Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Deficit of available patent attorneys?

IPBiz noticed the following questionable text:

It turns out that the number of law school graduates each year who have backgrounds in both science and law is somewhat less than the demand for their services. So law firms face a difficulty in getting new qualified bodies to sit in their offices and work as patent lawyers. That situation arises before the writing abilities of these scarce resources—potential patent lawyers—are taken into account. So that doesn’t happen, and some patent lawyers just are not very good writers.

Even the ones with some writing skill face significant barriers to writing solid, clear patents. Patents are often (but not always) at the cutting edge of newly emerging technology that is complicated and hard to understand. And the subject matter often is somewhat outside the patent lawyer’s core technical knowledge. For example, it may not be realistic to expect to find a patent lawyer with technical expertise in the matrix theory of Markovian statistical models. It is not easy to write well and clearly about such stuff.

First, there is a large surplus of patent attorneys floating around. There is even a surplus of patent attorneys who are good writers. And, we haven't even considered patent agents.
Second, price is a big factor. Applications are not being outsourced to India because of the better writing skills of Indian drafters.
Third, there are many other factors involved in imprecise claim drafting than a lack of writing ability of patent attorneys (or patent agents).

The article also had the text:

Intuitively, the requirement for the specification to be clear, concise, and exact feels a lot like the requirement for the claims to be sufficiently definite. And the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals recently held that an unclear and ambiguous patent claim did not satisfy the definiteness requirement of the second paragraph of section 112. In IPXL Holdings, L.L.C. v., Inc., claim 25 of the asserted patent was written so that it was unclear whether it was a claim for a financial transaction system or for a method of performing financial transactions. The court ruled that this ambiguity failed to satisfy the definiteness requirement of the second paragraph of section 112.


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