Hastings Communications and Entertainment Law Journal


The U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (PTO) has long recognized that if it could develop the capabilities to accept and process electronically-filed patent and trademark applications, the quality of its services to the public would be improved. Applications in electronic format are necessary in order for the PTO, as one of the world's largest repositories of technical literature, to establish a "paperless" office, which would relieve it of its current burden of handling massive volumes of paper.

This Article discusses the scope of the PTO's efforts to date in computerizing and automating its operations to enable electronic application filing. The task confronting the PTO is analyzed in view of the capabilities of the computerized systems that it has developed and is currently using. The PTO's latest effort to develop an electronic filing system is a project jointly funded by the European Patent Office and the World Intellectual Property Organization known as the Electronic Application System, or "EASY." The EASY pilot program and software are evaluated and their potential discussed.