPTO to fix this problem.
The USPTO needs to fix EFS-Web so that pages don’t get lost like this.
The moral of the story? Always check IFW very carefully to see whether USPTO lost any pages of whatever you e-filed. And don’t just look for the items listed in IFW. Look at them. You would want to know if, for example, USPTO corrupted the images on those pages or turned them into blank pages.
Have you run into problems like this? Post a comment below.