The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is gearing up for a radical technology overhaul as it replaces on-premise fax systems with cloud-based alternatives. At the same time, as reported by The Register, the department does not intend to completely abandon faxes, although the majority of the flow of documents has long been converted to electronic form.
The organization will retain the faxes in case of emergency situations. For example, in 2018, the USPTO database unexpectedly went down, after which it was the RightFax software that helped keep the institution running. According to the agency, the relevant service has failed only once in the last 18 years. It is emphasized that the system has successfully supported the processing of patent documents, ensuring the transfer of tens of thousands of pages per day and helping to cope with the delay of business processes for several more months.
Apparently, it was the 2018 incident that led USPTO officials to the conclusion that in the event of such incidents, a cloud-based system with a third party responsible for the hardware is worthwhile. For now, however, there is no talk of immediately putting cloud services into operation – the USPTO is only preparing for the digital transformation by gathering ideas. At the same time, it is specified that the functionality of the services, systems as well as the integration of the messaging services must be preserved. And all this without compromising the confidentiality and integrity of data normally only available to USPTO staff.
Separately, it is specified that the reception of digital and analog faxes should be preserved, as well as a number of other existing functions. Whenever possible, proposed solutions should be certified under the government’s FedRAMP program, which assesses minimum security requirements for cloud products, although this is not a mandatory requirement.
Those interested in submitting their ideas to the USPTO can send relevant messages to the agency’s mailbox by October 23. At the same time, messages sent by fax will not be accepted, only by e-mail. It is worth noting that in February this year, China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology announced a reform to phase out fax machines.