On Tuesday night, a major power outage at USPTO headquarters resulted in damaged equipment that required the subsequent shutdown of many of their online and IT systems. Fax service has since been restored.
Sources say systems outage should continue through Christmas Day and may last through the weekend.
USPTO Acting Chief Communications Officer Patrick Ross has issued this statement on the incident today.
On Tuesday night, December 22, a major power disruption to the USPTO’s data center resulted in the shutdown of our public filing, searching, and payment systems, as well as the core systems our patent and trademark examiners use. Since then, dedicated teams have been working around the clock with our service providers to assess the situation and safely stabilize and restore those systems. Repair estimates remain the same—that the USPTO will be impacted at least through December 25.
Power that comes into the USPTO’s main building feeds two power filtration systems that provide steady, “filtered” power so systems don’t suffer from damaging surges or drops in power supply. A malfunction in the power supply lines feeding these two systems caused significant damage to both systems. This is what we believe caused our systems to go down on Tuesday night.
Because of their size, these large and highly complex power filtration systems cannot be easily replaced. We are working with service providers to obtain a source of uninterrupted conditioned power to the data center as soon as possible.
The USPTO will continue to provide updates, such as yesterday’s announcement of our filing deadline flexibility, through our systems status webpage (www.uspto.gov/blog/ebiz/) and Facebook account (www.facebook.com/uspto.gov(link is external)). With that information, users can make informed decisions about how best to allocate their own time and efforts while the problem is being addressed.
Our IP system is vital to our 21st century knowledge economy. Therefore, having timely and efficient public access to all of our agency’s filing, searching, and payment systems is also vital. The USPTO is mindful of our customer’s needs and appreciates the continuing patience.