Don’t update Java on your Computers

I just received an unconfirmed report that users who install the most recent updates of Oracle’s Java software will not be able to access the USPTO’s Private PAIR system. The update was apparently released on October 18 for PCs and November 7 for Macs. The USPTO has also been informed of the problem, but has not yet released any work-around. So, the cautious advice is to not update your system until the USPTO has updated its system.

When I say “unconfirmed,” I should qualify that the report came from a patent attorney who is suffering under the problem. In addition, I was unable to access Private PAIR on my office computer (that had updated Java) but can still access the system from my personal computer (that has not been updated).

42 thoughts on “Don’t update Java on your Computers

  1. 42

    I FINALLY was able to log in. For those of you on MAC, i have been told that because of the way Java installs on MAC, you CANNOT remove it and reinstall an earlier version.

    That being said, I was also told that ALL web developers (presumably the USPTO included), were given JAVA ver. 29 a full TWO weeks before the public. The USPTO either knew or should have known of the problem. If they knew. a large banner should have been placed on the homepage to warn of the results.

  2. 41

    eALERT from USPTO: EFS-Web and Private PAIR are now compatible with Java 6 Update 29
    EFS-Web and Private PAIR users may now download Java 6 Update 29 (released on 10/18/11). Please contact your IT department or follow the instructions provided at link to to install the Java update.
    Old bookmarks to EFS-Web and Private PAIR may not work after the update. Please create new bookmarks or clear your browser cache.
    The USPTO is still working with Entrust to test the Java 7 patch. We will post an advisory to the public via the EFS-Web and Private PAIR announcement pages once Java 7 is supported.
    Contact the Patent EBC at 1-866-217-9197 (toll-free) or if you need further assistance.

  3. 40

    I’m unable to file. 2 days ago I could access PAIR. Yesterday and today I can’t. I didn’t upgrade intentionally… But here I am unable to file on my two macs. Good thing I don’t need to file today. I should go skiing.

  4. 38

    Yup, the eAlert came into my e-mail in box yesterday as well. Pretty much like barring the barn door after the horse has already escaped (or Pandora’s box has been opened).

  5. 36

    Can you imagine how valuable a patent on that would have been?

    No, but I can easily imagine the pxtxtnt txxbxggxrs who troll here foaming at the mouth while defending the necessity of such a patent.

  6. 35

    He was a big heavy set guy…Dark hair,Geniumus type.. Like the poor SOB that discovered DNA. Don’t tell me.. I can’t stand it, He is trashed too? What for Discovery?If I only had humongous Trash Compactor.. I’d tell you what I’d do.

  7. 34

    Remember the Guy that claimed (I think he was MIT)he could open a page at the USPTO, shut the Computer off. Then when he rebooted it opened the file. Did someone stifle his verbage, or maybe kill him off?

  8. 33

    Can you imagine how valuable a patent on that would have been? To be able to exclude others from doing that?

  9. 32

    This is the assistant of the Patent Agent that wrote earlier. E.G. is correct. Uninstall any version of Java more recent that Java 6, Update 27. Restart. Download and install Java 6, Version 27 ( Here’s the direct link: link to ). Restart again, and it should work.

  10. 31

    this game

    aka a “business method”, and one which proved very useful to Mr. Gates et al.


  11. 30

    As per your post, BB, today, about 2 weeks after this SNAFU started I get an eAlert from PTO, obviously trying to cover their _ss —

    “As soon as the problem was identified, the USPTO posted an advisory to the public via EFS-Web and Private PAIR announcement pages. Furthermore, the same advisory was posted within EFS-Web and Private
    PAIR systems upon login to warn users not to accept the latest Java update. In retrospect, due to the severity of this problem, the USPTO
    should have sent an email notification to all e-Commerce e-Alert subscribers and provided more detailed information along with the advisory announcement.

    “If you are unable to authenticate to EFS-Web and Private PAIR due the affected Java updates, please contact your IT department or follow the instructions provided at the Oracle URL below to uninstall the affected Java update and install the supported Java 6 update 26.”

    Oracle seems to be taking a page out of the MS reverse incompatibility playbook. Remember the DOS 1.1 days? Once you got a suite of apps up and running and everything was finally cool, Gates came out with a new ver. of DOS and nothing you had would work.

    Over and over they played this game, which is why Gates is worth $40bn today.

  12. 29

    I assume you filed a patent application before disclosing this valuable information to the public.

    you will need to delve into the Windows registry and filesystem to remove these traces. Some skill is required

    More than enough info to satisfy 112.

  13. 27

    It seems that the USPTO helpful technician could have been a little more helpful:

    Firstly, they could of advised Windows users, to downgrade by making use of one of the websites:
    link to
    link to
    link to

    (Aside: with FileHippo the old versions are listed under the latest version, so go to and then you’ll see a list of old versions.)

    Secondly after installing update 27, recommending the disabling of Java auto-update. This being achieved by a user with ‘Administrator’ permissions. Run the Java console (Control Panel -> Java) and select the ‘Update’ tab then untick the box labelled “Check for Updates Automatically”. You may also want to check the ‘Advance’ tab setting “JRE Auto-Download” is also set to “Never Auto-Download”.

    Additionally, if your system hasn’t been rebuilt in some years (ie. has had many Java updates installed) the uninstall may not complete cleanly, in which case you will need to delve into the Windows registry and filesystem to remove these traces. Some skill is required as I’ve not found a fully documented clean up guide.

  14. 26

    One problem I’ve found is: There is a checkbox in the Java Control Panel for enabling updates. You can uncheck that box all you want. Next time you open the Control Panel, it’s checked again. ((sigh)).

  15. 25

    Of course, just about every page I land on I get a yellow toolbar begging me to update Java. Having fallen for that, it cost me about an hour to claw my way back to a PAIR-friendly browser.

    Here’s the typically gooofy part: you don’t get the PTO notice that Java 6/29 & 7 are a bust until after you log onto PAIR, but of course, if you are using 6/29 or 7 you can’t log on. So what’s the point of the warning? This is like the sign on the shop door: No pets, except seeing eye dogs. Um . . . like, is that message so blind folks will know their dogs are ok?

    They do a purty good job at EBC, but some of their systems analysts are just not up to it. Ten years later we still can’t download pdf’s when doing a native search at PTO. If Patent Lens can do it, why can’t PTO??? Ans: brain-ded system analysts or management or both.

    Tonight – Sat. Nov12 – there is a msg on PAIR that it’s down until tomorrow morn. Maybe the fix is coming.

  16. 23

    You can’t hang a Picture after you put the eyes on and then thread the wire across without a nail on the wall.
    You can’t hang a Flower Pot without a macramae cradle or the like.
    You can run a computer without Software, but it must be plugged in to the wall. You can run a computer with Software. When you unplug the Computer, nothing works. When you remove the Software from the computer, the computer will still work plugged in. If you remove Hardware from the computer and plug it in it will not work. A Computer is a separate machine.
    Imagine all the new Hardware Machines still to be invented that work like computers but are specially designed to do different things that only Software was able to do.

  17. 22

    Easiest fix:

    Uninstall Java, then go to the Private PAIR login page and hit the “Browse” button to locate/identify your digital certificate. That will automatically trigger download of a Java version compatible with Private PAIR.

  18. 20

    Chances are more than good that you already had more than an old prior art general-purpose computer.

    That’s interesting. So when a patent describes and claims a medium readable by a general-purpose computer, does that include my special-purpose computer that already has lots of firmware and software to enable it to read that medium in the first place? Or must the medium be readable and its code executable by a computer straight out of the box with no software previously installed on it at all?

  19. 19

    a brand new special-purpose machine

    Wow, when you put it that way … there’s really no price I’d pay, really. I’m beginning to understand why the Federal Circuit and Supreme Court tossed logic and reason to the wind just to ensure that patents were available to encourage the fixing of bugs in minor software upgrades. Yes, it all makes sense now. Also explains why both the Supreme Court and Federal Circuit were among the earliest adopters of electronic filing and publishing technology.

  20. 18

    That one little upgrade can transform your boring old prior art general-purpose computer

    Chances are more than good that you already had more than an old prior art general-purpose computer.

  21. 17

    It’s tempting. That one little upgrade can transform your boring old prior art general-purpose computer into a brand new special-purpose machine. If I have to lose Private PAIR access, that’s a price I’m willing to pay.

  22. 16

    At least now somebody has a monetary incentive to find a patentable solution to this problem.

    Because not “upgrading” to Java 1.6.29 is the worst thing ever.

  23. 15

    At least now somebody has a monetary incentive to find a patentable solution to this problem. After all, the defective bits will take time, space and energy to transform to properly working bits, and none of those things are free.

  24. 14

    but… but… but… those are just abstract problems and can have no real world effects

    Right. Because if we granted more crxppy computer-implemented methods there would be far less incompatibility issues between various operating and database management programs.

  25. 12

    It is not the USPTO’s fault. There are widespread issues with database connections to Microsoft SQL Server databases from Java 1.6 update 29. For example, the software company I work for is advising customers to downgrade to 27. I’m pretty sure that PAIR and Private PAIR store data in Microsoft SQL Server and therefore are susceptible. There’s nothing the USPTO could have done to foresee or prevent this problem.

    The bug is discussed in this Java forum <.”>>.

  26. 11

    You’re most welcome, Leopold. I found out the hard way when I tried to access private PAIR, not realizing I had a “Java problem.” Getting rid of the 29 Update and installng the older 27 Update was a pain, but at least it worked. The USPTO needs to be more on top of these updates of standard software such as Java and Adobe Reader, or we’re going to have a true “disaster” one of these days. May be we should tell Congress that if they would stop fee diversion, may be the USPTO could stay on top the software issues. But that’s probably a pipe dream at this time, given what happened with the AIA (the Abominable Inane Act).

  27. 10

    There is a similar issue with Adobe Reader for pdf files, especially fillable pdf froms from which the USPTO can “extract” the filled information, such as an ADS, from an electronically filed documetn via EFS. The USPTO supported versions of Adobe Reader are always well-behind the most recent version(s) (when you load the filled pdf form in EFS, you’ll get a “red” error message on validation), so I simply “print” (using PaperPort) the filled form to create a pdf that will at least be loadable in EFS (with a “yellow” warning message).

  28. 9

    Java 1.6 upto update 27 works fine. Installing update 29 causes EFS login failure. If you have installed update 29, it is not a big issue. Just go to “Remove Program” in the control panel and uninstall java (all versions, there may be some older versions lingering in your system). Then visit link to and download Java Runtime Environment 1.6 update 27. Install it and you are all set.

  29. 8

    I had this issue, called the USPTO helpdesk, and received the same guidance. PAIR is compatible up to 6.27 at the latest. Current version is 6.29 and 7+ is available.

    When logging in with the updated java version, you get an authentication error, but no real guidance on what the problem actually might be.

    The person I spoke with at the USPTO helpdesk was thankfully aware of the problem, but unfortunately, could not say when a compatibility fix will be available.

  30. 5

    I think this annoying problem has been confirmed. From:

    link to

    “Advisory (19OCT2011) Java 7 and Java 6 Update 29 are currently not compatible and not supported in EFS-Web and Private PAIR. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.”

  31. 4

    We ran into this problem on one or our computers. We have a work around for this problem. I will have my IT assistant post something, when he gets a chance. However, I keep him very busy, so it may take a while before he posts something. For those solo practitioners with little IT support, the problem is in version 1.6.0_29 and later. If you take the route of not accepting this update, it means you will never be able to update JAVA again, unless SUN/Oracle or the PTO solves the problem.

  32. 3

    IBP I’m Berkenstock …you PEABRAIN!
    That is why you contacted the M——s.Isn’t that a Misfelony? Or would it be called something else?
    To keep yourself out of P—-n
    So you pay them to stay free~
    That is why Mann lied to me! He won’t even pick up his Pink Slip!
    Oh but I have the File, and also have two Pkgs. from you showing you did File the TS after they took off.So you also were probably the wag too. And that means that it was YOU on the M.F.! Why didn’t they do something? Oh I get it I never mentioned TS resulting in the T.S. so touchie!!
    so do they think a Power of Atty. stating I am a Pea Brain.. I have news for them. Mr. Mann answer your Mail the GIG is UP!

  33. 2

    While we’re on the topic, does anyone know of a way to access PAIR using a tablet computer? (either ipad or android).

  34. 1

    What that patent attorney says is true of Java version 6, Update 29 if you want to access private PAIR. What you’ll need to do is uninstall this Update 29 of Java version 6, and then download and install from link to Java version 6, Update 27, followed by restarting your computer. That fixed the issue for me.

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