USPTO Announces New Electronic Filing System (EFS-Web) Contingency Option

by Brian Fletcher on May 21, 2010

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is increasing the availability of its patent electronic filing system, Electronic Filing System-Web (EFS-Web) by providing a new contingency option when the primary portal to EFS-Web has an unscheduled outage. Previously, the entire EFS-Web system is not available to the users during such an outage. The contingency option in EFS-Web will permit users to sign-on as unregistered EFS-Web users to file new applications, national stage submissions under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) submitted with the basic national fee necessary to enter the national stage, requests for reexamination, and certain petitions, during an unscheduled outage of the primary portal to EFS-Web.

Currently, approximately eighty-seven percent of new patent applications are being electronically filed via EFS-Web. Applicants experience many benefits from filing their applications and follow-on documents electronically. For example, applicants promptly receive an electronic acknowledgment receipt of their electronic submissions and have the ability to review their applications or documents via the Patent Application Information Retrieval (PAIR) system within an hour after the USPTO receives the electronic submissions. Furthermore, independent inventors and other small entity applicants who file their applications electronically via EFS-Web receive a discount on the basic filing fee. Previously, when the primary portal to EFS-Web is unavailable during an unscheduled outage, the entire EFS-Web system is unavailable to users. The new contingency option in EFS-Web will minimize any inconvenience to users who wish to file a new application during an unscheduled outage of the primary portal to EFS-Web.

Effective May 19, 2010, the USPTO will provide EFS-Web Contingency Option to users to file new applications, national stage submissions under 35 U.S.C. 371, requests for reexamination, and certain petitions when the primary portal to EFS-Web is unavailable during an unscheduled outage. The USPTO will post a notification of any unscheduled outage of the primary portal to EFS-Web and provide the link to EFS-Web Contingency Option on the EFS-Web Internet page here. The EFS-Web Contingency Option will have the same functionality as EFS-Web for unregistered e-filers. It will permit users to sign on as unregistered EFS-Web users to file new applications, national stage submissions under 35 U.S.C. 371 submitted with the basic national fee necessary to enter the national stage, requests for reexamination, and certain petitions. However, other follow-on documents and fee payments filed after the initial submission of the application or reexamination request (e.g., amendments and replies to Office actions) cannot be filed using EFS-Web Contingency Option.

Specifically, EFS-Web Contingency Option will only permit users to electronically file the following items as unregistered EFS-Web users:

1. Provisional patent applications under 35 U.S.C. 111(b);

2. Nonprovisional utility patent applications under 35 U.S.C. 111(a) (including reissue utility patent applications);

3. Nonprovisional design patent applications under 35 U.S.C. 171 (including reissue design patent applications);

4. International applications under PCT Article 11 for filing in the United States Receiving Office;

5. National stage submissions under 35 U.S.C. 371 submitted with the basic national fee necessary to enter the national stage;

6. Requests for ex parte reexamination under 35 U.S.C. 302 for utility or design patents;

7. Requests for inter partes reexamination under 35 U.S.C. 311 for utility or design patents;

8. Petitions to make special based on age under 37 CFR 1.102(c) when filed as an e-petition using the EFS-Web SB130 form, for the automatic processing of the e-petition;

9. Petitions to accept an unintentionally delayed payment of maintenance fee under 37 CFR 1.378(c) when filed as an e-petition using the EFS-Web SB66 form, for the automatic processing of the e-petition; and

10. Petition to make special under the accelerated examination program (must be filed with a nonprovisional utility patent application under 35 U.S.C. 111(a)).

Documents filed via EFS-Web Contingency Option as part of the submissions listed above must meet the same file format requirements established for EFS-Web, e.g., file size and PDF embedded-font requirements. Applicant will not be required to, and should not, resubmit the application or document when the primary portal to EFS-Web is once again available. Any resubmission of an application will result in filing a duplicate application and, if applicant pays the filing fees again when submitting the duplicate application, no refund will be provided. Registered e-filers who have uploaded documents to a Saved Submission package in EFS-Web will not be able to access those Saved Submission documents in EFS-Web Contingency Option. Applicants can submit on-line fee payments by selecting fees on the fee calculation screen and completing their payment at time of submission (i.e., chose the “Yes! I want to pay now” button rather than “No–I will pay later” button).

When the primary portal to EFS-Web is unavailable during an unscheduled outage, applicants may also file new applications, national stage submissions under 35 U.S.C. 371 submitted with the basic national fee necessary to enter the national stage, and reexamination requests, by hand-delivery to the USPTO, or Express Mail from the United States Postal Service (USPS) in accordance with 37 CFR 1.10, to establish the filing date or national stage entry date. New applications, national stage submissions under 35 U.S.C. 371 submitted with the basic national fee necessary to enter the national stage, and reexamination requests cannot be submitted by facsimile transmission, and certificate of mailing procedures under 37 CFR 1.8 do not apply to these items. The EFS-Web Contingency Option does not permit follow-on fee payments and follow-on documents other than those listed above. Applicants may file the documents or fee payments by: (1) Facsimile transmission, (2) first class mail with a certificate of mailing in accordance with 37 CFR 1.8, (3) hand-delivery to the USPTO, or (4) Express Mail from USPS in accordance with 37 CFR 1.10. Documents that are required to establish the filing date of an application (e.g., a missing drawing figure or page of the specification) cannot be submitted by facsimile transmission, and certificate of mailing procedures under 37 CFR 1.8 do not apply to these documents.

The Federal Register notice is here.

{ 2 comments }

khaled kenawy November 12, 2011 at 4:55 am

Please,
I want registration in EFS , for I have invention Patent. How?

Thank you
khaled kenawy

Brian Fletcher November 13, 2011 at 4:48 pm

Hi Khaled,

The USPTO has some very good EFS resources on their web site at http://www.uspto.gov/patents/process/file/efs/guidance/index.jsp

The Patent Electronic Business Center (EBC) is the USPTO Patents support organization that provides customer support for patent application electronic filing and other e-commerce matters not related to substantive patent prosecution or legal issues. These include but are not limited to customer submission and access issues as well as general assistance with the various e-Commerce systems. Systems that are supported include EFS-Web, Public and Private PAIR. The EBC also issues, administers, and supports the use of customer numbers and digital certificates for the access and use of EFS-Web and Private PAIR. The hours of operations of the EBC are Monday through Friday 6 a.m. – midnight (EST/EDT). The EBC can be reached by telephone at 866-217-9197 (toll free) or 571-272-4100. The EBC can be reached by email at ebc@uspto.gov.

Thank you for posting your question.

Best regards,

Brian

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