Sunday, October 29, 2006

Chicago Tribune on nanotechnology patents

Sun setting on nanotechnology patents???

Jon Van of the Chicago Tribune, in an article Slow patent process hurts nanotech progress; Financial backers wary of 4-year filing period presents the quote: "The impact is one of perception. When you don't get a response from a patent application filing, you don't know what else is going on."

There is also text: Bruce Kisliuk, director of a patent examining group at the patent office, said the agency does face a growing backlog across all areas.

"We have 700,000 applications in the pipeline," Kisliuk said. "Some are for nanotech, some not. This backlog isn't unique to nanotech."

Last year, the office issued fewer patents than usual because of an initiative to improve patent quality, Kisliuk said.

Note the following text about the hiring of examiners:

After years of being starved for resources, the office, which has had around 4,000 examiners, hired 1,200 new ones, bringing its total strength to nearly 4,800 examiners. Another 1,200 are due to be hired this year, he said.

IPBiz notes that 4,000 + 1,200 = 5,200, not "nearly 4,800."

See also an earlier IPBiz post on problems of employee retention at the USPTO:

Separately, recall the numerous patents in the area of buckyballs and fullerenes which issued in the 1990's and went no where.


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