As patent attorneys have been suggesting for some time, the PTO is planning to completely revamp its electronic filing system (EFS) in favor of a system that operates using PDFs and is accessible through Internet Explorer. Limited beta testing will begin in December 2005, and the EFS-WEB is scheduled for a Spring 2006 release.
Because most patent applications are currently filed via express mail, PTO is reportedly the "largest recipient of overnight mail in the world."
What does this mean for you:
- Sometime before March 2006, purchase a full version of Adobe Acrobat and figure out how it works. It is likely that every attorney is going to need this on his or her computer.
- C.E. Petit, who writes the excellent blog Scrivener’s Error, takes some issue with my rush to buy expensive software. Of course, the full version of Acrobat may be overkill for the needs of most patent attorneys. Here is the functionality what I want in PDF software:
- Ability to create a PDF from any type of document (Word, Excel, Notepad, FireFox, etc.);
- Ability to modify the PDF (a) deleting certain pages or (b) adding new pages from another document;
- Ability to run an optical character recognition program on scanned PDFs (such as Patents, documents from PAIR, etc.); and
- Of course, it should be very easy to operate and absolutely compatible with MS Office.
- Anyone have any recommendations?