USPTO PAIR Improvements
Formerly, if your file had a location that was not electronic" (meaning
that the file was a paper file within the USPTO) then there was no image file wrapper (IFW) available in private PAIR for that file.As of this past Friday evening, private PAIR has been enhanced. It now provides images even for paper files. The IFW page for a non-electronic file says this: "This application is officially maintained in paper form. The document images below do NOT comprise the complete contents of the application file wrapper."
A patent office person tells me that the images made available in
IFW for non-electronic files are the following: 1) as-filed document images from USPTO's legacy PACR system, and 2) incoming faxes. Incoming faxes get listed initially as "miscellaneous letter" and are later re-indexed upon review by USPTO personnel. When you are in IFW, a banner lets you know whether you are seeing an "electronic" file (in which case the IFW is the actual patent file for all purposes) or not. If the file you are looking at is a paper file (one having a location that is not "electronic") then IFW will give the message mentioned above, warning you that you cannot be sure that you are seeing the
complete contents of the file.
For practitioners, this is a marvellous enhancement. It permits filers to check the contents of many filed documents even for non-electronic files. For example if you have filed several IDSs you may find that they are not all listed in the transaction history. This permits you to check the IDSs to find out which exact one is the one that has not yet gotten into the file.The USPTO is to be congratulated for adding yet another helpful feature to private PAIR.