08.21.18

The USPTO Still Down (for Nearly a Week): Multiple Systems Not Accessible

Posted in America, Patents at 7:09 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

As of minutes ago, the popup in almost every page still says this: “A number of USPTO online business systems remain offline. We understand the impact to our users and the frustrations that come from having such systems down unexpectedly. The USPTO is working hard to resolve the issue and we will continue to provide updates to you. The latest information on alternative methods of filing and payment and our systems status can always be found on our website. More updates will be forthcoming.”

Water goes down

Summary: Putting the patent system at the hands of an office that cannot cope with science and technology even internally; it will soon be over a week of downtime

THE EPO and USPTO both have questionable CIOs, as we last noted a few days ago when dealing with USPTO downtimes (almost a week now!).

“What might they do to prevent similar incidents in the future?”While patent maximalists like Eibhlin Vardy carry on with their foolish celebration of patent maximalism (sharply increasing patent granting levels/volumes) the USPTO’s systems are still down and yesterday the British media belatedly picked up the story, under the headline “Face-PALM: US Patent and Trademark Office database down for 5 days and counting” (“if the USPTO would be down forever,” Benjamin Henrion told them, “no one would care, except patent applicants.”)

To quote:

The US Patent and Trademark Office has taken a novel approach to dealing with the problem of patent trolls. The solution? Shut everything down.

The Patent Application Locating and Monitoring (PALM) database forms the backbone of a distressingly large number of US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) systems and, during some maintenance at 04:30 ET on 15 August, “experienced an issue”.

More than five days on, PALM is still down. As such, this is more akin to the Titanic experiencing an iceberg “issue” rather than a straightforward turn it off and on again.

Systems impacted include the USPTO’s Electronic Filing System (EFS), the Public and Private Patent Application Retrieval (PAIR) systems and the Electronic Patent Assignment (ePAS) among others.

36 hours after the outage began, the USPTO kicked off its contingency systems so users could at least still file patents (in theory), if not access saved submissions. Users were not convinced.

The latest on this is that the core functions have been down for almost (soon over) a week now! “The PTO’s current best estimate is that service will be restored sometime on Tuesday August 21, 2018,” we read yesterday. “The PTO has announced that it will refund the extra fees paid due to paper filing. However, system failures will not generally provide an excuse for filing delays.”

“…the USPTO says it’s promoting technical innovation/advancement while failing/faltering on the very basics itself.”What might they do to prevent similar incidents in the future? Will anyone(s) be fired for this? Either way, technical incompetence best describes what we’re seeing. One might also joke, in light of the massive budget at hand, that the USPTO says it’s promoting technical innovation/advancement while failing/faltering on the very basics itself. This epic catastrophe might at least encourage outsiders, including journalists, to assess the nepotism scandals (or at least substantiated allegations) at the relevant departments.

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