USPTO reveals updated Web filing system

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office revealed an updated version of the Web-based Electronic Filing System, EFS-Web. The agency hopes the new system will cut down on the enormous amount of paper that the agency processes every day.

“We get an enormous amount of patent-related paper,” said Brigid Quinn, deputy director of the office of public affairs at the USPTO. More than 2 million pages are scanned and sent to the Patent Office every week.

The new system allows patent filers to submit PDF applications through the USPTO Web site. People submitting material get an immediate acknowledgement that it was received. Older versions of the system sent confirmation postcards through the mail.

A previous approach to EFS-Web that was established in 2000 required users to install software on their own computers that translated applications into a XML format. Some applicants complained that this was a burden because of firewall and security issues with corporations. Only 14,000 of the 409,000 patent applications filed last year were sent electronically.

“It just didn’t really lend itself to widespread adoption,” said Bill Stryjewski, e-commerce project manager at the USPTO. Under the new version of the EFS-Web, more than 20 percent of all applications have been filed electronically in the last month.

With the new system, Stryjewski said, paperwork won't get lost and there will be fewer transcription errors.

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