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Thursday, 24 December 2015

Power outage at the USPTO

Some Kat readers, as well as this Kat, found it impossible already yesterday to connect to the USPTO website. The following statement from the USPTO explains the situation:
"USPTO Power Outage Update Statement updated at 5:55 p.m. ET December 23, 2015 to add information related to filing deadlines.

A major power outage at USPTO headquarters occurred Wednesday, Dec. 22, resulting in damaged equipment that required the subsequent shutdown of many of our online and IT systems. This includes our filing, searching, and payment systems, as well as the systems our examiners across the country use. Additionally we are unable to receive faxed documents. We are working diligently to assess the operational impact on all our systems and to determine how soon they can be safely brought back into service in the coming days. We understand how critical these systems are for our customers, and our teams will continue to work around the clock to restore them as quickly as possible, though we are currently estimating that these systems will be impacted at least through the Christmas holiday on Friday, December 25. In light of this emergency situation, the USPTO will consider each day from Tuesday, December 22, 2015, through Thursday, December 24, 2015, to be a “Federal holiday within the District of Columbia” in accordance with the description and regulations in this official notice".

It will be interesting indeed to find out how this quite extraordinary state of affairs plays out after the holiday weekend.

1 comment:

Roufousse T. Fairfly said...

PAIR is still unavailable today, and all systems are evidently not yet back to normal, but the USPTO announcement only covered the period until 24.12.

That could be a problem for PCT RO/US second filings claiming a priority close to the deadline.

This type of event appears to be covered under Rule 80.5 PCT, but it's not altogether clear to me whether a separate declaration referring to that rule must be made under the PCT, or if the national announcement is sufficient.

A diligent enough attorney might be able to file with the IB in Geneva, or another office if available to the applicant(s).

Incidentally, WIPO has working group for proposing changes in regulations in cases of "Delays and Force Majeure for Electronic Communications".

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