AIPLA again asks USPTO to postpone the shutdown of PAIR and EFS-Web

Yesterday the AIPLA wrote a letter to the USPTO, reiterating its earlier request that the USPTO postpone its shutdown of PAIR and EFS-Web from the presently scheduled date of November 8, 2023.  You can see the letter here.  Attached to AIPLA’s letter was an extra copy of AIPLA’s July 28, 2023 slide presentation

By way of background, it was on July 28, 2023 that AIPLA showed the USPTO its nine-page slide presentation.   As I discussed in an earlier blog article, the survey respondents were asked whether they would be comfortable with Private PAIR and EFS Web being shut down in favor of PatentCenter by sometime later this summer.  455 respondents (89%) said no, they would not be comfortable with the shutdown.  Only 58 respondents (11%) said yes, this shutdown should be fine.

The survey asked respondents whether they felt that PatentCenter for full day-to-day use (without Private PAIR or EFS Web as a backup)?  The possible answers were on a scale of 1 to 5 where 5 means “fully ready”.  Here are the responses:

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A mere 2% of respondents said that PatentCenter is “fully ready”.  Even the next step down, a response of “4”, elicited a mere 6% of responses.   A staggering 92% of responses were in the bottom three values of 3, 2, or 1.

On October 18, 2023, representatives of the Patent Center listserv met in person with Commissioner for Patents Vaishali Udupa and her staff, hoping for a two-way discussion of the status of Patent Center, including a postponement of the scheduled shutdown of EFS-Web and PAIR on November 8, 2023.  During the meeting, we pointed to this July 28, 2023 AIPLA survey as one of the reasons why the USPTO ought to pay attention to the views from the Patent Center listserv.  Commissioner Udupa acknowledged that AIPLA had shown the USPTO this survey. She said, however, that the USPTO had had meetings with AIPLA after this. She said that both AIPLA and IPO had given the USPTO positive feedback that they are comfortable with the retirement of PAIR and EFS-Web. She said that both AIPLA and IPO are fine with moving forward with Patent Center.   In her view, the AIPLA’s position on Patent Center had changed since its presentation of the July 28, 2023 AIPLA survey to the USPTO.  In her view, it was unhelpful for us to ask on October 18 that the USPTO pay attention to the July 20, 2023 survey results, since subsequent events had supposedly rendered its findings moot.

During the October 18 meeting, after we heard this from Commissioner Udupa, we told her that we felt that her characterization of the position of AIPLA on these issues was inaccurate.

Now comes AIPLA’s October 30, 2023 letter to the USPTO.  AIPLA’s letter says:

The American Intellectual Property Law Association (“AIPLA”) writes concerning the upcoming transition to Patent Center as a replacement for EFS-Web and Private PAIR by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“Office”). In particular, we write to ask that the Office delay the retirement of the EFS-Web and Private PAIR systems beyond the recently announced November 8, 2023 date.

The letter mentions the July 28, 2023 survey presentation to the USPTO:

AIPLA conducted a survey in early June of this year regarding the transition to Patent Center and retirement of EFS-Web and Private PAIR. We have previously shared the results of the survey with the Office.

The nine-page slide presentation of the results of the survey was attached to this October 30, 2023 letter.

As of today (see countdown timer) there are seven days remaining before the USPTO’s scheduled shutdown of PAIR and EFS-Web.  And as of today there are still over seventy open CP trouble tickets , many of which have been outstanding since as long ago as April of 2020.  As of today there are over fifty outstanding Patent Center feature requests, many of which date from as long ago as April of 2020.  Not one of the feature requests has been implemented by the USPTO.

As of right now, USPTO’s public position is that it will maintain its plan of shutting down PAIR and EFS-Web on November 8, 2023.

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