No outgoing correspondence from USPTO this week?

Over on the patent practitioner’s listserv, alert listserv member Judith Szepesi asked:

I usually get 1-2 things via eOffice Action every day.  I haven’t gotten any emails in the last week.  Not a single one.  Logging in, the last item on PAIR Outgoing Correspondence has a mail room date of August 11, 2015.  I don’t think I have had a break this long since I set up the eOffice Action emails.  Is it just me?

Judith’s question made me feel better, because this week I had been wondering the same thing about our firm’s correspondence from the USPTO.  Wednesday this week we received no correspondence from the USPTO.  Normally we get at least one or two dozen items of correspondence from the USPTO.  And a couple of other days this week we received just two or three items of correspondence instead of the usual one or two dozen items of correspondence.

The explanation might be simply that lots of USPTO people are on vacation this week (or this month).

The other possible explanation might be that there is recently some systemic problem with PAIR.  There have been some occasions in the past when the outgoing correspondence notifications were a few hours or even a day late.  And we have certainly seen quite a few times in recent months when it took a day or more for a newly filed application to show up in PAIR, instead of the promised one hour.

Keep in mind that normally the USPTO posts new outgoing correspondence at 12:01 AM Eastern Time.  Which is why our firm (and usually many other firms, I’d guess) makes it a point to log in at 12:02 AM to download the correspondence so that it can be promptly reported to foreign counsel.  But there have been several dates in recent months when the new outgoing correspondence was not visible at 12:01 AM but was delayed for many hours.

This makes me figure, if there were some weakness in the PAIR system that would sometimes delay the visibility of new correspondence for some hours, maybe that weakness could delay things by a day or more.

So the fact is, I don’t actually know why it is that we had a correspondence-free day from the USPTO this week, and I don’t actually know why we had a couple of other days with much lighter levels of correspondence than usual.

For now, I’m putting my money on a guess that the explanation is simply people being on vacation.

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