back to article Face-PALM: US Patent and Trademark Office database down for 5 days and counting

The US Patent and Trademark Office has taken a novel approach to dealing with the problem of patent trolls. The solution? Shut everything down. The Patent Application Locating and Monitoring (PALM) database forms the backbone of a distressingly large number of US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) systems and, during some …

  1. macjules

    Nice to see ..

    ...that incompetence know no international boundaries.

    What is the US equivalent of Capita by the way?

    1. a_yank_lurker

      Re: Nice to see ..

      Indian Business Machines aka Itsy Bitsy Morons aka I've Been Moved

      1. Oengus

        Re: Nice to see ..

        or in this case it seems more like "It Beats Me".

      2. macjules

        Re: Nice to see ..

        I can't see IBM as a equivalent of Capita as IBM actually (ok well, occasionally) makes things. Capita is like a leech feeding on the British taxpayer, sucking up everything it can, lying low for a while and then starting all over again. It has very rarely ever successfully produced any final product and never once on time.

  2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "a novel approach to dealing with the problem of patent trolls"

    Heh. Suits me. They can even leave it down.

    1. Frank Marsh

      Re: "a novel approach to dealing with the problem of patent trolls"

      Unfortunately, all the Examiners who can't work effectively will just have to rush through their backlog once the systems come back up. That sort of rush will make it even more likely for BS patents to be excreted out the back end of the USPTO.

  3. pɹɐʍoɔ snoɯʎuouɐ

    I think....

    I think I would actually piss myself laughing if it was down because the database software was in breach of someone's patent.....

    its not beyond possibilities that someone filed for a software patent and wants remuneration.

    1. JeffyPoooh

      Re: I think....

      I came here to post that they've probably been taken off-line due to their own violation of an overly-broad patent covering "Data on a Network"...

      ...But I see that you've handled it already.


      1. VikiAi

        Re: I think....

        I think it may have been my "Filing and Storing of Patents ... On a Computer" application, the approval for which came through about 300ms before the outage began.

  4. fidodogbreath

    Oh, no!

    How will I file my patent for "representing a spoken or gestural language by means of a writing system?"

    1. Wellyboot Silver badge

      Re: Oh, no!

      I hope you're not infringing my -

      "portable device for transfer of coloured marking liquid in a controlled manner by means of a spherical applicator"

      - patent :)

  5. Jay Lenovo

    So many paid alternatives

    Will the paper filing fee be refunded later?

    Likely this isn't addressed yet because it's contingent on PALM working again ...someday.

    Certainly YOUR money has no better place to be.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    It sounds like they've been hit by a data encrypting virus or worm, and don't have backups working for a recent restore point.

    If that turns out to be the case, it'll be hilarious. And probably the only positive thing to come from the people writing that kind of code.

    1. Captain Scarlet

      Re: Viral?

      From the looks of it because they mention maintenance, an upgrade went Belly up and they are now restoring from Tape after failing to rectify the issue.

      I could be wrong, as I don't know how much data it holds, how they backup and whether they use Tape for backups.

      1. Frank Marsh

        Re: Viral?

        I just desperately hope that one day we will learn what really happened in an issue of "Who, Me?" This has all the markings of something like running a backup in the wrong direction.

        The incremental progress the USPTO keeps talking about suggests they restored from tape and are now hand-entering all the lost transactions from log files. At least that's where I'll place my $20 bet.

  7. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

    That ransomware patent application you filed the other day...

    You did mark the sample USB stick you provided showing "proof of concept" with a warning not to plug it in... didn't you?

  8. eldakka

    They must be using the same HP 3PAR systems with the same type of maintenance contract that the ATO was using when it had issues last year.

  9. Orv Silver badge

    NOAA's servers are having issues, too, although it's probably unrelated. Specifically, has been down all day. There is a backup server (, but it doesn't have all the API endpoints.

    At around 0530Z, network access to our web provider went down. As of 2000Z, some web access is available but the data are old (last data still from 05Z). The web pages are still unavailable. We are monitoring the situation. An effort to recover lost data will happen once network access is restored and stable.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Remember there was a quite severe level Oracle bug notice sent out very recently? And you know those encrypt-everything Ransome-ware's been making the rounds... It's a gigantic Oracle installation so either storage array(s) went ka-bluie or their DB got trashed thru other means necessitating a full restore. If only they were running "in the Cloud(tm)" and they could have just restored from S3 snapshots. *fnar, fnar.

    maybe I won't be so surprised when an Amazon SnowMobile is parked in the loading dock...

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