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Director's Forum: A Blog from USPTO's Leadership

Friday Aug 31, 2012

Announcing Text2PTO: Online Filing of Your Patent Applications as Text Documents

Blog by Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO David Kappos

Efficiency drives innovation, and the USPTO is determined to offer innovators the most efficient patent application process in the world. The latest improvement we plan to introduce to the application process will enable our Office to accept patent application submissions in text based format. This is the same format that most applicants currently use to prepare patent applications for filing. We are looking to implement this new service, which we call Text2PTO, with the goal of providing online filers significant benefits over their existing filing experience, while minimizing changes to their existing work practices. We will be working with you in the development process to get it just right.

Text2PTO builds on our existing Electronic Filing System, EFS-Web, improving the ease and functionality of electronic filing. Its benefits to applicants as well as to USPTO are many. It increases the accuracy and integrity of the application file, while eliminating the need for applicants to create three separate PDF documents for abstract, claims, and specification. Applications filed using Text2PTO will be able to use new USPTO analytical reporting tools, permitting some formalities checks as well as access to information related to patent families, continuity, claim dependencies and other application content. The overall process will result in significant efficiency gains throughout the authoring, prosecution and publication process.

How will Text2PTO work? Applicants will write their applications using a word processing tool as they currently do. Then, instead of converting the file to a PDF, they will simply upload the text file to the USPTO. As part of the text submission process, a web based validation tool will be available (but not required) to assist applicants in preparing their documents for submission and identify incorrectly formatted or inappropriately included content such as track changes and document properties information. Formalities checks—such as word counts, application part identification, and searching for legal terms--can be done prior to submission. Warning messages and detailed help will be provided through Text2PTO to assist the online filer in creating a properly formatted document for submission.

Text2PTO will provide applicants the ability to retrieve a copy of the text-based document from the USPTO at any time throughout prosecution, facilitating review and/or amendment. If desired, the Text2PTO amendment validation tool will generate the properly formatted mark-up language based on the types of changes made to the document.

On the USPTO side we anticipate significant cost savings, as we will eliminate the need to scan, OCR, and error-correct incoming patent applications. We will pass these savings on to applicants through filing fee discounts for applications submitted through Text2PTO.

We are seeking stakeholder feedback during the developmental phase of the project. We are holding focus sessions over the next few months to obtain input as we develop specific project requirements. As we develop this new system we will also be looking for volunteers from the stakeholder community to participate in user-center design sessions and the test pilot group.

To get involved, contact our eFiling Modernization Project team at efilingmodernization@uspto.gov.

And as always, comments in response to this blog post are welcome.

Comments:

This is a great initiative. Please consider accepting paired submissions. Invite folks to submit a PDF generated directly from a Word document, without scanning, along with their Word document. We have all had parts of a Word document change or move around as the Word document goes from one system to another, even within the same office. It is scary to not know exactly how a document will appear within the PTO's system, even if this fear is well-founded. It would be attractive to give PTO a PDF produced from a Word document, as an immutable record of what we submitted, along with giving you the Word document. We would get certainty of appearance, because PDF documents print with the same appearance across printers and OS platforms, and you would get import ready text for your production systems. We would be happy to certify that the Word document submitted is the document from which the PDF file was generated.

Posted by Ernie Beffel on August 31, 2012 at 08:46 PM EDT #

Text2PTO is one of the best news for filers who struggled in the past with conversions to pdf, compatibility and font embedding issues, file size and margins just to mention a few impediments. I would go so far to proposing a template with mandatory fillable fields, scientific formula display at no extra cost, with the addition of side notes for suggestion to corrective action. Great work from PTO.

Posted by Dramos Kalapodas on September 05, 2012 at 09:14 AM EDT #

I have found that a document prepared in WordPerfect X5 converts perfectly everytime to high resolution PDF with Acrobat Pro X and is excellent for viewing at 64x standard page size. Also the file size is only 3.57 KB for a 150 word abstract. Paragraph numbering with 3 leading zeros [0001] and with subparagraphs indented and indentified [0001.01] in relation to paragraph numbers that were changed after initial filing, the applicant/inventor can in his or her mind know exactly how the application is reading while progressing through the USPTO prosecution system. Of course I would be happy to send application in the WordPerfect text as well. If the USPTO decided that they wanted to reformat the application in some way, then I could simply amend my own WordPerfect files so that I convert them into Acrobat X pdf in exactly the way that the USPTO wants to see the application registered for filing, or publication.

Posted by Frank Stromotich on September 24, 2012 at 07:57 PM EDT #

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