Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Aharonian blames nanotech companies for backlog, but who's to blame for the '811?

Further to "Plagiarism in Portland?," the New Scientist noted on April 24:

Nanotechnology companies have only themselves to blame for the sluggish rate at which their US patents are being awarded.
That was the message at a recent Department of Commerce meeting in Portland, Oregon, when undersecretary for technology Robert Crescanti heard start-ups complaining that delayed patent decisions are losing them the chance to raise crucial venture capital. Crescanti countered that the delays are the result of firms poaching nanotech-trained examiners en masse from the US Patent and Trademark Office in Washington DC to draft their own patents.
San Francisco-based patent expert Greg Aharonian says the problem goes beyond nanotech: "Delays in some areas of software and business methods are just as long for the same reason - the good examiners are gone."

From issue 2600 of New Scientist magazine, 24 April 2007, page 23

IPBiz notes that on the one hand patent examiners are being blamed for not recognizing pertinent prior art but on the other hand such "incompetents" are being scooped up by private enterprise. Hmmm.... Maybe it's only in Baltimore.

Separately, for those who remember page 144 of Innovation and Its Discontents by Jaffe and Lerner, which discussed the (allegedly) incompetent handling of prior art to the '811 patent by the USPTO, it was indeed Aharonian who first made the (incorrect) allegation, which has now grown into an urban legend.


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