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May 24, 2008


Hal Wegner has his knickers in a twist:

Beyond the anonymous attack launched against the PTO by an "Institute for Progress", Professor Dennis Crouch in his highly reliable blog, Patently O, has now exposed a patent attorney or agent who has launched an anonymous website, "USPTOExaminers.com", as a way for practitioners to anonymously post criticisms of individual Examiners. Both examples of anonymous criticism are unacceptable, but the latter is far worse as it posts attacks against individual Examiners who have no way to defend themselves.

Though notified of its existence, I ignored USPTO Examiners.com, deciding it a bit of unseemly ad hominem venting unworthy of publicity. On the contrary, along with providing mondo publicity, Professor Crouch liked the site so much he even interviewed the site creator. There is a serious reality distortion for Wegner to term Crouch's coverage as an exposure, as unacceptable. Crouch had no such condemnation for USPTO Examiners.com. If anything, Crouch's blogging is "highly reliable" for being bland.

Wegner gets particularly worked up over this comment on examiner William D. Cumming:

I have had the same experience with Examiner Cumming over the years. Frankly I cannot believe that he was given signatory authority. The work I have reviewed from him plainly indicates his incompetence. I have had to appeal every case where he was the examiner. And I got him reversed at the Board every time. I think he falls into some kind of job protected category. That is the only reason I can think of why he has not been fired.

Wegner: "There is simply no place for racist, sexist, ethnic or other slurs - anonymous or otherwise." Hey Hal, the examiner's a white guy, like you and me. (Or, at least, he has a white boy's name. Hey homey, who you calling "boy"?)

As an aside, the comments on USPTO Examiners.com do not appear as merely hatchet jobs.

Most examiners this prosecutor faces are incompetent, a notable few quite graciously so. That observation applies to people at large, and smaller groups by occupation. If everyone who was incompetent was fired, unemployment would be over 80%.

Weirdly, Wegner then rails about the anonymity of the goblins behind a white paper from another web site, the Institute for Progress.

"All ex parte patent reexaminations pending for more than two years were processed to final determination." - PTO Annual Report. The credibility of the PTO has been under attack since this statement. (Professor Dennis Crouch demonstrates a five (5) year average pendency, while this writer's data for a key category of ex parte reexaminations shows an average pendency above seven (7) years.)

Inter partes statistics are from an anonymous website - a new "Institute for Progress" show that not one single inter partes reexamination has been completed through a court appeal and other damaging points demonstrating churning and not progress in typical prosecutions. Presumably, the authors will identify themselves in the near future if their study is to have any credibility. But, the report is based upon hard numbers from the PTO's website; if untrue, it is the obligation of the PTO to come forward immediately to set the record straight.

Wegner fails to explain why the anonymity of a source has anything to do with the reliability of data presented. This on a topic where he himself validates their data base and conclusion.

We all know who is behind the shenanigans at the USPTO. Their repeated misrepresentations and omissions of relevant facts where convenient to them are well chronicled. Knowing the identity of someone is orthogonal to credibility. Do you grant Jon Dudas any credibility? If so, please contact me for an excellent opportunity to purchase mountain-view real estate in Florida.

Hal, don't get me wrong. I love you. You perform a wonderful, valuable service to the patent community. You just went into the weeds on this one. Save the outrage for the people in power, the USPTO, court judges, ones who have an impact, who should know better, the ones that, to date, you have been too afraid to take to task, because you're in the little club, and you would be ostracized if you had the courage of your convictions. Maybe better to attack anonymously, to spare yourself the embarrassment. Leave the pettiness to the little people.

Jeff Wold at IAM magazine scored the coup on the Institute for Progress story, as did Peter Zura over at 271. Good job, guys.

Posted by Patent Hawk at May 24, 2008 2:32 PM | Prosecution


Anonymous rabble rousers cause nothing but trouble!


Posted by: Anon E. Mouse at May 27, 2008 3:29 AM

or he could actually go to the website he is bashing and see how many examiners are praised for their intelligence and thoughtfulness. But I guess that would ruin his point of the dangers of anonyminity.

Posted by: greg mcg at June 3, 2008 10:54 AM