USPTO - The end is coming. How to authenticate without the Java plugin?
Almost a year ago, Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox announced that they would stop supporting plugins such as Java at the end of 2016. Why is plugin support for Java an issue? Because the USPTO still uses the Java plugin to authenticate users for access to Private PAIR (Patent Application Information Retrieval system) and EFS-Web. Until today, the USPTO was silent about its plans to replace the Java plugin. Today, it announced the alternative authentication method which should be available sometime in October 2016.
The USPTO's alternative method uses Java Web Start, which allows standalone Java software applications to be deployed over the Internet. Thus, the USPTO's solution to the plugin problem was to use Oracle's new technology to deploy Java applications. One has to wonder whether this new solution is "better" than the solution used by WIPO, which is to issue user certificates.