Sunday, September 20, 2009

Was Doll pushed?

In an article on John Doll titled Patent office overseer quits agency, John Schmid and Ben Poston wrote:

Maryland patent attorney John White said the general view is that Doll was expected to resign under the new director.

"All of us felt that John Doll was not long in his job once the administration had changed, simply because he was the key architect of what Dudas had tried to do," said White, a former examiner. "Was he shoved or did he jump? I think he got a little of both."

David Boundy, a Boston patent attorney, said a culture of rejection characterized Doll's leadership. After consistently rejecting applications at a rate of about 35% since at least 1975, the rejection rate soared under Doll and reached over 59% in the quarter that ended June 30.

"Any patent attorney will tell you that the quality of rejections went way down," Boundy said. "Adherence by examiners to the agency's procedural guidance manual went from very high to very low. Rules and predictability were replaced by subjectivity."

One notes that what was going at the USPTO during the reign of the "culture of rejection" was in large part a meat cleaver response to the allegations made by Quillen and Webster that the allowance rate might be as high as 97% at the USPTO. In the early stages of discussion of the Quillen/Webster allegations, Robert Clarke published in JPTOS a reasoned response which was dismissed by academics such as Lemley and Moore in "Ending Abuse...." When the USPTO got around to proposing its new rules on continuing applications, it was the Lemley and Moore article which was cited. Observant patent attorneys might well credit Quillen/Webster and Lemley/Moore for the reign of rejections.

Comments at Patently-O:

As for John Doll, until someone has worked for the government in a highly political position for at least a decade, please reserve criticisms for the policies not the man. While I have not always agreed with John, I did work with him for over a decade. Recall that when he was in charge of 1600 (Biotech/Pharma), he was instrumental in opening the allowance gate, encouraging interviews, and turning the 112 standard into something that was possible to meet. When he moved into upper management, a lot of things changed, but unless one was there, it is unclear as to what were John's ideas and what were his marching orders. Whatever they were, he dedicated almost thirty years of 12 hour days to doing what he thought was right. Even when I disagreed with his policies, I always tried to respect the man.


John Doll appears to have been Bob Stoll's primary/SPE for an extensive period of time. 145 out of 190 allowances that Stoll had as an assistant examiner list John Doll as the primary.


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