“Last 40 ack receipts” function in Patentcenter fails to be visible to colleagues

This blog article describes the second of two defects in USPTO’s effort to bring the “last 40 ack receipts” function of EFS-Web forward into Patentcenter. This follows up on my report in this blog article of a first defect in the way this was implemented in Patentcenter.

The Patentcenter developers have said from the beginning that one design requirement for Patentcenter is to replicate each feature of EFS-Web (and each feature of PAIR).  One feature of EFS-Web upon which many users rely is the “last 40 ack receipts” feature.  One of the defining aspects of this feature in EFW-Web was that anybody who had access to the login account being used was able to see the ack receipts.  There are many situations in which this visibility to persons other than the actual filer is crucial to office workflow.  

A typical situation is where an office has a goal that people with docketing responsibilities will always be able to learn of any e-filing task that has been carried out, regardless of who did the e-filing.  One example of this is the filer who forgets to tell the docket desk that he or she e-filed something.  In the old days of EFS-Web, everybody in an office would share a user ID and password.  This meant that the docket desk people could log in to EFS-Web (using the shared user ID) and could click on “last 40 ack receipts”, and could learn right away that a new patent application had been filed, or that a follow-on document had been filed, or that a fee had been paid.

But the way that “View Receipt History” has been implemented in Patentcenter fails to bring this function forward.  It seems that the only person who can see an ack receipt in the VRH page is the exact person who did the e-filing.  So for example if a second patent practitioner in the office is responsible for docketing, that second patent practitioner’s VRH page does not display the ack receipt at all.  

USPTO needs to set it up so that if I have access to a particular application in my Patentcenter workbench, my VRH page should list all of the recently filed ack receipts in that application, regardless of whether it was I who did the e-filing or whether it was someone else who did the e-filing.

This is trouble ticket CP38.

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