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      Open Letter to the US Patents & Trademarks Office (USPTO)

      Eugen G Tarnow  September 13 2018 10:53:52 AM
      To Whom It May Concern:

      It is almost impossible to be a small inventor and deal with the USPTO.

      The Electronic Filing System (EFS) software you provide is so complex that it is unusable. The software allows you to submit incomplete applications (which you will then penalize inventors for). It also does not provide a record of what you actually submitted. If you want to pay fees, you cannot click on the fees tab but you have to pretend to be uploading documents.

      And then once in a while you get a gem. The Electronic Filing System tells you that you will receive something in the mail:

      Image:Open Letter to the US Patents & Trademarks Office (USPTO)
      What did I get? Another notification that, as far as I could see, could have been delivered "in electronic form".

      The correspondence you send out is not human readable. It is all about the patent numbers instead of the invention titles and about bureaucratic minutiae that you don't bother to explain.

      In order to deal with you I have to know three different phone numbers because each department does not know anything about what the other departments do. For example the Application Assistance Unit knows nothing about EFS. And then when I complain to your Commissioner's office you give me two new places to call on (one of which is the Pro Bono program. So in addition to tax payer funding, you give out others people's time. In any case this program has one participant in New Jersey and they only handle starving artists. Kid you not. So that was one useless lead.)

      In other words, even if you work at the USPTO full time you have no idea how to go through what a small inventor goes through.

      And you always provide the same "Our customer center is experiencing longer wait time today". Which days are you experiencing shorter wait times?

      Your fees are really high. $750 to apply for a patent - when only 1% of patents make any money, thus requiring a minimum of $75,000. You better have an investor just to deal with the USPTO. Never mind marketing or actually making the products.

      You assess huge penalties for late responses to trivial issues.

      I use lawyers to help me prepare documents and then file them myself. I then get a letter from the USPTO telling me I should use a lawyer. In other words, the message only depends upon who files it, not what the content is.
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