Last March, the USPTO experienced an enormous spike in the typical number of application filings per week, as numerous US provisional and non-provisional patent applications were filed in advance of the March 16, 2013 effective date for the “First to File” provisions of the America Invents Act (AIA).

Thus, a large number of provisional applications are due for conversion in the coming days.  As you are preparing your applications for conversion and/or foreign filing, there are few things to keep in mind to make sure your filings go smoothly:

  • Anticipate that there will be a serious strain on the electronic filing systems at the USPTO and be prepared for unexpected delays and outages.  Alerts about the current status of the electronic filing systems of the USPTO can be found at:

http://www.uspto.gov/blog/ebiz/

  • Have an emergency plan in place in case you cannot file electronically.  Ensure everyone on your staff is familiar with alternative means for filing US nonprovisional and PCT applications.  Locate your closest Post Office and have additional supplies ready for paper filing, if necessary.
  •  Arrange to have multiple methods available to pay all necessary filing fees:
    • If you have a Deposit Account, be sure to replenish it as often as possible to ensure sufficient funds are available for your daily filings
    • If you are using a credit card to pay for filings, check that your available balance can accommodate all filings

Good luck!