In just two weeks, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) will launch a new and improved website. The redesigned USPTO.gov is the culmination of hundreds of user interviews, and it’s just the first step in the USPTO’s plans to improve user experiences on its website.
On February 5, 2015, the redesigned USPTO website will offer improved navigation and a better mobile device experience overall. You can get a sneak peak at the new site design by visiting the USPTO beta site. Starting on February 5th, the beta site design will debut at USPTO.gov.
The New USPTO Home Page
The first thing you’ll notice when you visit the beta site is the complete redesign of the home page. It’s much more navigable and user-friendly for the non-intellectual property professional.
I think the new home page design reflects the USPTO’s recognition that the marketplace has changed and many inventors and entrepreneurs are taking the do it yourself (DIY) route to protect their innovation. Making the information this audience needs more accessible should help to improve the overall quality of applications filed as well, which makes the USPTO more efficient and gives business owners better protection.
The User-Friendly USPTO Website
The new site is more user-friendly with a handy Quick Links tab that makes it easier to search online databases, file and manage applications, and get current fee information.
Also, the site includes a new “Learning and Resources” center, which is filled with great information and frequently asked questions. The learning resources have been curated by audience members, making the content more relevant to a specific group of people such as legal professionals, inventors and entrepreneurs, kids and teachers, the media, and libraries. The information provided about the application process for both patents and trademarks is excellent and will prove to be very valuable to attorneys and business people alike.
The Nationwide Pro Bono Program
It’s also great to see that information about the Nationwide Pro Bono Program for independent inventors, which was created as part of the new patent law (effective March 2013), is readily available on the new site along with a great video.
The Nationwide Pro Bono Program is for patent assistance, not trademark help. Patents are generally much more complicated and much more expensive to obtain than trademarks. Keep in mind, there are three requirements you must meet in order to take advantage of pro bono assistance:
- Your income must be below a certain threshold.
- You must have knowledge of the patent system (which can be determined by having a provisional patent on file or taking a certificate training course).
- You must have possession of an actual invention (not just an idea).
The old USPTO website looked old. The navigation and search functions left a lot to be desired and specific learning resources could be difficult to find. It’s great to see this first phase of the USPTO’s new website design finally rolling out.
I’m looking forward to seeing future phases of the site’s redesign, which the USPTO says will include much needed improvements in the on-site tools visitors use to conduct business with the USPTO—such as filing a trademark registration or paying patent fees.
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