6:05pm Patents Management has sent an email to all Patents employees giving guidance about the outage. The outage has not yet been resolved.
As of Friday, August 17, 2018, the outage continues. POPA has received a lot of feedback from employees regarding the current systems outage and we thank you for the feedback. We are in on-going communication with the Agency to reduce the harm to employees and we are imploring the Agency to get out guidance before the weekend. We do not want employees spending the weekend checking to see if the systems have come back up. POPA will update this post as we receive more information.
The announcement regarding PALM suggests that the issues would be fixed Tuesday, 21 August. Given recent events, it is possible that the issue will linger, and not be fixed until after that time. Management indicated DM would be fixed to 15 Aug for any case posted by 3 pm Wednesday, 22 Aug. I plan on leaving for vacation Wednesday, and will not have an opportunity to post cases after Tuesday for at least a week. If the issue persists, how would I get the DM credit I am due for the cases I have finished but am unable to post due to the PALM issues?
I think it is time for POPA to call for all Examiners to slow down to 89% production until management agrees to a permanent agreement on a fair way to handle IT outages. expecting us to produce at 75% of what we normally product (6/8 hours for a day) when OC and OACS don't work is ridiculous. I am lucky to come up with 1-2 hours of work I can do before I really need OC to go any farther. I will likely not even remember what I came up with when they finally get it up an running again, so the 1-2 hours of work I did will be wasted.
Regarding the Palm/OC outage that has been going on for the last 2 days. I feel that it is only fair that management compensate examiners in non-production time for the entire time of the outage. These outages, which have been far too common, are the fault of management, which has not invested enough resources into IT infrastructure. It was not the fault of examiners. Examiners should not have to pay the price for management's incompetence by working over the weekend to make up for time lost.
Management asserts that EAST is fully functional during this PALM outage. However, EAST has been slow this afternoon as well.
Today we have ANOTHER IT outage. So far no notice that we will be given any time for this outage. Although I am well aware that there are some things I can do without access to OC and PALM, my efficiency always takes a big hit when I am forced into an unplanned work around. Most examiners have a particular order that they do things in - for me, I first print out the claims, then carry them up to my kitchen table and mark them up over a cup of tea. Then I open up my OC action and respond to the restriction traversal, outline which claims will be examined, and make an outline for myself of claim objections, 112s and 101s. Then I search for art, and if the technology is not familiar, I get a few review articles to get up to speed on that particular technology and learn acronyms/synonyms, etc. No use to search if I don't know the acronyms/synonyms. If there are sequences, I will have already requested sequences searches, and I will pull that art up, too. Then I compare my outline and my art to the claims, and I look at the working examples and I think about if there is ANYTHING that looks allowable, so I can draft my rejections in a way that points applicant in that direction. Then I start drafting the actual rejections. When I am done with all that I fill out all the forms (326, 892, search notes). If this order gets messed up, my efficiency takes a BIG HIT. Also, I am more likely to make a dumb mistake and leave something out. The order in which these tasks get accomplished is very important for the quality of my work. Lastly, the maximum number of cases, for me, to work on simultaneously is 3-4. Any more than that, I get confused between them and I am likely to really mess things up causing a lot of rework. Having unreliable IT systems and having management UNWILLING to give us other time is COMPLETELY UNACCEPTABLE!!!
Please exert union pressure on management to be reasonable and fair about this.