Tuesday, May 02, 2006

EETimes on patent reform

The USPTO proposals of January 2006 are explained in the following manner: More money "is not a long-term solution," USPTO Director Dudas said. "It's not a sustainable model for us to hire 1,000 examiners a year, so we have to look at the system as a whole and get the people with the most at stake, the applicants, to do more work on the front end."

In a switch from the "conventional wisdom," EET quotes Linda Thayer: "The existing point system rewards examiners who reject applications, and that encourages inventors to file continuations." Haven't people been saying the point system rewards examiners who ALLOW applications? Second, and subsequent, continuing applications are only 5 to 7% of all applications.

Sounding of Mark Lemley, we also have: With continuations, people are "basically refiling the same application over and over again," said David Simon, chief patent counsel at Intel Corp. "If you are not happy, you can just come back again, and the patent office can never be sure when they are finished with a case. In some instances, examiners just give up."

One recalls that Simon, the chief patent counsel of Intel, in testifying before Congress, referred to the questioned and questionable conclusions of the FIRST Quillen and Webster paper in the year 2003, after the conclusions had been modified by Quillen and Webster in 2002. Testimony of David M. Simon, Chief Patent Counsel, Intel; July 24, 2003, available at www.house.gov/judiciary/simon072403.pdf.

EET also notes:

The budget situation appears to be on the road to resolution. For
the past two years, the U.S. Patent Office has been able to plow all the fees it
raises back into hiring more examiners rather than diverting the money to the
government's coffers. A bill pending in Congress (H.R. 2791) would make
that situation permanent.

"If they put the money back into the patent office, they can pay
patent examiners properly," said Brent Frei, a vice president at Intellectual
Ventures (Bellevue, Wash.), a startup that aims to write and buy patents to
create and commercialize patent portfolios.

[EET article by Rick Merritt]


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