Yet another must-read for ST26 users

(Please also read Another must-read article for ST26 enthusiasts.)

Earlier today I posted a blog article entitled A must-read for ST26 filers – a technical issue with the software.  Here is a followup article that is yet another must-read for ST26 users.  This article provides further information which I learned from nice WIPO person Mike Richardson, information which he posted to the ST26 listservContinue reading “Yet another must-read for ST26 users”

A must-read for ST26 filers – a technical issue with the software

(Please also see my followup articles entitled Yet another must-read for ST26 users and Another must-read article for ST26 enthusiasts.)  (This article has been updated July 29, 2022 to include some suggestions from the nice WIPO people.)

Hello readers.  Have you filed any patent application (PCT or otherwise) in recent days using a sequence listing that you created using version 2.1.0 of the WIPO Sequence software?  If so, then this blog article is a must-read for you and there are some action steps for you.  

If you are getting ready to file any patent application (PCT or otherwise) in coming days, using a sequence listing, this blog article is likewise a must-read for you.  Continue reading “A must-read for ST26 filers – a technical issue with the software”

Patentcenter and TEAS and PAIR and EFS-Web MyUSPTO and Financial Manager are all broken just now

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(Update Monday July 11.  The USPTO status page now admits that these systems are broken.  “Users are intermittently receiving a 429 error code ‘too many requests’ when attempting to log into their accounts to file in Patent Center, EFS-Web, TEAS and TEASi. The workarounds for this error are clearing the browser cache or switching web browsers.  Other USPTO systems may also be affected. The USPTO technical teams are investigating.“)

It looks like Patentcenter and TEAS and PAIR and EFS-Web and MyUSPTO and Financial Manager are all broken just now.

The USPTO switched over to a new and different login system a couple of weeks ago, provided by a company called Okta.  The way that you can see change this is that when you log in at any of the six above-mentioned USPTO systems, the throbber (Wikipedia article) looks very different from the way it used to look for the past decade or so.  Now the throbber is a sort of hexagon made of blue dots, hovering over the words “signing in”, with corporate branding “Okta” in the lower right corner of the screen.

At right you can see a screen shot of the USPTO’s newly adopted throbber screen, which as I say first started showing up maybe two weeks ago.

For most of the past two weeks, the new Okta throbber screen seemed to work fine.  But today (Saturday, July 9, around 10 AM Eastern Time) the throbber screen has been throbbing for maybe 45 seconds and then what pops up is the 429 screen that you see quoted at top right.

The practical consequence is that it is impossible to log in at Patentcenter or TEAS or PAIR or EFS-Web or MyUSPTO or Financial Manager.  

When you get to the 429 screen, you see that “status page” is a link.  I clicked on the link, and it brought me to a new page on which the Okta company uses lots of green check boxes to cheerfully explain that every one of their systems is operating normally.

The USPTO maintains what it misleadingly calls its USPTO Systems Status and Availability page.   When some USPTO system does not seem to be working correctly, it is tempting to visit this page to see whether perhaps somebody at the USPTO has (a) noticed that the system is broken and (b) posted a message on this page to acknowledge that the system is broken.  It is normally a complete waste of time to check this page, and today was no exception.  Yes the page lists various scheduled maintenance activities that are set for today, but none of them involve any of the six systems mentioned in this blog article.  And, predictably, the status page shows no indication that anybody at the USPTO has noticed that these five systems are broken just now.

Returning to the 429 screen quoted at top right, you can also see that “Go to Homepage” is also a link.  I clicked on the link, and it brought me to a new page at the USPTO, inviting me to log in.  I entered my user ID and clicked “next” and what popped up is a big red message “Unable to sign in”.

If you want to keep up to date on the status of the important USPTO systems, what is quite clear is that checking the USPTO Systems Status and Availability page is not the way to do it.  The way to do it is to be a subscriber to the relevant listserv, for example the e-Trademarks listserv, the Patentcenter listserv, the PAIR listserv, and the EFS-Web listserv.  Or, I suppose, to be a subscriber to my blog.

Patentcenter developers continue to violate their own rules big time

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The Patentcenter developers continue to violate their own rules about how filers are supposed to format their documents.  They do not just violate their own rules a little.  They violate their own rules big time.  The violations by the Patentcenter developers make life more difficult for applicants because it makes acknowledgement receipts nearly unreadable in IFW.  (The Image File Wrapper (IFW) is a date-stamped, electronic record of the documents in the file and it is the primary source for viewing the entire history of a patent application.  Integrity of IFW is essential.)  The violations by the Patentcenter developers make life more difficult for the filer of a third-party submission of prior art, because by the time the Examiner sees the third-party submission, it is nearly unreadable in IFW.   It means the Examiner is unlikely to give full consideration to the third-party submission.  Continue reading “Patentcenter developers continue to violate their own rules big time”

One hundred six practitioners write to the Acting Commissioner for Patents

Today a letter got sent to the Acting Commissioner for Patents, Andrew Faile.  It was signed by one hundred six patent practitioners.   You can see the letter here.  USPS delivered it as you can see here.  A courtesy copy of the letter was send by email to Acting Commissioner Faile and to Director Kathi Vidal.

The purpose of the letter is to help Acting Commissioner Faile appreciate the two major failures in the USPTO’s Federal Register notice dated April 28, 2022 entitled Filing Patent Applications in DOCX Format (87 FR 25226).


What is in the “yearlong study” that supposedly says DOCX is the right path?

The USPTO published a Federal Register notice entitled Setting and Adjusting Patent Fees during Fiscal Year 2020, dated August 2, 2020 (85 FR 46932).   This is the FR notice that communicates the USPTO’s conclusion that if we are going to force applicants to change from what they were doing in the past, and in particular if we are going to force them henceforth to hand in some particular format for US patent applications, then we at the USPTO know what’s best, and what’s best is not some particular flavor of PDF.  What’s best (according to the USPTO) is Microsoft Word DOCX format. 

The Federal Register notice said, in four places:

The USPTO conducted a yearlong study of the feasibility of processing text in PDF documents. The results showed that searchable text data is available in some PDFs, but the order and accuracy of the content could not be preserved. 

As soon as we saw this, many members of the practitioner community wondered what was in the “yearlong study”?    What was there in this “yearlong study” that led to a conclusion that Microsoft Word DOCX format was supposedly the better format to try to force applicants and practitioners to file, rather than some particular PDF format?

One member of the practitioner community filed a FOIA request at the USPTO, asking for a copy of the “yearlong study”.  This was ten months ago.  The people at the USPTO whose job it is to fight FOIA requests comply with the FOIA law have fought tooth and nail to keep from having to hand over the “yearlong study” and have not handed it over even now after ten months.  And indeed almost everything about the USPTO’s way of forcing the Microsoft DOCX format upon applicants and practitioners has led to an adversarial relationship between the USPTO and a substantial portion of the practitioner community.

So it was very much a breath of fresh air when, earlier today, at my request, Acting Commissioner Andrew Faile sent me a copy of the “yearlong study”.  I think Acting Commissioner Faile is trying to be more open and candid with the practitioner community now in recent months.

I have done a quick read of the yearlong study and you can read my initial conclusions here.

Please consider signing this letter about DOCX

(Update:  The letter has been sent.  See here.)

Hello readers.    If one of the things that you do for a living is filing patent applications at the USPTO, then I urge you to take a look at two documents:

Please consider signing the letter.

Thank you.


More on the PCT letter from 42 practitioners to Director Vidal

Hello dear readers.   It will be recalled that on April 26, 2022, 42 PCT patent practitioners from the PCT Listserv signed and sent a letter to USPTO Director Kathi Vidal.  The letter (click here to see it) has eight “asks” relating to the Patent Cooperation Treaty.  As you can see here, what was really quite encouraging was that a mere two minutes later, Director Vidal responded, saying:

Thank you for reaching out on this … .  I appreciate it.  I will review it shortly.  Kathi.

The part of the USPTO that is in charge of stuff like this is called International Patent Legal Administration (IPLA).  A couple of days ago, the phone rang and it was a very nice fellow named Stefanos Karmis, who is the acting director of IPLA.  He let me know that Director Vidal has asked him to be the point person on getting back to us on this letter.  He asked if I could meet with him by telephone to discuss our “asks”.  He and I have set a date of June 2 for a telephone call about this.  This is, obviously, an encouraging development and we will want to do what we can to make the most of this telephone call, and whatever might come after that.

Here are some of the things that have taken place as part of preparing for the June 2 telephone call.

We have set up a private listserv for the 42 signers of the letter, so that we can discuss and prepare.  

We have set up a Gotomeeting for May 26 for the 42 signers of the letter, so that we can discuss and prepare.

The other 900 or so members of the PCT Listserv who did not sign the letter (now I imagine some are wishing they had gotten off their behinds and signed the letter!) have been invited to get in touch with whichever of the 42 signers they are best acquainted with, to discuss and prepare.  There may also be discussions on the PCT Listserv itself for discussions as we lead up to the June 2 phone call.