“Fewer”, not “less”

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There’s a bit of bad grammar in Patentcenter.   If you are using Patentcenter to look at a patent application, the number of inventors might exceed four.  In that case you might click “show all inventors” to see all of the inventors.  Then you would see a Patentcenter screen listing all of the inventors, an example of which appears at right. 

You might then want to return to the normal screen that does not show all of the inventors.  For this, the designers of Patentcenter chose the words “Show less inventors” which is wrong.  A similar mistake is often made in stores where an overhead sign might say that the express checkout lane is for those with “ten or less items”.  The correct wording would be “ten or fewer items”.  You can see explanations of this here and here.

The correct way to say this in Patentcenter would, of course, be “Show fewer inventors”.

It will be interesting to see how long it takes the folks at USPTO to correct this mistake.  (This is trouble ticket number CP10.)

An example of alpha-testing Patentcenter

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(Update:  It took eight days, but yes the EBC did eventually get this application fixed in IFW.  Now we are able to see correctly in IFW what we actually filed in Patentcenter in this patent application.  What a relief!)

In a previous blog article I applauded USPTO for doing real alpha-testing of its Patentcenter system with real revenue customers.  And invited readers to recognize the contributions of the alpha testers themselves, who for more than a year now have been doing real patent filings in this system which will some day replace both EFS-Web and Private PAIR.  Here is an example of what it is like to be an alpha tester. Continue reading “An example of alpha-testing Patentcenter”

You can thank your alpha-testers (and you can thank the USPTO)

The USPTO has, over the decades, had a bit of a spotty success rate at designing e-commerce systems.  This blog article highlights two reasons to allow yourself some guarded optimism in this area — the fact that USPTO is doing real alpha-testing of its Patentcenter system, and that a small but very active core of USPTO customers are carrying out very aggressive alpha-testing of that system. Continue reading “You can thank your alpha-testers (and you can thank the USPTO)”

Setting up a tripwire for new filings in EFS-Web and Patentcenter

(Note:  this tripwire feature is feature request FR7.  The “last 30 ack receipts” feature is feature request FR4.)

(Update:  Ideascale does not seem to work any more.  For example this very suggestion by the person mentioned below is no longer to be seen in the Ideascale system.)

In this posting I will talk about three things — a feature that USPTO ought to implement in EFS-Web and in Patentcenter alpha — and a reminder of the existence of the Ideascale system which USPTO has set up for receiving suggestions — and a thanks to a member of the patent community who used Ideascale to offer up the feature that I am now going to write about.

The feature is, USPTO ought to set it up in EFS-Web and in Patentcenter so that it is possible to set up tripwires.  By tripwire I mean a function so that in an automatic way, any new filing of a document by a filer would get communicated to some particular pre-established email address. Continue reading “Setting up a tripwire for new filings in EFS-Web and Patentcenter”