Washington, D.C. -- Commerce Secretary Carlos M. Gutierrez and Under Secretary for Intellectual Property Jon Dudas today launched the United States Patent and Trademark Office's (USPTO) new electronic filing system that will allow applicants to file over the Internet virtually anytime and anywhere, reducing the application process by 30 minutes and improving accuracy on filed documents.
Three early adopters -- the 3M Co., the law firm of Fish & Richardson and the University of Maryland -- filed the first applications using EFS-Web, the new web-based patent application tool, today at the Commerce Department officially opening the system to all patent applicants.
"This new electronic filing system is another critical step in our on-going efforts to provide innovators with the most secure and simple patent-applicant process in the world," said Gutierrez. "Our country is rich in skill and creativity. Every day this human talent develops novel and useful inventions to improve the lives and livelihoods of the American people."
"The USPTO worked with the intellectual property community to develop this new system," added Under Secretary Dudas. "Focus groups composed of corporations, law firms and individual filers provided input about their needs. Based on this customer input, USPTO developed a tool designed to meet those needs -- an efficient patent submission tool in which users have full confidence."
The shift from a paper-based system to an electronic environment offers a number of advantages to patent filers. Patent customers can file applications and related documents using their existing software. It is now possible to submit documents by simply attaching PDF files. EFS-Web offers additional practical flexibility to the intellectual property community by allowing staff to file documents prepared and reviewed by patent attorneys. Filers will also be able to pay filling fees over the Internet.
EFS-Web submissions are automatically processed through the USPTO. Patent filers receive rapid access to their applications through the Patent Application Information Retrieval (PAIR) system, so they can view their submissions and confirm that documents have been securely and accurately received. EFS-Web also offers visual proof that patent applications and documents have been received in the form of an automatic electronic receipt.
Over the last several months, the USPTO conducted beta tests of the technology. EFS-Web beta participants, representing corporations, law firms and independent inventors, received product overviews, specifications on system functionality and requirements and hands-on training. Over 80 organizations participated in the EFS-Web pilot program. Prior to deployment, close to 200 pilot participants attended the EFS-Web onsite and Web-based trainings.
For more information on EFS-Web, visit http://www.uspto.gov.