I wrote an article a while back, "Thinking XML: Patent filings meet XML" in which I covered, among other things, the various patent agancies' efforts to support electronic filing. Many of these efforts are XML-based. Except now perhaps the USPTO's (EFS-Web) isn't. There were a lot of gnarly aspects of the EFS-Web process, and I had heard from some users who ended up abandoning the system. It looks as if the USPTO is trying to address these problems by chucking the whole approach and just having people upload PDFs (via XML.org Daily Newslink--yeah. I'm way behind). I wonder whether they also considered supporting ODF, at least as an alternative to PDF. It seems to me that what they needed was broader, not narrower format and tool support.