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Archived updates for Monday, February 20, 2006

USPTO's EFS-Web Patent Filing System Launching March 17

For those who have not yet used the USPTO's EFS-Web Beta Test for electronic patent filings, Carl Oppedahl recently offered his firm's experience on the EFS Listserv:
One or two of our staff people were among the first anywhere in the world to use EFS-Web, and they filed a couple of patent applications, a couple of voluminous IDSs (the kind that are all foreign and non-patent references, and EFS-Web allows you to file them as PDFs), a couple of responses to Office Actions, and a couple of Entries into the US National Stage from PCT. All within the first day or two.

They had not taken special training, they had not studied the system in detail. They simply logged in to EFS-Web and started surfing and attaching files and clicking the "submit" button.

It is not easy to find words to describe the manner in which EFS-Web spread within our office. "Like wildfire", I suppose. By December 8, one week after launch, *no
one* in our office was filing *anything* on paper except in those cases where it was simply impossible to do it through EFS-Web.

Our e-filing percentage for new US utility and provisional applications had been hovering around 60%, and by December 8 it was 100%. Our e-filing percentage for follow-on papers (IDSs, responses to Office Actions, responses to Notices of Missing Parts) increased from zero percent on November 30 to 100% by December 8. Our e-filing percentage for entry into US national stage increased from zero percent on
November 30 to 100% by December 8. The percentages have remained rock-steady at 100% in the two or so months that have passed since then.

It is important to appreciate that this jump to 100% was *not* due to any pressure
from clients, *nor* was it due to orders from the management of the firm to the
people who handle the filings. This jump happened simply because each one of our
people, from administrative assistants to attorneys, realized that a filing on EFS-Web is easier to do than a filing on paper or by fax. Takes less time, requires fewer walking steps to photocopiers etc.

If there had been pressure from management of our firm to use EFS-Web, it would have been for the simple reason that with EFS-Web we don't have to docket to watch for the post card and we don't have to docket to check to see that our IDS or other filing has eventually been scanned by USPTO personnel into IFW. We figure those two things that we don't any longer need to docket (because we can confirm everything within seconds of the e-filing) save us ten or twenty dollars per filing in terms of internal time and cost for paper docketing and computer docketing that does not need to be done any longer. But on December 1, we did not appreciate this particular no-need-to-docket benefit and so we were not pressuring our people prompted by this benefit.

No, our people went to 100% e-filing simply because they preferred it to the old way.
To join the patents.com EFS-Web list serve, send email to imailsrv@oppedahl.com, and in the body of the email message, say "subscribe efs-web-l Homer Simpson", using your name instead of Homer Simpson's name.

The official release date for EFS-Web to get released to the general public is March 17, 2006. That is three weeks from this coming Tuesday. Even if you won't be able to use EFS-Web until that day, you might want to consider joining the EFS-Web list server (using the instructions listed above) in case the postings might be helpful to you in preparing for launch day on March 17.
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