USPTO tries form conversion

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office began testing a new system last week that enables the agency to convert paper patent applications to electronic format.

The prototype system is based on software developed by the European Patent Office and will help the USPTO get one step closer to having an all-electronic filing system for patents by the end of 2004.

The prototype system scans paper patent applications as images, including the drawings, specifications and examiner decisions associated with the application. All processing and examinations of the applications can then be conducted electronically.

In June, James Rogan, undersecretary of Commerce for intellectual property, released the agency's 21st-Century Strategic Plan, which laid out a goal to deliver a system to process patent applications electronically by Oct. 1, 2004, including electronically capturing all incoming and outgoing paper documents.

Also in June, the agency announced that it had awarded partnership contracts for the electronic filing of patent applications to five companies: Aspen Grove Inc., AutoDocs LLC, First to File Inc., LegalStar Inc. and LexisNexis.

The events in June were an effort to jump-start the agency's efforts to move to an electronic patent application process, according to a USPTO spokesman. From the prototype test begun last week, "we'll learn things. We will build on that experience," he said.

Currently, the amount of electronic filing of patent applications is small. Rogan said in June that only about 2 percent to 3 percent of U.S. patent applications are filed electronically.

About two years ago, the USPTO launched its electronic patent application filing system that allows anyone to file confidential patent application over the Internet.


  • Defense
    Soldiers from the Old Guard test the second iteration of the Integrated Visual Augmentation System (IVAS) capability set during an exercise at Fort Belvoir, VA in Fall 2019. Photo by Courtney Bacon

    IVAS and the future of defense acquisition

    The Army’s Integrated Visual Augmentation System has been in the works for years, but the potentially multibillion deal could mark a paradigm shift in how the Defense Department buys and leverages technology.

  • Cybersecurity
    Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas  (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Lora Ratliff)

    Mayorkas announces cyber 'sprints' on ransomware, ICS, workforce

    The Homeland Security secretary announced a series of focused efforts to address issues around ransomware, critical infrastructure and the agency's workforce that will all be launched in the coming weeks.

Stay Connected