(Update May 12, 2020: now it is broken only two ways. The initial cap for the city name has been fixed.)
USPTO will eventually shut down EFS-Web and the only patent e-filing system available to applicants will be Patentcenter. So it behooves all of us to take the present opportunity to beta-test Patentcenter as fully as we can, to try to get USPTO to fix its defects and to try to get USPTO to make it user-friendly. (Probably this means you should join the Patentcenter listserv.) Here is a defect that I keep running into in Patentcenter, namely that the web-based Form 85B drops the initial capitalization for the city name for the assignee. I reported this to the USPTO a year ago and it has still not been fixed. But there are two other ways that this feature of Patentcenter is broken.
A second problem with the web-based Form 85B in Patentcenter is that Patentcenter does not preserve the computer-readable characters entered by the filer. This means those characters never have any opportunity to auto-load into USPTO’s systems. Instead, and I am not making this up, Patentcenter flattens the characters into images which go into IFW. What happens next is that human beings at the USPTO hand-key this information into the system for issuing the patent. I blogged about this here on November 20, 2015. I had hoped that maybe my blog article might embarrass the USPTO into improving its system so that the computer-readable characters provided by the filer in the web-based Form 85B could auto-load into USPTO’s systems. Four years later, USPTO was still hand-keying these things. As I blogged here on September 4, 2019, a USPTO person keyed “Radom” as “Random” onto the front page of an issued US patent for the name of the city for an assignee on one of my cases.
A third problem with the web-based Form 85B in Patentcenter is that when Patentcenter flattens the character into images, it does it in gray scale! (I blogged about this here.) This ensures that when the flattened image gets loaded into IFW, it will get halftoned, and thus will get blurred. This makes it more likely that the human being at the USPTO will make a mistake when hand-keying the information into the system for printing the front page of the issued US patent.
So the corrective steps at the USPTO for this feature of Patentcenter include:
- Do not render the image as gray scale. (This is ticket number CP3.)
- Do not render it as an image at all; preserve the computer-readable characters for auto-loading into the system for printing the front page of the issued US patent. (This is ticket number CP2.)
- Do not lose the initial capital letter typed by the filer for the city name. (This is ticket number CP1. Fixed May 12, 2020)