General - Other

  • Once I've filed a patent application (e.g., provisional patent application, nonprovisional patent application) on EFS-Web and received an acknowledgment receipt, can I apply the term "Patent Pending" to products for which the patent application has been filed?

    After a filed provisional patent application is accorded a filing date, one is permitted to apply the term "Patent Pending" to products for which the patent application has been filed. After a filed nonprovisional patent application is accorded a filing date, one is permitted to apply the term "Patent Pending" to products for which the patent application has been filed as long as the nonprovisional patent application is pending.

  • Can I do a test filing on EFS-Web?

    No. EFS-Web is only authorized for filing official submissions. However, please visit the EFS-Web Help and Tutorial Page located at http://www.uspto.gov/ebc/efs_help.html for assistance with filing on EFS-Web.

  • What is EFS-Web?

    EFS-Web is a web-based patent application and document submission solution that utilizes standard web-based screens and prompts to enable you to submit portable document format (PDF) files, ASCII text files, or a PCT-Easy Zip file directly to the USPTO.

  • Can I file a plant patent application through EFS-Web?

    EFS-Web does not accept plant applications.

  • How do I make a suggestion for an improvement of EFS-Web?

    E-mail EFS Feedback Mailbox at EFSFeedback@uspto.gov.

  • Can I file using EFS-Web from a foreign country?

    Yes. If you are filing a new application, you may utilize EFS-Web as an unregistered user if you are filing from the US or another country as a pro se inventor or registered U.S. patent attorney. For a filer to submit follow-on documents from a foreign country, the filer must be a registered user and the document must be signed in accordance with 37 CFR 1.33(b).

  • What is the email address entered on the first EFS-Web screen used for?

    E-mail addresses are used for identification purposes only.

  • What is the best way for a novice to learn the EFS-Web and PAIR systems?

    Please view our EFS-Web Help and Tutorial page on the USPTO website located at http://www.uspto.gov/ebc/efs_help.html

  • What's the benefit to using EFS-Web?

    EFS-Web offers you the ability to file patent applications and other patent documents electronically in a fraction of the time and at substantially less cost than paper filings. You forgo printing, postage, courier costs, and you receive immediate notification that your submission has been received. Unlike paper filings, most new applications submitted electronically can be viewed in Private PAIR within an hour after filing.

  • Is there a spell feature in EFS-Web?

    No, the EFS-Web does not validate actual document content.

  • What types of applications must be submitted through EFS-Web?

    Applications under the Accelerated Examination Program and Pre-Grant Publication requests.

  • Can I file Reissue applications using EFS-Web?

    Yes, you may file design reissue and utlity reissue through EFS Web.

  • Can I file an Accelerated Examination (AE) for a Design application?

    Accelerated Examination can be filed for Design and Non-Reissue Utility applications.

  • How do I access EFS-Web?

    Go to www.uspto.gov, click on Patents on the left hand side of the screen, and click on File Online in EFS-Web.

  • What types of filings may I submit using EFS-Web?

    Registered and Unregistered eFilers may file new Accelerated Exam, Design, Design Reissue, International Application for filing in the US receiving office, Provisional, Reexam, Utility (Utility under 35 USC 111 (a)), Utility Reissue, U.S. National Stage applications under 35 USC 371, ASCII text files (sequence listing, computer listings, mega tables, mathematical formulae, chemical formulae, and 3D protein crystal structures), and Petition under 37 CFR 1.378(c). Registered eFilers may also file follow-on documents and/or fees for previously filed applications, and Pre-grant publications.

  • Do I have to be a U.S. Citizen to participate in the Accelerated Examination (AE) program?

    No, all applicants are invited to participate in the AE program providing they meet the filing requirements. See Accelerated Examination for more information at http://www.uspto.gov/web/patents/accelerated/

  • Can I file certified copies of priority documents via EFS-Web?

    No. Certified copies of priority documents should be submitted by mail. When a document that is required by statute to be certified must be filed, a copy, including a photocopy or facsimile transmission, of the certification is not acceptable. See 37 CFR 1.6(d)(2). An example of such a submission is a certified copy of a foreign patent application filed pursuant to 35 USC 119 or a certified copy of an international application filed pursuant to 35 USC 365. Note, however that it may be possible for the USPTO to retrieve an electronic copy of a priority document through the priority document exchange program. See 37 CFR 1.55(d).

  • How secure are EFS-Web submissions?

    All communications between the end user's computer and the USPTO are encrypted and stored in a secure USPTO database.

  • Does the Petition to Accept Unintentionally Delayed Payment of Maintenance Fee in an Expired Patent, form PTO/SB/66, offer an option to change entity status?

    This petition does include an option to change entity status.

  • Is EFS-Web integrated with Private and Public PAIR?

    Yes. EFS-Web is integrated with Private and Public PAIR. By becoming a Registered e-filer (someone who has a Digital Certificate), EFS-Web submissions are available for viewing in Private PAIR within hours.

  • Can I erase a submission after it has been finally submitted?

    No. As a registered-filer, however, you may file an express abandonment as a follow-on paper to abandon the submission.

  • What are the benefits of being a registered user?

    A registered user can save submissions, submit follow-on applications, and view submitted applications in Private PAIR almost immediately after submission.

  • Should Continuations and Divisionals be filed as new or existing applications in EFS-Web?

    Continuations and Divisionals are considered new applications and should be filed as new applications in EFS-Web. Specific continuity data should be stated in the Application Data Sheet (ADS) or in the first sentence of the specification.

  • Can inventor declarations be filed with electronic signatures?

    Yes, inventors may use an electronic signature pursuant to 37 CFR 1.4(d)(2) such as on the oath or declaration under 37 CFR 1.63. The requirements for an electronic signature, however, are in addition to and do not substitute for the signature requirements specific to 37 CFR 1.63. Thus, an inventor seeking to S-sign a declaration pursuant to 37 CFR 1.63 must meet the signature requirements of both 37 CFR 1.63 and 37 CFR 1.4(d)(2). Pro se inventors can use S-signatures to sign replies to Office actions.

  • How is EFS-Web different from PASAT and EFS-ABX?

    Unlike USPTO's original electronic filing tool, PASAT, and its follow on, ABX, EFS-Web is not a patent application authoring tool, but simply a means allowing you to easily and quickly submit patent applications and related documents electronically as PDF attachments. You choose the tool, process and workflow with which you author your documents; the only requirement is that prior to submitting them via EFS-Web, you first convert them to PDF files.

General - Process - Other - Other

  • How will I receive the filing receipt for my application?

    You will receive the filing receipt by mail via the United States Postal Service.

  • Can I file assignments online?

    Yes, you can file your assignments online through the Electronic Patent Assignment System (EPAS) at: http://epas.uspto.gov/.

  • Why is Accelerated Examination (AE) restricted to e-filing only?

    This is the current established procedure under which the examination of a patent application may be accelerated. Guidelines for Applicants under the Guidelines for Applicants under the New Accelerated Examination Procedure located at: http://www.uspto.gov/web/patents/accelerated/ state you must file the application via EFS-Web.

  • How can misindexing a document affect my submission through EFS-Web?

    Misindexing may delay processing of your application.

  • How will I receive the filing receipt for my application?

    You will receive the filing receipt by mail via the United States Postal Service.

  • Why is Accelerated Examination (AE) restricted to e-filing only?

    This is the current established procedure under which the examination of a patent application may be accelerated. Guidelines for Applicants under the Guidelines for Applicants under the New Accelerated Examination Procedure located at: http://www.uspto.gov/web/patents/accelerated/ state you must file the application via EFS-Web.

  • How can misindexing a document affect my submission through EFS-Web?

    Misindexing may delay processing of your application.

  • Can I file assignments online?

    Yes, you can file your assignments online through the Electronic Patent Assignment System (EPAS) at: http://epas.uspto.gov/.

Formats, Forms & PDF Files - General - Other - Other

  • Do Application Data Sheet (ADS) forms without non-publication requests have to be signed?

    No. The ADS only needs to be signed if a request for nonpublication is indicated.

  • Do Application Data Sheet (ADS) forms without non-publication requests have to be signed?

    No. The ADS only needs to be signed if a request for nonpublication is indicated.

Digital Certificate - General - Other - Other

  • What is a PKI certificate and how can I obtain one?

    A PKI (Public Key Infrastructure) certificate is a digital certificate issued by the USPTO to registered patent attorneys, registered patent agents, independent inventors, and limited recognition practitioners. The PKI certificate ensures your transmission via EFS-Web against unauthorized viewing, and allows you to view recent submissions in Private PAIR. More information regarding the use of Public Key Infrastructure and how to obtain a digital certificate is available at the Patent Electronic Business Center web page at http://www.uspto.gov/ebc/ under "Register Now". It is recommended that EFS users obtain a customer number and digital certificate as soon as possible so that USPTO can provide them with the most complete information and support with regard to their applications as possible.

  • What is a PKI certificate and how can I obtain one?

    A PKI (Public Key Infrastructure) certificate is a digital certificate issued by the USPTO to registered patent attorneys, registered patent agents, independent inventors, and limited recognition practitioners. The PKI certificate ensures your transmission via EFS-Web against unauthorized viewing, and allows you to view recent submissions in Private PAIR. More information regarding the use of Public Key Infrastructure and how to obtain a digital certificate is available at the Patent Electronic Business Center web page at http://www.uspto.gov/ebc/ under "Register Now". It is recommended that EFS users obtain a customer number and digital certificate as soon as possible so that USPTO can provide them with the most complete information and support with regard to their applications as possible.

Process - Other

  • Are Divisional and Continuation Patent Applications only designated on the Application Data Sheet? Will this appear on the acknowledgment receipt?

    Continuation of divisional patent applications can be designated in the specification or the Application Data Sheet. This continuity information will not be present on the acknowledgement receipt.

  • When e-filing, do I have to send hard copies of my filing to the USPTO?

    No. The documents that are submitted through EFS-Web are sufficient.

  • Will I get an application number immediately when I file via EFS Web?

    Yes, you will receive an EFS ID, Application Number, and Confirmation Number on the acknowledgment receipt that is generated at the time of filing.

Formats, Forms & PDF Files - Process - Other - Other

  • What happens if I do not submit a provisional cover sheet when filing my provisional patent application?

    The provisional application will be considered incomplete, and the Office of Initial Patent Examination will issue a Notice of Missing Parts.

  • Do I have to file a signed transmittal form with each submission?

    When filing a new application by EFS-Web, a signed transmittal form or a signed application data sheet (ADS) is recommended for identification purposes. However, a signature is not required for a transmittal form or ADS to obtain a filing date for a new patent application.

  • What is auto-loading?

    Auto-loading is the process of automatically extracting data from the USPTO fillable forms and loading the data into USPTO databases.

  • What happens if I do not submit a provisional cover sheet when filing my provisional patent application?

    The provisional application will be considered incomplete, and the Office of Initial Patent Examination will issue a Notice of Missing Parts.

  • Do I have to file a signed transmittal form with each submission?

    When filing a new application by EFS-Web, a signed transmittal form or a signed application data sheet (ADS) is recommended for identification purposes. However, a signature is not required for a transmittal form or ADS to obtain a filing date for a new patent application.

  • What is auto-loading?

    Auto-loading is the process of automatically extracting data from the USPTO fillable forms and loading the data into USPTO databases.

Process - Troubleshooting - Other - Other

  • How long is the period of inactivity before users will automatically timeout?

    After one hour of inactivity, users will be asked if they would like to extend their session. If no action is taken, the user will time out of the session and lose any unsaved information.

  • How long is the period of inactivity before users will automatically timeout?

    After one hour of inactivity, users will be asked if they would like to extend their session. If no action is taken, the user will time out of the session and lose any unsaved information.

Formats, Forms & PDF Files - Other

  • Where are the fillable forms located on the USPTO website?

    They are located on the forms page

  • Do any of the PDF Fillable Forms need to be "printed" in Acrobat with the "USPTO embedded fonts" properties activated in order to avoid errors?

    No, as long as Adobe Reader 7.0.8 or greater is used.

  • Where can I find the latest versions of USPTO fillable forms?

    The latest versions of USPTO fillable forms are available for download from EFS Forms.

  • What is the average file size of a PDF file?

    The size varies based on the PDF creation tool used, whether the PDF is text-based or image-based, and the number of pages in the document.

  • What is the advantage of using the USPTO Fillable Forms?

    The main advantage is that they are auto-loaded meaning that they do not need to be manually processed, which eliminates errors and provides your information to the USPTO in the exact format that you intended. Please note: If you print and scan this document, then it will not be auto-loaded.

  • What is a multi-doc PDF?

    A multi-doc PDF is a single file that contains more than one document description. If the PDF attached, is a multi-doc document (i.e. the file includes the description, claims, abstract and drawings), please enter the document description and page start and page end for each section.

  • If I have problems with completing a USPTO Fillable Form, what are my options?

    The fillable forms are provided for your convenience, however they are not required. You may scan and attach a completed non-fillable form in EFS-Web.

  • Why can't I fill in the fields for Docket Number, Application Number, and Title on the PDF Fillable forms SB/14 & AIA/14?

    The Application Data Sheet fillable form includes a number of fields at the top of each page. These fields are treated as part of the header, and are automatically populated based on information entered in other parts of the form.

  • What is a form fillable PDF?

    A form-fillable PDF is any form that is downloadable from the USPTO website that allows the USPTO to load data directly into a USPTO database that is used to process forms so that the same information can appear in the Patent Application Information Retreival (PAIR) system. By extracting the data directly from the Form-Fillable PDFs, EFS-Web users can minimize rework and improve data accuracy.

    See EFS Forms to access the form-fillable PDFs that are currently available to EFS-Web users.

  • Are the fillable forms required for submission via EFS-Web?

    No, the fillable forms are provided for your convenience. They are not required.

  • How do I ensure that my PDF does not have reliances on external files?

    When creating the document that will be converted to PDF format, do not include hyperlinks to files or WebPages. In addition, all fonts need to be embedded.

  • Are supplemental ADS forms filed by EFS-Web exempt from the rule that requires supplemental ADS forms to be marked up to show new matter and deleted matter?

    No, you must still submit the supplemental ADS with markups, underlining for additions and strikeouts for deletions.

  • What is the application subject matter in the PDF fillable form Application Data Sheet?

    Subject matter is a characteristic the USPTO applies to the new filings we receive. An application may be a utility application, a design application, or a plant application. At this time, EFS-Web does not accept plant applications.

Fees & Payments - Other

  • Are my uspto.gov account credentials the same as my PKI certificate credentials?

    No, your uspto.gov account credentials are not the same as your PKI certificate credentials. The uspto.gov account is a new sign-in service that will eventually allow you to access various USPTO tools online. It is currently replacing the deposit account number/access code and EFT profile name/password credentials required to pay fees. It also allows you to sign in to Financial Manager and the Patent Maintenance Fees Storefront. As other USPTO online tools connect to the uspto.gov accounts, it will continue to gradually consolidate various USPTO sign-ins.

  • What happens when I select to use the New USPTO payment page?

    The page will redirect to the new Payment Page sign in screen. There will be options to “Sign in” or “Pay as Guest.” Customers that already have uspto.gov accounts can sign in and select to use a stored payment method from Financial Manager. If you do not have a uspto.gov account or do not have a stored payment method in Financial Manager, we recommend you select Pay as Guest. If you wish to set up a uspto.gov account and store a payment method in Financial Manager, we recommend doing so at a later time, as EFS-Web may time out by the time you create an account and add a stored payment method.

  • Is the old EFS-Web payment process still available?

    Yes, the old payment process will remain available for a limited time to allow customers time to transition. Eventually, this will be phased out and all EFS-Web customers will use the new USPTO payment page to check out.

  • What is the recommended workflow if I don’t already have an uspto.gov account?

    We recommend that you pay as a guest; the guest options include credit card, deposit account, and EFT (until June 30). You will have to manually enter the account and access code for DA, the EFT profile name / password, or card information for payment.

  • What browsers does EFS-Web support?

    IE 11, Firefox 42. While Chrome 46 is supported in Financial Manager, EFS-Web does not support Chrome 46. For more info, see EFS-Web System Requirements

  • Will I get a receipt after I submit the payment?

    After submitting the payment, you will be redirected to EFS-Web where a receipt will be presented as confirmation of submission. There will also be links to E-mail, Print, or Save the receipt.

  • Why can’t I set up a fee preauthorization/general authorization? How do I set up a fee preauthorization/general authorization?

    The option to set up a fee preauthorization (also known as a general authorization) is only available to signed-in users who have the Fee Payer permission for a stored deposit account in Financial Manager.

  • With the new integration of EFS-Web and Financial Manager, are there any changes with the electronic filing process in EFS-Web?

    No, the only changes you’ll see are in the payment process. For a limited time, the Pay Fees screen in EFS-Web will offer the option for you to check out using the old system or the new USPTO payment page. Eventually, this will be phased out and all EFS-Web customers will use the new USPTO payment page to check out.  

Troubleshooting - Other

  • How can I resolve a validation error with my attached PDF file?
    • Remove the PDF file;
    • Correct the problem identified in the error message;
    • Save the PDF file;
    • Attach it in EFS-Web; and
    • Validate it again.
  • When trying to sign on as a Registered User, what should I do if I click on 'Browse' to locate my .epf file and nothing happens?

    This is an indication that you do not have a supported version of JAVA installed or enabled properly on your computer. Please refer to our JAVA Instructions for more information or call the Patent EBC at 866-217-9197 for assistance.

  • What should I do if all information is submitted along with the credit card information and my screen freezes?

    Call the EBC at 866-217-9197. Do NOT attempt to re-submit your information.

  • What happens if I forget to index a document?

    If you forget to index a document, a message will be displayed on the screen indicating that a document description must be chosen for each attached file> You will not be able to continue with your submission until document descriptions are selected for each attached file. However, if you incorrectly index a document, the error will be corrected by USPTO personnel. You may also contact the EBC to notify them of the indexing error to expedite the document being correct indexed.

    Contact the EBC:
    1-866-217-9197 (toll-free)
    or 571-272-4100 (local)
    ebc@uspto.gov

  • My Acknowledgement Receipt for a follow-on submission includes garbled or incorrect data. What is the official copy?

    The official copy of the file is what is rendered in IFW. If the original filing for the application was made via EFS-Web, any characters used in the bibliographic data outside the normal keyboard set may become unreadable. When filing the initial filing through EFS-Web, special characters are allowed within the EFS-Web Application Data screen and in the Application Data Sheet fillable form for the Title of Invention and theName of the First Inventor. However, due to legacy systems that have encoding issues with translating special characters such as ©, ®, „¢, œ etc., these special characters may be rendered incorrectly on the acknowledgement receipt on subsequent filings. To correct such rendering issues please use the traditional methods such as filing a Correction of Filing Receipt through OIPE or submitting a Bibliographic Data Change request through Private PAIR to the Patent EBC.

  • May I submit with warning messages?

    Yes.

  • I've submitted my application via EFS-Web, however, I did not receive an acknowledgement receipt. What should I do?

    Do not resubmit your application. Please contact the Patent Electronic Business Center at 866-217-9197.

  • What should I do if I encounter a problem when attempting to pay fees via EFS-Web?

    Contact the EBC (866-217-9197) for alternative methods of payment.

  • Can I submit correspondence via EFS-Web if I receive a warning?

    Yes. However, you may not submit correspondence via EFS-Web if you receive an error.

  • When trying to submit follow-on documents, why is my bibliographic data incorrect or unreadable where I had entered a special character in the initial filing through EFS-Web?

    If the original filing for the application was made via EFS-Web, any characters used in the bibliographic data outside the normal keyboard set may become unreadable. When filing the initial filing through EFS-Web, special characters are allowed within the EFS-Web Application Data screen for the Title of Invention and the Name of the First Inventor. However due to legacy systems that have encoding issues with translating special characters such as ©, ®, „¢, œ etc. these special characters may be rendered incorrectly on the acknowledgement receipt on subsequent filings. To correct such rendering issues, please use the traditional methods such as filing a Correction of Filing Receipt through OIPE or submitting a Bibliographic Data Change request through Private PAIR to the Patent EBC. The USPTO is working to correct this issue in future releases of EFS-Web.

  • When reviewing the uploaded text file sequence listing, it does not have returns, all the characters run together. Is it supposed to look that way?

    Yes, because your browser parses the data in a different manner than your text reader.

  • What happens if I get disconnected or my system goes down during submission?

    If you are a registered user, you may go back into EFS-Web under 'My Workplace' to view your last 20 submissions. If you see your submission but cannot open a hyperlink to it, it has been received. You should have access to that application via a hyperlinked receipt in approximately four hours. If you do not see your submission under 'My Workplace' anywhere, do not resubmit your application. Please contact the Electronic Business Center at 866-217-9197.

  • I mistakenly filed the incorrect drawings with my application and then later that same day filed a preliminary amendment adding new drawings and requesting the deletion of the incorrect drawings. Will the incorrect drawings be included in a certified copy of the application-as-filed?

    Yes, the incorrect drawings will remain in the application file and will be included in a copy of the application-as-filed. Thus, if an applicant wishes to have an application without the wrong drawings, the applicant should file a totally new application (e.g., new specification including claims(s) and fees) comprising the correct drawings, and, if desired, expressly abandon the original application.

  • If I file the wrong specification with a patent application, is there a way for me to address the problem on the same day?

    Yes, please refer to the legal framework located at http://www.uspto.gov/ebc/portal/efs/legal.htm for more information.

  • What does the "Authenticate User Bad Input" error message mean?

    This error message usually indicates that the password supplied does not match the password for the certificate. Make sure that the digital certificate being used is the most recent one. Also, ensure that the password you are typing meets the requirements for authentication purposes. If you are unable to find the correct .epf file, or cannot remember the password, codes will need to be reissued to recover the profile. Please contact the EBC at 866-217-9197 for help in recovering your profile.

  • Why are the fillable forms I have always used (i.e. ADS) giving me error messages now?

    Please make sure you are using the latest version of the forms located at http://www.uspto.gov/ebc/portal/forms.htm.

  • Does EFS-Web have built-in safeguards that notify me if there's a problem with the file?

    Yes. EFS-Web will automatically validate the file types and data entered on the web screens and tell you before you submit your application if it meets USPTO standards.

  • What are the known problems of creating PDF files using ABXPDF?

    Caution: It has been found that ABXPDF may create blank pages at the beginning and end of your document; this will not affect the review process of your application. There is also a possibility that content could be lost in the conversion to PDF, which will affect the review process of you application. If ABXPDF is your preferred PDF creation tool, please carefully review your PDF content before you submit. You may want to consider choosing another PDF Writer to create your PDF Files; click here for additional options.

  • What should an applicant do if the application was mistakenly filed without a document or an item through EFS-Web?

    An applicant may correct an error by filing a missing item(s) on the same day as the submission date of the application to avoid surcharges.

  • What does the "Authenticate User Error" message mean?

    This error message usually indicates that your network settings are interfering with the system's login functionality. First, make sure that the correct version of JAVA is installed. Also, be sure that SSL and TLS security options are checked in this same spot. It may also be a connection issue caused by a proxy or firewall. Network configuration information can be found on our website. Proxy settings will need to be applied to both the browser and JAVA control panel.

  • I am having trouble embedding the fonts on a non-fillable USPTO form. How can I submit these documents using EFS-Web?

    You may print the PDF as an image PDF file.

    1. Open your PDF and select 'Print'. Then select your PDF printer in the Printer Name drop down list.
    2. Select the 'Advanced' tab at the lower left-hand corner of the splash window.
    3. Select the checkbox, 'Print to Image'.
    4. Browse to the location you want the new image PDF file to be saved.
    5. You can now attach the form in EFS-Web without the 'Embedded Font' error message.

  • I went back to a previous screen in EFS-Web, and made changes to my submission. Why did the information on the screen not update/save?

    If you went to a previous screen in EFS-Web using the Navigation tab, updated the information and did not click continue, that information will not be saved. The navigation tabs should be utilized to go back, and the continue button should be used to save and go forward.

  • I'm getting validation errors, what do the colored triangles mean?

    Yellow triangles [warning - yellow triangle] indicate that a warning message is associated with the PDF file.

    Red inverted triangles [error - red inverted triangle] indicate that an error has been found in the PDF file. You cannot proceed with submission when the red error triangle appears.

  • If the system goes down, can electronically generated documents be printed and submitted via Express Mail?

    Yes. These documents will be treated identically to other submissions filed by paper.

Digital Certificate - Other

  • May the "designated employee" in the United States Patent and Trademark Office Public Key Infrastructure Subscriber Agreement include a person who is not employed by a certificate holder's organization, such as a person who is employed by a third party with which the certificate holder's organization contracts for paralegal services?

    No. The "designated employee" in the United States Patent and Trademark Office Public Key Infrastructure Subscriber Agreement must be an employee of the certificate holder's organization. Thus, the person cannot be employed by a third party providing services to the certificate holder's organization, a person contracting to provide services to the certificate holder's organization, or a person contracting to provide services to the certificate holders. If the person using the PKI certificate (user) is not actually an employee of the certificate holder's organization, the user is not under the control of the certificate holder. Further, interpreting the term "designated employee" to include a non-employee is not only inconsistent with the common meaning of the word "employee", but also gives the certificate holder the ability to deny knowing what is occurring. In addition, if the user is not an employee, the certificate holder may have no way of knowing if the user is an alien or person in a foreign country. Accordingly, export control issues also mandate that the answer to this question is "no".

  • What if multiple copies of the digital certificate exist?

    Only one copy of the digital certificate will be renewed through the automatic update process. Any other copy, on a customer's alternate computer or disk drive, will not be renewed. Copies not renewed will stop working when the certificate was originally set to expire. Customers may make copies of the renewed certificate.

  • Do digital certificates travel with the attorney/agent from job to job?

    Yes, digital certficates stay with the digital certificate holder.

  • How do I obtain my lost digital certificate?

    If you have lost your digital certificate or can no longer access EFS-Web using your current certificate, please contact the EBC by phone at 866-217-9197 or by E-mail at EBC@uspto.gov.

  • How can a customer determine when the 100-day automatic update time period begins and whether a copy of the digital certificate was automatically renewed?

    There is no automatic notification. Customers should contact the EBC for renewal information by calling 1-866-217-9197.

  • Is the digital certificate for EFS-Web the same one that I would use for Private PAIR?

    Yes, digital certificates issued by the USPTO Certification Authority allow access to both EFS-Web and Private PAIR.

  • What should a customer do if the 120 days has passed and the authorization code and reference number have expired?

    The customer should contact the EBC, who will reissue the authorization code and reference number. Reissue should take five to six business days.

  • May a USPTO PKI certificate be used by an employee of the certificate holder if the employee is a US citizen and is located within the US, but is not co-located with the certificate holder (i.e., is located in another state)?

    Yes, a USPTO certificate may be used by an employee who is a US citizen and who is located within the US, but who is not co-located with the certificate holder as long as the employee is actually acting at the direction and under the control of the certificate holder as is required by the United States Patent and Trademark Office Public Key Infrastructure Subscriber Agreement.

  • What is the life of a digital certificate?

    The certificate expires 27 months after it was originally issued or recovered. If the customer uses the digital certificate during the last 100 days of this time period, the certificate will be updated automatically. Once updated, the certificate will be renewed for another 27 months. This renewal process continues indefinitely. If the certificate is not used by the customer during that 100-day period, it will expire and the customer must use either self recovery or must have an EBC-assisted recovery.

EAR - Other

  • How do I obtain further information regarding the Export Administration Regulations as they pertain to retrieving patent application and filing information?

    Information regarding U.S. export controls and their application to technology and software included in patent applications is available from the BIS. Please visit the BIS website www.bis.doc.gov or contact BIS's Office of Exporter Services at 1-202-482-4811.

  • Is EAR certification required in Private PAIR?

    Yes. Private PAIR allows anyone associated with a customer number to view patent application information before the application has received a foreign filing license. Thus, persons located outside the United States or a foreign national inside the United States can view patent application information prior to the issuance of a foreign filing license. Access to such technology and/or software by any person located outside the U.S. or by a foreign national inside the U.S. constitutes an export that may require a license from the U.S. Users of Private PAIR will be required to certify in the future that they are using the digital certificate for access in a manner that doesn't violate or circumvent the EAR.

  • Why am I now required to certify that I am using the digital certificate for access to EFS-Web in a manner that doesn't violate or circumvent the EAR?

    EFS-Web includes a feature that allows registered users to save submissions and to view the last 40 acknowledgement receipts for a limited amount of time. This information may be viewed by an employee who can use a practitioner's digital certificate to access saved submissions and to view the last 40 acknowledgement receipts. Access to such technology and/or software by any person located outside the U.S. or by a foreign national inside the U.S. constitutes an export that may require a license from the U.S. Further information may be obtained from the U.S. Commerce Department's Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) website www.bis.doc.gov or by contacting the BIS Office of Exporter Services at 1-202-482-4811.

  • Who is administering this certification requirement?

    The certification is administered by the U.S. Commerce Department's Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS). The BIS administrates technology and software included in or intended for filing in patent applications that may be subject to U.S. dual-use export controls as set forth in the Export Administration Regulations (EAR). Access to this technology may require a license from the BIS. Further information may be obtained from the U.S. Commerce Department's Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) website www.bis.doc.gov or by contacting the BIS Office of Exporter Services at 1-202-482-4811.

Contingency - Other

  • Will my PDF files still be validated?

    Yes. Documents filed in EFS-Web Contingency must meet the same file format requirements established for EFS-Web, e.g., file size and PDF embedded-font requirements. The same file validation performed in EFS-Web will also be performed in EFS-Web Contingency.

  • Could EFS-Web Contingency experience a system outage?

    While we do not expect EFS-Web Contingency to experience any system outages, there may be rare instances when shared resources (i.e., USPTO network, RAM and PALM) are unavailable resulting in a partial or complete loss of service.   If the RAM (Revenue Accounting Management) system is unavailable, neither EFS-Web nor EFS-Web Contingency will be able accept online payment in real-time. If the PALM (Patent Application Location Monitoring) system is unavailable, neither EFS-Web nor EFS-Web Contingency can complete validation in PALM and thus national stage 35 U.S.C 371 applications cannot be accepted. Users are strongly advised to transmit their electronic filings sufficiently early in the day to allow time for alternative paper filing when transmission cannot be initiated or correctly completed in EFS-Web nor EFS-Web Contingency.

  • Do I need a Digital Certificate to access EFS-Web Contingency?

    No. Users do not need a digital certificate to access EFS-Web Contingency. This portal provides an identical user interface and equivalent functionality as Unregistered EFS-Web.

  • Can I submit online fee payments via EFS-Web Contingency?

    Applicants can submit online fee payments by selecting fees on the fee calculation screen and completing their payment at time of submission (i.e., chose the "Yes! I want to pay now" button rather than "No - I will pay later" button). 

  • Why can't I file in EFS-Web Contingency during scheduled EFS-Web outages?

    EFS-Web and EFS-Web Contingency share a common backend system. During scheduled maintenance activities, both EFS-Web and EFS-Web Contingency need to be brought offline to properly complete system maintenance.

  • Does EFS-Web Contingency provide the same level of security as EFS-Web?

    Yes. EFS-Web Contingency is protected with the same level of security as EFS-Web Unregistered by using Transport Layer Security (TLS) to encrypt transmission over the Internet.

  • Can I access my Saved Submissions via EFS-Web Contingency?

    No. Registered e-filers who have uploaded documents to a Saved Submission package in EFS-Web will not be able to access those Saved Submission documents in EFS-Web Contingency.

  • What is EFS-Web Contingency?

    To increase the availability of its patent electronic filing system, the USPTO has established a contingency option for applicants to e-file new applications when the main portal to EFS-Web is unavailable due to an unscheduled system outage.

  • Can I use my Customer Number while filing via EFS-Web Contingency?

    Yes. Users can type in the desired Customer Number to designate the application’s correspondence address.  The dropdown list of Customer Number that is displayed in EFS-Web for Registered e-filers will not be available in EFS-Web Contingency. And the correspondence address associated with the Customer Number entered will not be displayed in EFS-Web Contingency. Users are advised to double-check the Customer Number entered in EFS-Web Contingency to confirm it is accurate. 

  • Can I file a test application via EFS-Web Contingency?

    No. EFS-Web Contingency is a production system and a submitted application will be processed as if it was filed through our primary EFS-Web system. Users are advised that the USPTO may revoke a user's digital PKI certificate or block a user's IP address if the user makes an improper submission through EFS-Web or EFS-Web Contingency.

  • Can I submit follow-on documents via EFS-Web Contingency?

    Currently, EFS-Web contingency does not permit follow-on fee payments and most follow-on documents (e.g., amendments and replies to Office actions) filed after the initial submission of the application.

  • Will I still receive an acknowledgement receipt after an EFS-Web Contingency submission?

    Yes. EFS-Web Contingency will continue to provide an Electronic Acknowledgement Receipt that establishes the date of receipt by the UPSTO of a new application.

  • Can I file using EFS-Web Contingency at anytime?

    EFS-Web Contingency is intended to be used when the primary portal to EFS-Web has an unscheduled outage. We strongly encourage applicants to file as a registered user to take advantage of the full features of EFS-Web.  However, EFS-Web Contingency will be available to applicants 24x7 except for scheduled outages and other shared system resource outages.

  • What if I mistakenly file a follow-on document as a new application via EFS-Web Contingency?

    When an applicant improperly files a follow-on document as a new application via EFS-Web Contingency (or EFS-Web) and requests the USPTO to move the follow-on document to the appropriate application, a petition under 37 CFR 1.182 accompanied by the petition fee will be required.