USPTO e-commerce systems continue to stumble

USPTO online systems continue to stumble or crash.  Much of this, I expect, is a consequence of cobbled-together temporary fixes to the massive UPS failures that happened on December 22.  Here’s a brief recap of today’s situation:

  • Newly filed patent applications and entries into the US national phase that were filed on January 5 seem to have been lost.  USPTO is trying to recover them but after more than a week they have not been recovered.  See further comments on this “January 5 problem” in a later blog post.
  • EFS-Web petitions that are supposed to be auto-granted are all broken.  We have a case that is scheduled to issue next Tuesday and we need to get it withdrawn from issue.  The auto-granting petition in EFS-Web keeps freezing and crashing.  EBC has acknowledged this as a known problem.  Hopefully USPTO will get this system repaired before next Tuesday.
  • Document display within TSDR has been on-again-off-again for the past couple of days.  As of right this moment it is on again.
  • ETAS sometimes crashes when you try to pay the recordation fee.  (EPAS does not have this problem because of course patent recordations are free of charge!)  There is a complicated workaround that involves saving the submission and taking off your shoes and putting them back on again.  (Just kidding.)
  • Visibility of recently filed documents in IFW is nonexistent.  Newly filed documents are supposed to be visible within one hour.  We are pretty consistently seeing delays of 18 hours or more before a document is visible in IFW.  This is a Big Problem.
  • EFS-Web ack receipts and fee payment pages are flaky.  This happened to many cases filed December 22 and December 27.  Even now as of January 14, USPTO has not yet provided accurate ack receipts and fee payment pages.  This is happening again now on new EFS-Web filings as of January 13.  The short-term survival steps for customers include checking the “fees” tab in PAIR and looking up the transaction in Financial Profile.

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