The Commerce Department's United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has expanded its electronic filing tools with the addition of two new electronic forms for filing Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) documents on line. One e-form allows parties in opposition and cancellation proceedings to notify the TTAB of an address change. Changes of address submitted electronically automatically update TTAB's electronic records. The other e-form is for certain consented motions in oppositions and cancellation proceedings. When parties use the new e-form to file consented motions to suspend proceedings or to extend discovery and testimony dates, the system will, in most cases, automatically send out a TTAB order to both parties granting the motion.
These two new electronic forms are part of a comprehensive electronic workflow system for processing all incoming and outgoing TTAB documents electronically. Other tools in the TTAB system include ESTTA (http://estta.uspto.gov/), which allows parties to a dispute to file documents electronically, and TTABVue (http://ttabvue.uspto.gov), which permits users to view images of trademark dispute-related documents filed since January 2003.
USPTO's operations are almost fully electronic, making patent and trademark processing simpler, faster and more efficient. Approximately 73 percent of USPTO's trademark applications are now filed using USPTO's award-winning Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS), and much of the trademark examination process is automated. The USPTO's electronic patent application processing system, called the Image File Wrapper (IFW), is now used by all patent examiners to review applications. There are over 150 million pages in the system. Its paper equivalent, if placed end-to-end, would wrap around the equator.
Today, anyone with Internet access anywhere in the world can use USPTO's Public PAIR (patent application and information retrieval http://portal.uspto.gov/external/portal/!ut/p/_s.7_0_A/7_0_CH) to track the status of a public patent application as it moves from publication to final disposition and review documents in the official application file, including all decisions made by patent examiners and their reasons for making them.
Since 1998, all patents and federally registered trademarks have been available to the public on the USPTO's website, www.uspto.gov. Today, there are about 2 million active or pending trademark records and nearly 6.8 million patents on the USPTO's website, with thousands more added each week.
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