A letter captioned THIRTY-ONE PATENT PRACTITIONERS got mailed today to Drew Hirshfeld, the Commissioner for Patents. You can see the letter here and you can track its progress through the US Postal Service here. The letter urges the USPTO to make four changes in its ways of handling the DAS (Digital Access Service) system administered by WIPO.
Foot-dragging on the retrieval of electronic certified copies. Patent applicants ask the USPTO to retrieve electronic certified copies, and the USPTO does so, but not promptly. The problem is that although the rules require that the applicant somehow arrange for the certified copy to be present in the application file within four months of the filing of the patent application, the USPTO has a stated policy of foot-dragging on the retrieval, postponing the retrieval until a much later time, namely when the application is on the verge of being examined. This risks a loss of the priority claim for the applicant. The USPTO has never explained why it does not simply retrieve such an electronic certified copy from PDX or DAS at the time that the applicant requests such retrieval. I have been asking the USPTO to do better about this since more than five years ago — see this blog article. The USPTO did not do it when I asked in 2014. Maybe the USPTO will do it now in 2020 when it is asked by thirty-one patent practitioners to do so.
Pulling the plug on PDX. The signers also ask that USPTO discontinue the PDX system, so that going forward, priority document retrieval from the EPO can take place through the DAS system. The USPTO did not do this when I asked it to do so in 2018 — see this blog article. Maybe the USPTO will do it now in 2020 when it is asked by thirty-one patent practitioners to do it.
Reformatting Form PTO/SB/38. Can you read the Access Code in Form PTO/SB/38 at right? The signers suggest that Form PTO/SB/38 be reformatted so that the boxes for the important information (application number, DAS access code, filing date, Office of first filing) be large enough to permit text to be entered in a font that is easily read by the human eye even after the form has been degraded in the e-filing process. I asked the USPTO to do this several months ago — see this blog article. USPTO did not reformat the form. Maybe the USPTO will do it now when it is asked by thirty-one patent practitioners to do it.
Become a Depositing Office for RO/US. Finally, the signers ask that USPTO become a Depositing Office with respect to international patent applications (PCT applications) that have been filed at the RO/US (the receiving office of the USPTO). I asked the USPTO to do this a year ago — see this blog article. It has not yet happened. Maybe the USPTO will do it now, when it is asked by thirty-one patent practitioners to do it.