The "eRed Folder" Paper Tail at the USPTO
If you’ve never been an examiner, then you might not know that examiners prepare file folders with the documents that are to be sent off to the LIE to get counted and mailed. These folders are red in the [Technology Centers] and green in the Academy. The left side contains documents that are scanned but not mailed (internal information), and the right side contains everything that will be sent off to applicant or applicant’s representative.
Those people who are hotelling have still had to (as far as I know) assemble their folders at home and bring them in for counting during their one hour on campus. In short, despite all the automation tools the office has supplied us with, they are still tethered to paper and the minor nuisance of hauling folders back and forth between home and work.
While that may not seem like an important point, it is one step closer to allowing examination to be done entirely through telecommuting, and opening up positions to people all over the country. Being able to send your eRed folder to your SPE to be signed or returned with corrections means that hoteling may be an option to even those without partial signatory authority. GS-11s may be able to work from home. This is my own speculation, by the way, not anything I heard during training.
I have mixed feelings about this process; while I would love the freedom to be able to work from home, I have also heard others discussing the possible ramifications to examiners’ salaries if the demand for positions was to suddenly go up.
If nothing else, I like that I can now have PDFs of every document I put into the file wrapper for local storage. Believe it or not, I think that’s even better than bookmarks.