Patent Office Website Features will not be Accessible to Chrome Users Soon

Some of the features of the Patent Office website, such as EFS-Web and Private PAIR, will no longer be accessible to users of Chrome after this month. Those programs are essential tools for a patent attorney, patent agent, or any inventor who has filed an application pro per. They are the portals to filing and accessing a patent application and its status and correspondence. Those two features also rely on Java.

In April 2015, Google Chrome removed the default ability to use the Java plug-in for browser version 42. This impacts one’s ability to access EFS-Web and Private PAIR because Java is required for your authentication into these systems. Currently, Chrome has a temporary workaround that will allow you to use the Java plug-in so that you can continue to log into EFS-Web and Private PAIR. However, this workaround will only work through September 2015, when Google Chrome plans to end their support for Java plug-ins with their newest browser, Chrome versions 45 and above. Therefore, Chrome users using version 45 and above will no longer be able to use the workaround and thus will not be able to log into EFS-Web or Private PAIR. Oracle recommends the use of alternative browsers such as Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Safari.

Although the above browsers should continue to work with EFS-Web and Private PAIR, there is always a possibility that these providers may decide to discontinue support of Java plug-ins as well. The USPTO is apparently investigating if there are possible strategies to mitigate the immediate impact, and is working on a longer term plan to improve the overall authentication process.