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Using the v5 PMS command line to import Epoline applications

Posted: Thu Jul 29, 2010 6:09 pm
by matt.woodward
A brief description of our system and usage:
We create and check patent applications using networked Epoline clients on our internal network which is not connected to the Internet.
We then export the applications with 'Ready to sign' status and import them to a stand-alone copy of Epoline installed on a PC with Internet access. They are submitted from here. The person doing this has no patent knowledge and is not expected to change any entries.
Until now we have used either the File Manager (FM) or Server Manager (SM) to import the applications.
Unfortunately both these methods cause the applications to be opened with 'Draft' status and this action causes certain entries to be reset to their default values.
The problems mainly relate to fees but have also affected page counts.
The import process appears to be somewhat bug ridden and differs depending on whether FM or SM is used.
We have found importing EPO applications using SM and UK/PCT applications using FM to cause the least problems.

We have been using Epoline since v3.2 and from the start have been requesting a way of importing applications without the status changing, on the assumption that this would mean that they would be imported exactly as they were exported.
We have been consistently told by support that there was no way of importing applications without them being given 'Draft' status.

I tested the import behaviour after the upgrade to v5 and found it no better.
So I was again looking for hidden settings when I finally realised the import of the PMS interface, looked into it and discovered the PMS command line.
Here I found a method of importing applications with the status maintained as 'Ready to sign'.
It took me a while to get the syntax right and to realise that I needed to validate the application before importing it but I eventually succeeded in importing all but one of the set of test applications that I had created.

The problem I have is that when I try to use the PMS commands to import a UK application based on form UK-NP1 I get the following validation error which prevents the application from being imported:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<!DOCTYPE OLF_2_PMS_response SYSTEM "OLF_2_PMS_response.dtd">
<OLF_2_PMS_response mode="production" language="en" result="failure">
<return_value error_ID="70">Import denied. Please first correct all issues resulting in severity 1 GUI validation messages</return_value>
<application application_ID="" application_language="en" procedure="UKNPUK" user_reference="A2049T" folder="Default Folder" last_saved_date="29.07.2010 17:41:05" last_saved_user="Administrator ">
<validation_message severity="1" validation_ID="900022" gui_tab="Names">Legal applicant county: Value not in list.</validation_message>

The application that was exported shows no validation errors and was in 'Ready to sign' state.
The Legal Applicant had an address in the USA (so no 'County') but I have tried changing the address to the Legal Agent UK address (which generates no error) and it still generates the same validation error.
The only way that I have found of avoiding the error and being able to import the application is to delete the 'Legal Applicant' altogether.
This is obviously not an acceptable solution.
Can anyone assist.


Re: Using the v5 PMS command line to import Epoline applications

Posted: Fri Jul 30, 2010 8:52 am
by D. Van Haken
Dear mr. Woodward,

I'm pleased to see the use you and your company is making of the PMS interface, a step in the right direction to inegrate the online filing capability with your own systems. Here is some feedback and additional information:

A description of the PMS interface can be found in the download centre (Online Filing V5 PMS development kit (for applicants and PMS providers)). It describes the steps to take, for example that an application can not be imported in other then Draft status unless it has been validated before import. If you encounter issues or have specific questions you can always contact (they will transfer your request to the technical support or the development team).

The validation step is enforced to ensure that the same rules apply for imported application compared to applications which have been created and drafted in the GUI.

You should also be aware that there is a "certification" process to follow so that the offices (EPO and other) can check that end to end the processing will be correct, as decsribed on the epoline website (download centre):

""Special note for users who wish to perform filing via the PMS gateway integrated in version 5 of the Online Filing software: Please make sure that the files generated by your PMS can be read and processed by the EPO before you perform filing in production mode. Contact the EPO for further details before you perform filing in production mode. Click here for more information.""

On the specific problem you encounter when importing a UK application based upon UK-NP1into another UK procedure, support must be requested from the UKIPO. The latter has defined and implemented these procedures. The problem you encounter may be a defect in the implementation, an incompleteness or other. If you can provide samples (with testdata) then they can further investigate where the problem is and find a solution.

Re: Using the v5 PMS command line to import Epoline applications

Posted: Fri Jul 30, 2010 9:36 am
by matt.woodward
Thanks for your quick response.

I can see the need for validation but wondered why validation was necessary as a separate step from importation. The 'PMSResponse.xml' appears to display the same validation information after importing as after validation which suggested to me that the import process was also running the validation process.

I was aware of the need for 'certification' (I had to tick the 'approved' box in the 'System Preferences\PMS Gateway interface' dialog) but assume that the eOLF v5 client is certified.

You mention a special note for v5 users and it states "Click here for further details". Unfortunately the link is missing. Could you provide this.

I will forward my query with examples to the UKIPO but experience (with the epo technical support) suggests that if a fix is required it will not be quick.
I would like to move forward with providing the PMS interface as a single step solution to some of our importation problems and hoped that someone on the forum may have hit this problem before me and found a way around it.
Otherwise we have have to continue using different importation procedures for different forms which is not ideal.

In case these issues are of interest to other users I will report back on my progress.

Matt Woodward

Re: Using the v5 PMS command line to import Epoline applicat

Posted: Fri Jul 30, 2010 10:38 am
by D. Van Haken
Dear mr. Woodward,

the reason why validation is imposed prior to import is to avoid that one imports any application without knowing in advance what the validation messages are at the time of import. This clearly defines a 2-step procedure:
-1- check the validation messages and accept them (hence proceed) or update the object to be validated and revalidate (hence iterate).
-2- once validated with success (hence no blocking messages, severity 1), import exactly the same application to either ready to sign or ready to send (requires the signatures to be added up front).

If one allows imports without prior validation in ready to sign or send then, to iterate and change the application via the gui-less interface, requires the user to delete the previously imported application (which requires some modification) and re-import after updating in your own patent management system.

Certification is formally not required if you do not sign via the PMS interface or import directly in ReadyToSend (the responsability of what is sent to the office will be with the one who signs).

The information on the special note for v5 users ("Click here for further details") can be found on the website --> download centre --> software --> online filing. (I can not copy the link itself since it is not static).

Re: Using the v5 PMS command line to import Epoline applications

Posted: Sat Dec 11, 2010 2:36 pm
by matt.woodward
Just a note to round off this topic for anyone interested.

The fix to the issue with the UK NP1 form was provided as part of the 1st September update.
Since that was installed we have been successfully using the PMS interface to transfer applications from our 'offline' system to our 'online' system while maintaining their 'Ready to sign' status.
This has greatly simplified our procedures and appears to have successfully avoided the problems we were experiencing with exporting and importing applications via the 'File Manager' and/or 'Server Manager'.

I would thoroughly recommend this method to anyone who needs to move applications from one Epoline system to another while maintaining the status of the applications.

Many thanks to Dirk and to the UK IPO team for their assistance with this.