USPTO quietly fixes CP99

Everybody knows that you cannot enter the national phase twice from a single PCT application.  Everybody, that is, except:

    • the people at the USPTO who wrote the software for Patent Center (see Patent Center bug CP99), and
    • the USPTO presenter who, on September 19, 2023, said (listen to the recording) that it was intentional that Patent Center was designed to permit duplicate entries into the US national phase from a single PCT application.

EFS-Web had been correctly programmed all along to guard against this mistake.  If, in EFS-Web, a filer were to attempt to enter the US national phase in a PCT case in which the US national phase had already been entered, a warning would appear.  But the Patent Center developers had failed to bring this feature forward from EFS-Web into Patent Center.  This was Patent Center bug CP99, reported to the USPTO on February 20, 2023.  This was one of many reasons why it had been false for the USPTO to claim that “100%” of the features and functions of Private PAIR and EFS-Web had been brought forward into Patent Center.   (It continues to be false for the USPTO to claim, as it continues to claim, that “100%” of the features and functions of Private PAIR and EFS-Web have been brought forward into Patent Center.)

The Patent Center developers at the USPTO have now quietly corrected this bug in Patent Center.  Now, for the first time starting at about October 11, 2023, if you try to enter the US national phase twice from a single PCT application in Patent Center, a warning pops up.  This problem was reported to the USPTO in February, and it took more than seven months, but the Patent Center developers have now fixed this problem.

It would have been courteous of the USPTO to let us know that it cleared trouble ticket CP99, but USPTO did not do so.  We had to find out by stumbling upon it.

The other corrective step that needed to happen was for the USPTO to send out a correction, perhaps by email, to the people who attended the September 19, 2023 Patent Center training event.  Those people were expressly told by the USPTO presenter that it is possible, and indeed, advisable, to enter the US national phase multiple times from a single PCT application, for example if there had been a finding of a lack of unity of invention in the international phase.  (Listen to the recording here.)  But the USPTO has not sent out any such correction.

One Reply to “USPTO quietly fixes CP99”

  1. Thanks for the good job of keeping on the USPTO. The USPTO is truly ancompletely disfunctional office. The new patent center is a piece of garbage. You do a great service to the community exposing what the USPTO is. Unfortunately I do not believe that there will be any change…

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