The nomenclature throughout PatentCenter is wrong and therefore confusing. The words "application" and "submission" are used by humans with two very specific and consistent definitions. Patent Center goofs it up. To humans (especially lawyers):
* An "application" is the thing that starts with filing a new application, has a serial number of the form xx/xxx,xxx, and persists for some years through multiple office actions, replies, etc. This is the term defined by statute -- nobody (except Congress) can change it.
* A "submission" is one interaction, over a few minutes -- upload a collection of individual documents, and hit "submit." (see how that works? Clicking the box "Submit" concludes one "submission".) The word "submission" and this specific meaning is encoded throughout the PTO's regulations (see for example 37 CFR § 1.4(d)(3), § 1.4(e), § 1.6(a)(4)), and the PTO's legal analysis. https://www.uspto.gov/sites/default/files/documents/2019LegalFrameworkPES.pdf
Lawyers and the PTO use words consistently and precisely, and the software has to follow. This use of "application" and "submission" are uniform throughout the law, throughout PAIR, throughout EFS, throughout the PTO's communications to the public, and throughout other filing systems of other patent offices (such as WIPO's ePCT). A "new application" can be a submission, but not all submissions are applications. A single "application" has multiple "submissions" over its lifetime.
Patent Center is the odd man out. Not only that, Patent Center is internally inconsistent. For example, there are multiple and inconsistent terms used for the thing that everyone else calls a "submission:"
* The buttons at the bottom of the "upload documents" page is "submit" or "Cancel submission" -- which is correct usage for the term "submission."
* There's a weird term "Follow-on Submission" in some places, which seems to mean "submission."
* Sometimes Patent Center uses the term "application" to mean "submission."
The box on the front page of Patent Center labeled "Existing submission" should be "New Submission" or "new submission for existing application."
Likewise, Patent Center uses lots of different and inconsistent terms to mean "application."
* The box on the front page of Patent Center labelled "New submission" is obviously wrong, and obviously intends to be "New application."
* After clicking on "Existing Submission," I get to "Follow-on Submission" https://patentcenter.uspto.gov/#!/submissions/36063f26-f21f-4756-a078-8bfdf2b8ac73/initiate/followOn?category=FollowOnSubmissions (the fact that those two don't conform should be a flag that something is wrong.) On this page, we see "Application # [box] 99999999 or 99/999,999 or PCT/US03/12345 or PCT/JP2003/012345" That is a correct use of the term "Application"
* on the page https://patentcenter.uspto.gov/#!/submission-cards/file-new-submission the label is "File new submission" This should be "File new application"
Patent Center uses the term "submission" sometimes to mean "application" and sometimes to mean "submission." Likewise, Patent Center uses the term "application" sometimes to mean one, sometimes the other. For a user, it's confusing.
Patent Center makes a complete hash of the nomenclature, and it's wrong, and it's confusing. The terms "application" and "submission" each have precise definitions. Patent Center's imprecise use of language leads to confusion.
The requested action is to conform the text in Patent Center's pages to the precise usage of all users: "Application" and "Submission."
Also, as a once-upon-a-time programmer, I can tell you that goofing up the nomenclature this way will lead to bugs. Guaranteed. Programmers (at least programmers that care about quality and correctness) are the one group of people that have to be even more persnickety than lawyers in their use of language.
Please provide me with a ticket number.