(See followup article here.)
Yes the USPTO managed to get its systems more or less functioning by December 28 after the massive crash that ran from December 22 to 27. But even now, two weeks after the crash, applicants are still affected by it daily.
As one example, there was a response to an Office Action that we had hoped to e-file in EFS-Web on December 22. No luck there, the system crash made it impossible to e-file anything then or for some days thereafter. So in this particular case we fax-filed the response. We did that on December 26.
More than a week has passed — five business days — and there is no hint or suggestion in PAIR that we filed a response. Nothing is visible in IFW. Nothing is listed in the Transaction History.
The Office Action to which we responded was one that said “do X and I will allow the case”. The response which we fax-filed does X. This response, if only it were visible to the Examiner, would permit the Examiner to dispose of the case. It would permit our client to receive a Notice of Allowance and to pay the Issue Fee.
But I’d guess that ten times more papers got fax-filed during the period of December 22-27 than would typically have been fax-filed during a normal six-day period. In our experience it normally takes the USPTO a week or more to get a fax-filed document into IFW. I imagine that it will take six weeks or longer for USPTO to work its way out of the massive fax backlog that USPTO now faces.