Be aware: The USPTO will no longer accept USD (up-side-down) faxes. You are now informed.
At first I thought you were referring to people trying to fax US dollars (USD) but that didn’t make any sense. 🙂
When I first read this, I pictured a bunch of blank pages due to the sender not paying attention to the fax machine’s ‘text up/text down’ instructions. The reality shifts the stupid to the receiver at the USPTO. It makes them sound like whiny children or bureaucrats, oh, wait…
Sounds very sensible to me: if your diagrams and schematics make the same amount of sense either way up, your invention probably doesn’t deserve a patent to begin with.
Jokes aside, I’d assume they do this for legal reasons: if they turn down a patent submission due to an USD page, the submitter might hold them liable, but if they turn the page around and award the patent, somebody with a competing claim might hold them liable (for altering an ineligible submission to make it eligible). Just comes with the territory in an overly litigious society…
There is a followup article which makes it even less clear to me what is going on. The story is that the antiquated fax software errors-out when fax images are upside down (it does not seem to be a problem with improperly faxing the blank backs of pages).
I am unsure what this means: for a computer image “upside down” is as meaningless as “upside down” is in zero gravity.
The closest explanation I could make up was that there is an old OCR software layer that fails to recognize properly when the pages are rotated. The second closest is there is some other software that rotates pages by flagging them in the header instead of actually rotating and storing, causing the old software to puke on the header.
The market has a solution – I saw this coming and patented a device that changes USD faxes into normal faxes.
Fax? People still use faxes? Why? I bet they also disallow backward Conestoga wagons too.
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