Just now I logged in at Patent Center and tried to view my outgoing correspondence. I was greeted with a big red error message saying Search Limit Reached. This is bug number CP178. I opened EBC ticket number 1-843318724. EBC agent 50 checked with the Patent Center team and reported back that this is a feature, not a bug. This feature blocks data mining, he explained.
I pointed out that the workaround is to use PAIR, and I pointed out that PAIR is going to get shut down tonight. Agent 50 had nothing to say about this. I assume that Agent 50, like everybody else in the EBC, is under strict orders not to say that the workaround for a Patent Center bug is to use PAIR or EFS-Web instead.
This is, of course, completely unacceptable. In the past year I have paid over a hundred thousand dollars in fees to the USPTO. As a paying customer, I should be able to view my outgoing correspondence.
What is really going on here, of course, is that the Patent Center developers failed to design Patent Center in a way that would scale. As of a week ago, almost half of all user activity was on PAIR and EFS-Web. Those users are being forced to migrate their work to Patent Center, and clearly Patent Center is inadequate for the present amount of traffic. If PAIR gets shut down tonight, as USPTO has said it plans to do, then the inadequacy of Patent Center to scale will only be exacerbated.
I guess for now I will have to wait for the time, maybe days or weeks from now, when the EBC gets back to me to report the progress on clearing this EBC ticket.