Saturday, August 27, 2005

Bob Park on the false publication from Columbia University

Bob Park noted of the false publication from Columbia University:

Under pressure from the Dean, the lead author, Dr. Rogerio Lobo, has removed his name from the study. Another author, a notorious scam artist, is in jail on separate fraud charges. The University has never retracted or apologized for the study, but has now told the journal to remove all links to Columbia. Maybe an intelligent eraser could help.

[The WN article began: The prayers aren't working. Bruce Flamm, MD, Clinical Professor at the U. of California, Irvine Medical Center, is the reason (WN 4 Jun 04). A 2001 study from Columbia University Medical School, published in a respected, peer-reviewed journal, reported in-vitro fertilization was twice as likely to result in pregnancy if patients were prayed for without their knowledge by total strangers halfway around the world. WN gently explained that they must be crazy Bruce Flamm dug deeper, publishing his findings in Sci. Rev. Alt. Med. In four years he has not let up.](From What's New, 26 Aug. 2005)

Separately, one notes that neither Professor Lemley nor Professor Moore, nor the Boston University Law Review, have corrected the false statement about the article of Robert Clarke, which false statement was used to justify reliance on the Quillen/Webster patent grant rate numbers instead of the numbers proprosed by Robert Clarke.

Specifically, Mark Lemley and Kimberly Moore, in footnote 22 of an article in the Boston University Law Review [Ending Abuse of Patent Continuations, 84 B. U. L. Rev. 63 (2004)], asserted that Clarke was guilty of "erroneously assuming that every continuation resulted in a patent and concluding that the grant rate was 75%." Because of this assertion, Lemley and Moore concluded "The 85% number provided in the revised Quillen et al. study is based on actual data about the applications that issue based on continuations, and reflects the best estimate we have of how often applications mature into patents." [sic: ????]

As pointed several times and self-evident to anyone who has read the Clarke paper [U.S. Continuity Law and its Impact on the Comparative Patenting Rates of the U.S., Japan, and European Patent Office, 85 J. Pat. & Trademark Off. Soc'y [JPTOS] 335(2003)], Clarke made no assumption anywhere in his paper that "every continuation resulted in a patent" and, as such, the footnote is incorrect and not properly cite-checked. Yet, as with the Lobo paper, no retraction by the journal [BULR] ever appeared. Unlike with the Lobo paper, the authors themselves took no action to correct the flagrant error.

Separately, of the supposed validity of Lemley and Moore's "best estimate we have of how often applications mature into patents", note the post at

Quillen and Webster concluded that once continuation, continuation in
part, and divisional applications are accounted for as renewed attempts
to protect the subject matter of their applications, ***the USPTO
eventually issued patents on between 85 percent and 97 percent of
applications filed between 1993 and 1998*** . . . ***20 to 30 percent
higher than official estimates***.

The counting scheme generating these numbers is ridiculous. For example,
a divisional is a splitting up of an application that should have been two
applications. (For some definition of "should").

This counting scheme allows adding allowed applications to the numerator
of the ratio without incrementing the denominator by counting what may
be completely independent attempts to patent separate inventions as the
same application. The silliness is particularly evident when more than
one divisional is allowed generating a percentage of over 100% for that
particular attempt.

A google search using "Quillen" "Webster" "patents" turned up a law
journal article by Lawrence Ebert which examined Q+W's study and points
out the same counting error I describe here and alleges some additional
problems with the study.

The same search turned up other critques citing the formula used and
indicating that rates of greater than 100 per cent could be obtained
using Q+Ws method.

Apparently none of those issues prevents lots of people from citing the study
to prove all kinds of stuff. Maybe those people are correct. Maybe
even the PTOs calculated allowance rate is too high, but this study
proves nothing

Maybe Lemley and Moore's "best estimate we have of how often applications mature into patents" is simply rubbish.


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