PTO works to accept all trademark applications electronically

PTO works to accept all trademark applications electronically

The system guides users to the appropriate forms and soon will offer more online filing options

By Tony Lee Orr

GCN Staff

Officials at the Patent and Trademark Office's Trademark Electronic Application System plan to accept all forms electronically by the end of this month.

After its first year of service, PTO has accepted nearly 40,000 electronic trademark applications. Now the agency is about to extend the system to include Section 8 and Section 9 filings, which are required to maintain an active trademark, as well as extension requests and allegations of improper trademark use.

By the end of the month, seven more electronic filing options will be available on the agency's Web site.

The site, at, is divided into two compartments, e-TEAS and PrinTEAS. The site can also be accessed at the agency's trademark electronic business center page at At the business center, users can check availability of a desired trademark and check on application status.

Both compartments of the TEAS site let users fill out an application form and check its completion over the Internet, said Craig Morris, manager of trademark business process re-engineering.

E-TEAS lets users submit an application form directly over the Internet, paying by credit card or through an existing deposit account at PTO, Morris said.

PrinTEAS lets users print a completed application for mailing, paying by check, money order or an existing deposit account, he said.

The system gives step-by-step instructions for completing a trademark or service mark application form, he said.

The E-TEAS and PrinTEAS sites begin with a series of yes-or-no questions that help direct the user to the proper form, Morris said.

The system lets users file applications quickly even when the office is closed, saving money on postage, fax charges and other forms of delivery, while saving the office the time and cost of re-entering the information, Morris said.

For large companies, time saved is a boon, Morris said. The extended filing hours are helpful, too.

'Because the six-month Paris Convention priority deadlines are statutory, being able to file so quickly and getting the benefit of up to seven extra hours be-fore a filing date may also be crucial,' he said.

Through its online application system, PTO is expanding the types of applications that the public can fill out and submit via the Web.

The Paris Convention sets regulations and filing dates for individuals submitting trademark applications.

Using the paper system, a filing date could be lost if the application was not filed by close of business or postmarked by the time the post office closes, Morris said.

The trademark application form is created in Hypertext Markup Language for customers to complete online, said Lorraine Leithiser, a computer specialist. The electronic submissions are transferred to Trademark Operations, she said.

E-TEAS lets users upload an image of their trademark and an image showing how the trademark will be used, then relies on the electronic credit card payment services in the office's Revenue Account Management system to collect application fees, she said.

SSL safety

TEAS comprises Netscape Enterprise Server Version 3.6 running under Unix on a Hewlett-Packard 9000 800/K-200 server. Netscape Enterprise Server secures communications with the payment server using Secure Sockets Layer encryption.

TEAS is a Web application comprising HTML code and Common Gateway Interface script. Users can access it with Netscape Navigator 3.0 and Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.0 and higher browsers.

The files reside on servers running Microsoft Windows NT, once the files have been transferred through PTO's firewall, she said.

The Trademark Intake Processing Office accesses the servers, using Microsoft File Transfer Protocol Server Services so the HP Unix Server can transfer files directly with scripted commands, she said. An NT file-sharing system lets NT clients used in Trademark Intake Processing access the files.

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