The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) announced at the last moment that it will postpone decommissioning the legacy ESF-Web and Private PAIR patent filing and management systems in favor of the Patent Center system from November 8 to November 15. This will allow the agency additional time to address usability issues. The agency also intends to increase its Electronic Business Center support to respond to the inevitable surge in questions when users using the older systems are forced to switch to the new system.

While it is enviable that the USPTO is making efforts to modernize its technology and increase functionality, a one-week pause may not be enough to eliminate all bugs. Users who have not yet embraced Patent Center should expect that they may encounter issues and questions. Those who are already using Patent Center may also experience a decline in accessibility to the system and/or support when a large number of new users migrate over. Thus, those with upcoming filings may want account for potential unexpected glitches ahead of deadlines.

Hopefully at the end of the day (starting November 15), there will be a smooth transition and the USPTO will deliver on its goal of combining application filing and case managing together in one central system with an improved interface and better overall system performance and security.

We are postponing the original transition date (previously November 8) to better respond to and incorporate additional valuable stakeholder feedback into the Patent Center system. Specifically, we are working to increase usability for sponsored accounts with large amounts of customer numbers and address any related issues. We are also ramping up coverage to our Electronic Business Center to respond to questions in real-time and help ensure a smooth transition for our stakeholders.

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