Welcome developments with DAS – Ireland

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This is a busy time for good news about DAS.  One piece of good news about DAS is that the Intellectual Property Office of Ireland will become an Accessing Office in DAS on February 17, 2022.  It will participate as an Accessing Office with respect to the following:

  • National industrial design applications
  • National patent applications
  • National trademark applications
  • National utility model applications
  • PCT international applications

Five days remaining to hand in your numbers for the 2021 Tote Boards

Hello Folks.  There are five days remaining to hand in your numbers for the 2021 Tote Boards.

Every year, after the Tote Boards get finished and published, an email message will arrive from some law firm that did not hand in its numbers on time.  The law firm begs to please be included in one or another of the Tote Boards.  The result of course, is that some other firm that was, say, listed in third place in one of the Tote Boards might now end up in fourth place.  But that firm might already have posted on their web site that they had earned third place on a Tote Board!

The way to avoid such problems of course is simply for you to hand in your numbers before the closing date.  This year, the closing date will be Wednesday, February 2, 2022.  That is five days from now.  Please get your numbers in by the close of business on Wednesday, February, 2022.  To hand in your numbers, click here.

Progress with the 2021 Tote Boards

Two business days have passed since I announced the opening of the opportunity for firms to hand in their numbers for the 2021 Tote Boards.  You can see the past tote boards here.  These are the listings of law firms, ranked according to which firms obtained how many patents and trademarks registrations for their clients in the previous calendar year.  

In these first two business days we have received reports from about two dozen firms.  

Clearly there are quite a few firms that have not yet handed in their numbers.

As a reminder, the questionnaires will close on Wednesday, February 2, 2022.  If you have not yet handed in your firm’s numbers, please do so right away.  There is no good reason to foot-drag on handing in your numbers.  

To hand in your numbers, click here.

It is time to send in your numbers for the 2021 Tote Boards

Update:  The results are in.  You can see the results here.


You can see the past Tote Boards here. 

These Tote Boards are part of a tradition that extends back to 2012 when I published the first Design Patent Tote Board.  Please send in your numbers now. We will close the entries in two weeks, that is, on Wednesday, February 2, 2022.  Here are the four Tote Boards for which your numbers are needed.  Continue reading “It is time to send in your numbers for the 2021 Tote Boards”

All USPTO systems seem to be broken

It looks like all USPTO systems (TEAS, MyUSPTO, Patentcenter, EFS-Web, PAIR) are broken or very very sluggish.  Listserv members are reporting timeouts, forced logouts, and lack of responsiveness from the USPTO systems.

As is so often the case during such crashes, there is no mention or acknowledgment of any of this on the USPTO system status page.

Upcoming federal holidays and the USPTO

Friday, December 24, 2021 will be a federal holiday in the District of Columbia.  This means the USPTO will be closed that day.  This means that any action that might be due at the USPTO on December 24 or December 25 or December 26 will be timely if accomplished by Monday, December 27, 2021.

Friday, December 31, 2021 will be a federal holiday in the District of Columbia.  This means the USPTO will be closed that day.  This means that any action that might be due at the USPTO on December 31 or January 1 or January 2 will be timely if accomplished by Monday, January 3, 2022.

 

Forty-Eight Design Practitioners write a letter to Director Young

A letter got sent today to the Director of Technology Center 2900 of the USPTO (Design Patents), Karen Young.  The letter is signed by forty-eight design applicants and practitioners.  You can see the letter here and you can track it in the Postal Service here.  It should get delivered to the Director on Friday, October 15, 2021.  The letter has four “asks”:

  • When an Examiner gripes in an Office Action that a figure or a detail of a figure in a design patent application is blurry or unclear, can the Examiner please state up front in the Office Action whether the Examiner took that figure from IFW or from SCORE?  This will save the applicant or practitioner from having to phone up the Examiner to ask, and if the Examiner failed to look at the SCORE drawings, this will save a step in the process.
  • Just because the design Examiner can blow up a figure by 200% or 400% to find some real or imagined flaw in a vector drawing does not mean the Examiner should.  The practice of viewing figures at high magnification should only be pursued to the limited extent that it would actually make a difference in the figure as it would appear at normal scale in the actual issued patent.
  • When an Examiner pastes images into an Office Action to help show what is wrong with some figure in the design application, the images have gray scale in them.  This means the images get blurred when the Office Action gets loaded into IFW.  This means the applicant or practitioner does not actually get to see the image the same way it looked when the Examiner pasted it into the Office Action.  We ask that such Office Actions be stored in SCORE, not in IFW, so that the Office Actions do not get blurred.
  • The letter asks that the Issue Branch be directed always to use images from SCORE, not from IFW, when printing the issued design patent.

Here is how the letter begins:

The signers, personally or through their firms or corporations, have between them prosecuted more than twenty thousand United States design patents to issuance. The signers, personally or through their firms or corporations, have between them paid more than $26 million in fees to the United States Patent and Trademark Office in the past ten years.

It will be interesting to see what we hear back from Director Young in response to the letter.

You are invited to sign a letter to Tech Center Director Karen Young

(Update:  the letter has been sent.  See blog article.)

Hello design colleagues.  You are invited to join the signers of a letter to Karen Young, who is the Director of Technology Center 2900 (the tech center that examines design patent applications).  The letter will close for signatures at close of business today, Tuesday, October 12.  

You can see the letter here.  To sign it, click here.

The letter has four “asks”:

  • When an Examiner gripes in an Office Action that a figure or a detail of a figure in a design patent application is blurry or unclear, can the Examiner please state up front in the Office Action whether the Examiner took that figure from IFW or from SCORE?  This will save the applicant or practitioner from having to phone up the Examiner to ask, and if the Examiner failed to look at the SCORE drawings, this will save a step in the process.
  • Just because the design Examiner can blow up a figure by 200% or 400% to find some real or imagined flaw in a vector drawing does not mean the Examiner should.  The practice of viewing figures at high magnification should only be pursued to the limited extent that it would actually make a difference in the figure as it would appear at normal scale in the actual issued patent.
  • When an Examiner pastes images into an Office Action to help show what is wrong with some figure in the design application, the images have gray scale in them.  This means the images get blurred when the Office Action gets loaded into IFW.  This means the applicant or practitioner does not actually get to see the image the same way it looked when the Examiner pasted it into the Office Action.  We ask that such Office Actions be stored in SCORE, not in IFW, so that the Office Actions do not get blurred.
  • We ask that the Issue Branch be directed always to use images from SCORE, not from IFW, when printing the issued design patent.

To sign the letter, click here.  The letter will close for signatures today, Tuesday, October 12.  

Requests for Tech Center 2900

(Update:  the letter has been sent.  See blog article.)

(Update:  I have prepared a letter for people to sign and you can see it here.  The letter will close for signatures on Tuesday, October 12, 2021.)

I received an Office Action the other day that reminded me that I have been meaning to make several requests to Tech Center 2900.  This is the part of the USPTO that examines design patent applications.  If your practice includes US design patent applications, I hope you will read on and post a comment or two.  Continue reading “Requests for Tech Center 2900”