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

Tuesday Sep 13, 2011

Improved Efficiency with ePetitions

Guest blog by USPTO Commissioner for Patents Bob Stoll

In March we began offering petitioners the option to automate the filing and decision process for eight patent-related petition types through our new ePetitions system. The ease and efficiency of ePetitions have been well received by petitioners and now account for nearly 25% of submissions among the eight patent-related petition types.

On average, non web-based petition filings can take up to 30 days to be decided and 38% are dismissed for insufficient or incorrect information. ePetitions are granted immediately via a web-based interface that ensures petitioners correctly submit all required items. If submission requirements are not met at any time throughout the process, error messages appear to help petitioners identify any missing, incomplete, or invalid data requirements necessary for compliance with petition rules. 

Once all of the items are correctly filled out, EFS Web uses an electronic form which instantly generates and uploads all necessary forms and automatically grants the ePetition. Petitioners then receive an acknowledgement receipt containing the petition grant letter as confirmation that the ePetition has been approved.

The time savings and accuracy using ePetitions is especially advantageous for critical petitions where an automatic petition grant could reduce delays in the restoration of patent rights, expedite a withdrawal from representation and redirect Office correspondence to the new correspondence address, and initiate the revival of an abandoned application to save patent term adjustment time.

ePetitions represents a major step forward for us providing the USPTO with an opportunity to improve its operational efficiency by reallocating resources and by eliminating the time required to receive, upload to PAIR (Patent Application Information Retrieval), docket, and decide petitions, as well as any rework associated repeating these steps for dismissals.

The eight Web-based ePetitions available via EFS-Web are:

1. Request for Withdrawal as Attorney or Agent of Record (37 CFR 1.36)
2. Petition to Withdraw from Issue after Payment of the Issue Fee (37 CFR 1.313(c)(1) or (2))
3. Petition to Withdraw from Issue after Payment of the Issue Fee (37 CFR 1.313(c)(3))
4. Petition to Withdraw from Issue after Payment of the Issue Fee (37 CFR 1.313(c)(1) or (2) with Assigned Patent Number)
5. Petition to Withdraw from Issue after Payment of the Issue Fee (37 CFR 1.313(c)(3) with Assigned Patent Number)
6. Petition to Accept Late Payment of Issue Fee - Unintentional Late Payment (37 CFR 1.137(b))
7. Petition for Revival of an Application based on Failure to Notify the Office of a Foreign or International Filing (37 CFR 1.137(f))
8. Petition for Revival of an Application for Continuity Purposes Only (37 CFR 1.137(b))

For more specific details on our ePetitions process, please visit the USPTO’s ePetition Resource Page where you can access the ePetition Quick Start Guide and Web-based ePetition Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).

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