USPTO has many e-commerce systems that are well known to practitioners and applicants — EFS-Web for e-filing patent documents, TEAS for e-filing trademark documents, ESTTA for e-filing TTAB documents to name three examples. But I find it remarkable how few practitioners and applicants know anything about USPTO’s Financial Profile system. The Financial Profile system is (or should be) a central part of the bookkeeping workflow for any patent firm or trademark firm and for any corporate patent department or corporate trademark department.
What exactly is Financial Profile? Financial Profile (“FP”) is a USPTO system that permits you to search a live and constantly updated database of any and all fees that you have ever paid to the USPTO. You can generate reports that are extremely helpful in solving problems and researching questions about your pending and issued cases.
Equally important, daily reports from FP will permit your billing department to catch fee payments that might otherwise be missed. This may catch a professional fee that needs to be billed but that might otherwise be overlooked. The harried attorney who e-files something late at night or on a weekend might forget to report the filing to the billing department, in which case the report through FP will let the billing staff know to check with the attorney about the filing.
For those firms that have a goal of getting work entered into the billing system promptly (rather than days or weeks later), a daily report from FP is a big help toward this goal. Getting work into the billing system right away means you are less vulnerable to the problem of having to remember the details of things that happened days or weeks earlier.
The idea is that once a day, the billing department does a search in FP asking for every fee payment that happened in the past couple of days.
The searches that you do in FP are able to find every payment that you made using any of your many credit cards that you sometimes use to pay fees. And every payment that you made with your Deposit Account. And every payment that you made using EFT.
The Financial Profile system has a user’s guide which you should print out and study. It takes a bit of work to get it set up, but once you get it set up, it is easy to use. You and your billing department will wonder how you ever survived without it.
Are you already a user of Financial Profile? If so, please post a comment letting other readers know about your experiences with it.