Emergency Preparedness

Scott ThorntonLas Vegas, Patent Attorney, Patent Office

On Tuesday, December 22, the United States Patent and Trademark Office headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia experienced a major power outage.  This outage caused significant damage to the USPTO’s electronic systems, which required the USPTO to shut down the vast majority of its online and IT systems.  As a result, the USPTO’s Electronic Filing System (EFS), patent searching and information retrieval systems, electronic payment systems, systems used by examiners across the country, and even fax machines were unavailable to applicants and practitioners.  Most systems were down over the Christmas holiday, and were not back up until Monday, December 28.

None of our clients’ matters were adversely affected by this power outage.  We had no filing dates or fees due which had to be met during this outage period.  The only inconvenience we experienced was that we were unable to access any previously filed information on the USPTO’s website.  As of now, though, it appears that everything is functioning properly.

The USPTO announced that each day from Tuesday, December 22, 2015, through Thursday, December 24, 2015, to be a “Federal holiday within the District of Columbia.”  This means that any matter which was required to be filed with the USPTO between December 22 and December 25 (December 25 already being a Federal holiday that happened to land on a Friday) would be pushed back to Monday, December 28.

We were prepared for such a contingency.  Furthermore, this power outage provided us the opportunity to test our emergency preparedness measures should any disaster or emergency event happen here in Las Vegas.  In such an event, our goal is to be in contact with each of our clients within 24 hours with secure access to all their files.  We have three layers of redundancy in our docketing system which enables us to keep in touch with clients and keep track of any critical date.  Our aim is to insure both continuity and file security.  We value our clients, and will go the extra mile to protect their intellectual property.