The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office released a new beta version of its public website.
The agency said the new site would make it easier to access services and interact with the office. While building the site, the office met with hundreds of frequent and new site visitors to figure out how they use it. Creators conducted an in-depth analysis of site navigation, extensive user experience testing of the new design and best practices comparisons.
Last month, patent office CIO John Owens told FedScoop that the public website’s beta version was one of the systems that benefited from the agency’s new focus on DevOps — that is, encouraging communication between development and operations teams so they can more quickly release new software. To facilitate the process, the office has installed technologies to enhance communication and rapid deployment, and has tapped industry expertise, bringing in members of the private sector to discuss DevOps.
“We want [USPTO employees] to learn. We want them to focus on removing redundancy, increasing their collaboration,” Owens told FedScoop. He added, “We’re trying to change the culture here by providing [employees with] good technical tools, training, the appropriate reading, constant awards and recognition.”
So far, the agency has released Trademark Electronic Search System, Trademark Status & Document Retrieval and Trademarks Next Generation using this philosophy. Also in beta testing is Patents End-to-End, a suite of programs that the nominated head of the patent office Michelle Lee has pointed to as a way to improve patent quality.
The beta version of the new USPTO website features tabs with links geared toward beginners trying to navigate the site, while seasoned users can turn to the “Quick Links” feature on the righthand side of the site for instant access to critical tools.
“Users will no longer need to be familiar with the USPTO’s organizational structure in order to find the content they’re looking for,” according to a notice from the agency. “The site will also become increasingly mobile friendly as we add new functionality, making it more convenient than ever to work with the USPTO.”
The old site will still be available as the agency tests the new version. Users are encouraged to submit their feedback about the new site.
Cost to drop for online trademark application systems
Meanwhile this week, USPTO announced plans to encourage the use of another outward-facing system: its online trademark application.
Under a newly released final rule, the cost to file under the Trademark Electronic Application System, or TEAS, will drop from $325 to $275 per class if the applicant authorizes email communication and files subsequent correspondence electronically. The new rule also decreases the cost of the TEAS Plus application from $275 to $225 per class and cuts the fee to renew a registration from $400 to $300 per class.
The agency announced the change in the Federal Register. The new rule goes into effect Jan. 17.
Commissioner for Trademarks Deborah Cohn said in a blog post when the agency proposed the rule earlier this year that the change would reduce processing costs and bolster efficiency.
“The proposal will also further a USPTO strategic objective to increase the end-to-end electronic processing of trademark applications by offering additional electronic application processing options and promoting online filing, electronic file management, and workflow,” Cohn wrote.