Monitoring status of US patent applications redux

Today for the very first time I received an email from the MyUSPTO widget telling me that the status of one of my monitored files has changed.  This is really a big deal.

I am delighted to report that somebody at the USPTO has made some progress in getting the Patent Docket widget in the MyUSPTO system working.  As I say, today I actually received an an email notification that the status had changed in a case that I am monitoring in the widget.  Whoever you are at the USPTO, thank you! 

I blogged about this system and how it did not work at all well over the past two years.  Now it seems to be working at least a little.

For readers, here is the encouraging news.  You might be able to start using the MyUSPTO Patent Docket widget as an adjunct to your other mechanisms for monitoring status of US patent applications. 

So as a reminder, the general notion here is, how may we monitor the status of US patent applications?  Not only our own US patent applications, but also the patent applications of third parties and competitors and adversaries?  Two years ago, USPTO quietly announced a widget in the myUSPTO system which had a chance of helping a little with this need.

The idea is that you would load into this widget the application numbers of US patent applications that you care about.  These might be your own cases or the cases of others.  And maybe, just maybe, USPTO would send you an email to let you know of status changes.

There are several important things to say about this.

What counts as a status change?  A status change is not the same thing as an outgoing correspondence notification (OCN).  In a particular case, an OCN might happen while the status remains unchanged.  Or in another particular case, the status might change at a time when no outgoing correspondence has been mailed.  So these are not at all the same thing.

Only published cases.  This widget unfortunately only works for published cases.  So it is no help at all with monitoring status of design cases (except Hague design cases).  And it is no help with monitoring cases that have not yet been published.  This also means it is no help with monitoring cases that are subject to a nonpublication request.

It hasn’t worked at all reliably.  During the two years that this widget has been available, it has worked only sporadically.  Sometimes weeks or even months have passed during which no email notifications have been generated.  And sometimes weeks or even months have passed during which the status as listed in the widget fails to even be up to date as compared with the status as listed in PAIR.

But the widget is better than nothing.  And it is free of charge.   

To use the widget, log in at MyUSPTO.  (To do this, you would have to create a MyUSPTO account if you did not already have one.)  Then find the widget.  Then click on the link “add applications to the widget”.  It will list all of the applications that are available for monitoring (that is, all the applications that have been published).  You can then click on the ones that you want to monitor.

And check the box that says that yes, you want to receive email notifications.

What I suggest is simply generate a report from your docket system, or from PAIR, of all of your pending US cases.  Load them all into the widget.  

Have you tried the system?  Please post a comment below.

3 thoughts on “Monitoring status of US patent applications redux

  1. Thank you very much for the post, but I might be concerned about the possibility that the PTO could at some point impute knowledge of a monitored case to the practitioner holding that myUSPTO account under Rule 56. Also, would there be a way for third parties to request records of what applications were being monitored, say TYFNIL, or with a FOIA request? Or am I just paranoid? Also, I wonder why exactly they are providing this service, as I thought the whole introduction of the Captcha challenge to access Public PAIR was to decrease use overall.

  2. I’m using the widget and was delighted to receive an alert last week as well. I have to say that it’s a little funny that the Brazilian patent office works better than the USPTO when it comes to status change alerts.

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