January 14, 2008

On Friday, the USPTO issued a press release confirming my earlier post (January 4, 2008, link below) regarding the implementation of the reCAPTCHA system. According to the USPTO press release (link below), “[t]he reCAPTCHA deployment was an immediate response to a system outage problem caused by bots.” Over the last couple of months it has sometimes been difficult, if not impossible, to access Public PAIR because of these “bots,” and in response the USPTO has implemented technology based upon “an industry-accepted security feature to ensure that humans, and not bots, are accessing computer programs.” The USPTO further notes that it “continues to explore long-term solutions to address the need for open access to the data by the Intellectual Property community,” as the USPTO is “committed to providing access to all available patent data to the public whenever required, and we are continuing to explore all alternatives to meet that goal.”

January 4, 2008 DDIP Post: LINK
USPTO Press Release: LINK
USPTO Public PAIR Webpage: LINK

3 comments:

dcpatentassociate said...

Do you think CAPTCHA is merely a temperorary fix until they can figure out how to make data available to bots in the future?

tom said...

The implementation of Recaptcha didn't improve the situation. The site is still unavailable for long time periods.
Worse than that I experience that it sends me in 9 out of 10 cases in an endless loop.

Anonymous said...

The existence of severe uptime issues even immediately following the implementation of the reCaptcha system to me suggests that the problem is not, after all, bots. While this may or may not have been a contributing factor, a simple bit of research shows exponential growth in the patent industry over the last two decades, particularly coinciding with the explosion of innovation in the technology industries. Patents, in fact, have become such a commodity to corporations that there are dozens of separate industries now whos sole focus is various uses, evaluations, and brokering methods of patents. Is it not unreasonable to assume that the load on the USPTO's servers would also increase at exponential rates due to legitimate traffic?
If you assume that the captcha system will, at the very least, stop bots for a while then the existence of severe availability issues immediately following implementation suggests that the issue lies within the strength of the USPTO's server and just how committed they are to providing a system which can accommodate legitimate use. Perhaps next time they will take a look at investing into better equipment prior to giving excuses about problems the rest of the internet has seen and delt with long ago.

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Mark Reichel
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I am a patent attorney with Reichel IP LLC, where I concentrate my practice on patent drafting and prosecution, trademarks, and general intellectual property matters. I currently focus on the preparation and prosecution of medical device and other life sciences patent applications, and being actively involved in a number of local not-for-profit organizations.

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