e-Trademarks listserv is broken

(Update:  Namecheap has restored the function of the e-Trademarks listserv.   It took 56 hours and 24 emails back and forth, but yes the function of the listserv has been restored.)

Hello folks.  The e-Trademarks listserv has been broken for about 36 hours now.   What triggered this was that on May 1, 2024 the listserv system did what it always does on the first day of every month — it sends out monthly membership reminders.  In the case of the e-Trademarks listserv this was about 1227 email messages with nearly identical subject lines and very similar email body texts.  Our hosting service provider (Namecheap) then compared this number (1227) with the stated limit (for our type of hosting) which is ten thousand email messages per hour, and somehow wrongly concluded that we sent so many emails that it supposedly violated the stated limit.  And Namecheap imposed a shutdown on the e-Trademarks listserv.

Yes, I know, if a person carries out complicated math, a person can eventually arrive at a conclusion that the number 1227 is actually smaller than 10000 and not larger than 10000.  And I have tried to explain this to the “legal and abuse” department at Namecheap and I have thus far apparently failed to make myself clear to them on this seemingly subtle point.

This is not the first time that Namecheap has wrongly tagged our listserv traffic as supposedly being spam.  Yes, what happens often is that hundreds or a thousand emails get sent at the same time, with identical subject lines.  But that is exactly what a listserv is supposed to do!  If the listserv were to fail to send hundreds or a thousand emails get sent at the same time, with identical subject lines, that would mean the listserv is failing at its stated function.  I have gone through this bad movie with Namecheap several times, including the following:

    • May 1, 2024, case number PRB-650-91372
    • February 21, 2024, case number JET-420-91825
    • November 6, 2023, case number LZW-313-84957
    • January 9, 2023, case number KHX-716-74404

In the previous three cases, what eventually happened was Namecheap realizing that they were wrong to shut down the listserv and then they corrected their mistake.  Now we have this most recent case and again I guess it will be a matter of time before Namecheap corrects its mistake.

Okay, I have vented.  Thank you, readers, for listening.

Some time, hopefully soon, the Namecheap people will follow along with my explanation that 1227 is smaller than 10000 instead of larger.  And they will restore the e-trademarks listserv to service.

A reminder of why I like VOIP.MS as our telephone service provider

Our firm has been using VOIP.MS as our telephone service provider since 2017, with no regrets.  Across those seven years we have saved at least twenty thousand dollars compared with what our telephone services would have cost from any other service provider.  This blog article provides a reminder of one of the reasons that I like VOIP.MS, namely geographic server diversity.  Continue reading “A reminder of why I like VOIP.MS as our telephone service provider”

The Trademark Office corrects its databases

About thirteen hours ago I posted a blog article noting that the Trademark Office made lots of mistakes when it issued six thousand trademark registrations yesterday.  In that blog article, I wrote:

I imagine this blog article will eventually prompt the Trademark Office to correct its databases for the six thousand registrations that issued yesterday.  I wonder how many days that will take.

The blog article also got cited in the e-Trademarks listserv.

We now have our answer.  It took about thirteen hours.  Just now, corrected Notices of Registration have arrived and they actually cite the registration number instead the way it was before, with a gap in the text where the registration number should be.  Previously the registration number was missing from TSDR but as of now, the Trademark Office has updated TSDR to cite the registration number.  Previously, the “maintenance” tab was missing but now it is there.

For those keeping score at home, no, nobody at the Trademark Office has gotten in touch to thank me for pointing out this problem.

USPTO trademark databases broken

click to enlarge

(Update:  the USPTO fixed its mistakes — see blog article.)

Yesterday (Tuesday, April 9, 2024) was registration day for two of my trademark applications.  I know this because, among other things, I am in possession of the official Certificates of Registration, which the USPTO cryptographically signed on March 24, 2024.  Which means that the USPTO has known the registration numbers since at least as long ago as March 24 (more than two weeks ago).  But the USPTO trademark databases are broken.  Continue reading “USPTO trademark databases broken”

Some VOIP analog telephone adapters are very feature-rich

click to enlarge

In the old days, a POTS (plain old telephone service) telephone, also sometimes called an “analog phone”, got its dial tone from a pair of copper wires that led to a telephone company central office.  The distance between the telephone and the central office might be miles.  The telephone company might have sophisticated equipment in the central office that can test for faults on the telephone line, such as spurious voltages or shorted connections.

Nowadays if the customer is trendy, modern, and up-to-date, the POTS telephone will get its dial tone from an ATA (analog telephone adapter).  At above right we see a functional blog diagram including an ATA.  It turns out that some ATAs have sophisticated circuitry, like that in a legacy telephone company central office, that can test for faults on the telephone line, such as spurious voltages or shorted connections.  Continue reading “Some VOIP analog telephone adapters are very feature-rich”

USPTO gives legal advice, and it’s flat wrong

click to enlarge

When I was first in practice, you could purchase up to three months of extensions of time to pay an Issue Fee.  That ended around a decade ago.  For the past decade, the situation has been that if you are as little as one day late in paying your Issue Fee, the application will go abandoned.  You would then be faced with the prospect of having to pay a USPTO fee of $2100 (or $840, or $420) along with a Petition to Revive, to overcome the abandonment.

With this in mind, here is a screen shot from Patent Center in an application that has received a Notice of Allowance.  For this allowed US patent application, the legal advice from the USPTO is:

Payment of fees during this stage of the application process is optional, but failure to pay fees in a timely manner may cause delays in the processing of your application.

This legal advice is, as any experienced practitioner knows, flatly false.  In no way is the payment of the Issue Fee “optional”.  And the consequence of failing to pay the Issue Fee “in a timely manner” does not merely “cause delays in the processing” — it abandons the application.

For an experienced practitioner, this wrong legal advice probably routinely gets ignored.  But in recent years the USPTO has done lots of outreach urging inventors to file pro se.  It is surely only a matter of time before some pro se inventor believes this wrong advice and ends up with no patent at all.

Continue reading “USPTO gives legal advice, and it’s flat wrong”

How law firms and corporations are dealing with USPTO’s non-DOCX penalty

Some firms and corporations are trying to figure out what to do about the USPTO’s DOCX initiative (the $400 non-DOCX penalty) that came into effect on January 17, 2024.  Other firms and corporations have already decided what to do about the DOCX initiative.  In recent days I surveyed firms and corporations about their present approaches to the DOCX initiative.  How many law firms have written to their clients, telling them that the firm refuses to take the risks of filing in DOCX?  How many firms and corporations have decided not to file in DOCX format (meaning that they have decided to pay the non-DOCX penalty)?  How many firms and corporations have decided to file in the DOCX-plus-auxiliary-PDF path?  How many firms and corporations have decided to file in the DOCX-alone path?  Over 150 law firms and corporations responded to the survey.  Read on to see the survey findings.

Continue reading “How law firms and corporations are dealing with USPTO’s non-DOCX penalty”