In a recent blog post I said “USPTO gets it right — new way to pay issue fees”. Turns out I was mistaken. USPTO did not get it right when implementing its new way to pay issue fees. What a disappointment.
In that recent blog post I noted that USPTO has worked out a new way to pay patent issue fees. The old way was that the filer would hand-key information into Form PTO-85B and would then upload an image of the form into EFS-Web. The later workflow was that some USPTO person would then hand-key the information into the data capture system to appear in the issued patent. This information included the assignee name and city and country, and the “attorney, agent or firm” information.
We try to keep close track of this stuff. We had been seeing that an average of 2.8% of the time, the USPTO people fat-fingered something from the 85B. About 2.8% of the time, we were forced to request a Certificate of Correction from the USPTO to correct the Office mistake.
So in September of 2015 I was delighted to see what I thought was an improvement. USPTO released the “eprocessing” version of Form 85B, in which the filer could paste characters into some blanks on a web-based form. Silly me, I assumed that (a) USPTO had surely set this up so that the filer’s characters would auto-load into the data capture system and (b) the USPTO error rate would drop to zero due to the auto-loading.
Turns out I was wrong. In one of our patents that issued recently, in which we had used the “eprocessing” version of Form 85B, USPTO misspelled one of the items of information on the front page of the granted patent.
Turns out USPTO is even now hand-keying the issue fee information into the data capture system.
Indeed if I review all of the cases in which our firm has paid an issue fee using the new “eprocessing” version of Form 85B, the USPTO screwed it up twenty percent of the time. This is a much higher error rate than before.
What a disappointment!