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April 17, 2008

Lazy Man Insults His Customers

The USPTO is storing up trouble. PTO honcho Jon Dudas said Wednesday that patent applications are "skyrocketing," but quality is suffering "as corporations and individuals increasingly seek to turn intellectual property into a legal asset rather than a means to technology innovation."

Dudas, who is not a patent attorney, apparently holds an ersatz concept of intellectual property.

It has been estimated the intellectual property now accounts for roughly 70% of corporate assets in this country, contrasted to around 30% a decade ago. For example, in 1995, Microsoft held a portfolio of only 115 patents. Between 1996 and 2007, inclusive, Microsoft has filed over 12,000 patent applications.

Referring to the falling allowance rate, an artificially generated statistic from inept examination, Dudas proclaimed "we've seen a problem with quality," though he wasn't indicating the real problem, just an imaginary one.

The quality of examination has dropped precipitously in the past few years. To evade work, examiners regularly place restriction requirements in contravention of MPEP, the examination guidelines. PTO management has a statistical goal orientation, and the patent examiner corps has responded by furiously and spuriously rejecting allowable claims. The agency beefed up the appeals board a couple of years ago in anticipation of this.

Disingenuous Dudas instead attributes the allowance rate drop from 72% to 42% to "better examiners," as well as pointing a finger at patent prosecutors becoming increasingly incompetent nationwide, stating that the current system is "making it too easy for people who want to file poor applications." This was an oblique reference to the PTO's failed illegal attempt to staunch continuation applications, as a means to limit application inflow.

The USPTO has hired over 2,400 examiners over the last two years, but the examiner corps is growing much more slowly, as attrition continues to be atrocious because of bad management.

As more and more applications are unjustly rejected, and divisionals abound, prosecutors persist with ever more filings and appeals. This makes the dropping allowance rate a harbinger of even greater pendency and a rising flood of backlogged applications on top of new applications.

The Dudas PTO management regime has been backfire in action, continuing episodes of myopic self-interest at the expense of protecting invention assets.

Posted by Patent Hawk at April 17, 2008 5:41 PM | The Patent Office

Comments

Since the court smacked him down and it looks like a "reform" bill which ships jobs to China is not gonna pass in the middle of a nasty recession, Dudas has to do SOMETHING to justify his future bloated salary in a CPF corporation (or satellite therof). So he has to come out with these bogus press releases about "gaming the system" and "low quality" (like Peterlin was a "high quality" appointment).
And then Dudas will go and recycle some 8 year old patent about a P&J sandwitch or a method of swinging a swing or the crappy IBM bathroom patent as anecdotal evidence that the "system is broken."
And then the moronic business press will pick up on.

Posted by: anonymousAgent at April 18, 2008 1:29 AM

"Legal assets"? Of course they're assets! What of it?

If the researchers in my company have an idea, and they investigate it and develop it, and I file and obtain a patent on it, that's a company asset. Why shouldn't it be? The company sank time and money into its development. If the company later decides to change business direction, and is no longer interested in practicing it, why shouldn't the company recoup some money by licensing or selling the invention?

Dudas and his ilk are just not understanding this. A patent IS a product (or it can be, anyway). This is simply modern business. I wish he'd go back to the nineteenth century.

Well, I have to go. I feel a wave of incompetence coming on (and here I thought it was the flu).

Posted by: Patent_Medicine at April 18, 2008 4:52 AM

He is an idiot. But let's hope he is smart enough to trick some dopey CPF member into giving him a thumb twiddling job. That's our only hope of getting rid of him.

Posted by: JD at April 18, 2008 5:32 AM

Dudas is Bush's appointee

Come November, next president comes, probably Obama..
(I don't like any of them to tell the truth...)
Obama has this clueless Lemley guy as his IP advisor..
Together they'll destroy the reasonably well functioning US Patent system
heck, I don't see the end of trouble

Where the hell is that Mitt Romney guy ?
He was the only guy with some kind of rational thinking towards IP, as far as I remember.
All others are simply clueless idiots (as far as patents are concerned) easily duped by Korporate propaganda (and campaign money contributions of course) into thinking that US patent system is somehow broken and needs to be "fixed"

if it ain't broke, don't fix it

Posted by: angry dude at April 18, 2008 6:12 AM

«Lazy Man Insults His Customers»

The customers of the USPTO are not the applicants, who just want to be granted temporary state enforced monopolies that take away without compensation the rights of others to enjoy the fruits of their own trade skills.

The customers of the USPTO are the taxpayers, who rely on the USPTO to grant temporary state enforced monopolies only when truly deserving, as patents are not a right of applicants -- they are a concession by taxpayers to those who make full and prompt publication of trade secrets.

Patents do no reward invention or claiming an invention -- rather the publication of a genuine trade secret, and the USPTO is far from vigilant and grants too many patents that cover knowledge that is not a genuine trade secret (because it is obvious, or not original, or incomplete).

In this it is failing its customers, the USA taxpayers who are granting those temporary state enforced monopolies.

Posted by: Blissex at April 26, 2008 12:30 AM