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April 5, 2009

Mapping the Territory

A patent is supposed to be an instruction manual. 35 U.S.C. §112 ¶1 requires an inventor to describe her invention "in such full, clear, concise, and exact terms" that it would "enable any person skilled in the art to which it pertains." Windbags who fail the concise requirement are seldom punished. Clarity is as often observed in the breach as not, with infrequent repercussion. Teasing out meaning is tolerated - pointing out obtuse passages for support is not regarded untoward. But fail "full" or "exact," and you're in a peck of trouble. Herein, a broad claim of an early advance falls short. And in an invigorating dissenting concurrence, the sin of not enabling enablement.

Ariad Pharmaceuticals, MIT, Whitehead Institute, and Harvard College v. Eli Lilly (CAFC 2008-1248) precedential

Written Description Requirement (§112 ¶1)

Penned by Judge Moore, with Judge Linn providing a scolding concurrence.

The technology in this case involves gene regulation. Transcription factors are molecules found in cells that regulate the extent to which genes are expressed. There are hundreds of different transcription factors that perform in concert with other molecules in the cell to control cellular behavior. Unsurprisingly, this network of cellular signals is fertile ground for the development of therapeutic compounds. In the mid-1980s, the inventors of the '516 patent discovered an important transcription factor that they named NF-kB. NF-kB is akin to an all-purpose cellular paramedic. When the cell receives a harmful extracellular influence, such as lipopolysaccharides produced by bacteria, NF-kB is activated. Once activated, NF-kB travels to the nucleus of the cell and fulfills its role as a transcription factor, inducing the expression of numerous genes and causing the cell to produce the corresponding proteins. These proteins, for example certain cytokines, help the cell survive the extracellular influence, but they can be harmful in excess--not unlike how a fever is thought to combat infection but can cause harm if left unchecked. Once the offending extracellular influence diminishes, for example, following the administration of antibiotics for a bacterial infection, NF-kB activity decreases and the cell returns to its original state.

So, the thrust of the invention was to artificially reduce NF-kB activity.

The inventors of the '516 patent further realized that if NF-kB activity could be reduced artificially, it could ameliorate the harmful symptoms of diseases that trigger NF-kB activation--not unlike how aspirin can reduce a fever without actually treating the underlying infection.

Ariad successfully sued Eli Lilly over 6,410,516. A jury found the patent copasetic and infringed.

Lilly appealed.

Section 112 of Title 35 provides, in relevant part, that:

The specification shall contain a written description of the invention, and of the manner and process of making and using it, in such full, clear, concise, and exact terms as to enable any person skilled in the art to which it pertains, or with which it is most nearly connected, to make and use the same, and shall set forth the best mode contemplated by the inventor of carrying out his invention.

35 U.S.C. § 112, ¶ 1 (emphasis added). The emphasized portion of § 112, the written description requirement, "serves both to satisfy the inventor's obligation to disclose the technologic knowledge upon which the patent is based, and to demonstrate that the patentee was in possession of the invention that is claimed." Capon v. Eshhar, 418 F.3d 1349, 1357 (Fed. Cir. 2005). The requirement "serves a teaching function, as a quid pro quo in which the public is given meaningful disclosure in exchange for being excluded from practicing the invention for a limited period of time." Univ. of Rochester v. G.D. Searle & Co., 358 F.3d 916, 922 (Fed. Cir. 2004) (quoting Enzo Biochem, Inc. v. Gen-Probe Inc., 323 F.3d 956, 970 (Fed. Cir. 2002)); see O'Reilly v. Morse, 56 U.S. (15 How.) 62, 121 (1853) (explaining that a patentee "can lawfully claim only what he has invented and described, and if he claims more his patent is void"); Reiffen v. Microsoft Corp., 214 F.3d 1343, 1345-46 (Fed. Cir. 2000) ("The purpose of [the written description requirement] is to ensure that the scope of the right to exclude . . . does not overreach the scope of the inventor's contribution to the field of art as described in the patent specification.").

"To satisfy the written description requirement, 'the applicant does not have to utilize any particular form of disclosure to describe the subject matter claimed, but the description must clearly allow persons of ordinary skill in the art to recognize that he or she invented what is claimed.'" Carnegie Mellon Univ. v. Hoffmann La Roche Inc., 541 F.3d 1115, 1122 (Fed. Cir. 2008) (quoting In re Alton, 76 F.3d 1168, 1172 (Fed. Cir. 1996)). "In other words, the applicant must 'convey with reasonable clarity to those skilled in the art that, as of the filing date sought, he or she was in possession of the invention,' and demonstrate that by disclosure in the specification of the patent." Id. (quoting Vas-Cath Inc. v. Mahurkar, 935 F.2d 1555, 1563-64 (Fed. Cir. 1991)). Such disclosure need not recite the claimed invention in haec verba, but it must do more than merely disclose that which would render the claimed invention obvious. Rochester, 358 F.3d at 923; Regents of the Univ. of Cal. v. Eli Lilly & Co., 119 F.3d 1559, 1566-67 (Fed. Cir. 1997); see also PowerOasis, Inc. v. T-Mobile USA, Inc., 522 F.3d 1299, 1306-07 (Fed. Cir. 2008) (explaining that § 112, ¶1 "requires that the written description actually or inherently disclose the claim element").

"Whether the written description requirement is satisfied is a fact-based inquiry that will depend on the nature of the claimed invention and the knowledge of one skilled in the art at the time an invention is made and a patent application is filed." Carnegie Mellon, 541 F.3d at 1122 (citing Enzo, 323 F.3d at 963). The written description requirement is not satisfied by "[t]he appearance of mere indistinct words in a specification or a claim, even an original claim. . . . A description of what a material does, rather than of what it is, usually does not suffice." Enzo, 323 F.3d at 968 (citing Eli Lilly, 119 F.3d at 1568); see Rochester, 358 F.3d at 926 ("[G]eneralized language may not suffice if it does not convey the detailed identity of an invention.").

Of course, what is adequate depends upon the context of the claimed invention. See Capon, 418 F.3d at 1358 ("The written description requirement must be applied in the context of the particular invention and state of the knowledge."). We have articulated a variety of factors to evaluate the adequacy of the disclosure supporting "generic claims to biological subject matter." Id. at 1359. These factors include "the existing knowledge in the particular field, the extent and content of the prior art, the maturity of the science or technology, [and] the predictability of the aspect at issue." Id.

Raising the bar for disclosure, Lilly put up an expert who said, at the time, this was a "new and unpredictable field." To be clear and exact, then, would require quite a description for someone to follow.

Lilly offered the undisputed expert testimony of David Latchman that the field of the invention was particularly unpredictable. Thus, this invention was made in a new and unpredictable field where the existing knowledge and prior art was scant. See Capon, 418 F.3d at 1359.

Now to the nub of it.

Ariad claims methods comprising the single step of reducing NF-kB activity. Lilly argues that the asserted claims are not supported by written description because the specification of the '516 patent fails to adequately disclose how the claimed reduction of NF-kB activity is achieved. The parties agree that the specification of the '516 patent hypothesizes three classes of molecules potentially capable of reducing NF-kB activity: specific inhibitors, dominantly interfering molecules, and decoy molecules. Lilly contends that this disclosure amounts to little more than a research plan, and does not satisfy the patentee's quid pro quo as described in Rochester. Ariad responds that Lilly's arguments fail as a matter of law because Ariad did not actually claim the molecules. According to Ariad, because there is no term in the asserted claims that corresponds to the molecules, it is entitled to claim the methods without describing the molecules. Ariad's legal assertion, however, is flawed.

In Rochester, we held very similar method claims invalid for lack of written description. Id. (holding patent invalid because "Rochester did not present any evidence that the ordinarily skilled artisan would be able to identify any compound based on [the specification's] vague functional description"); see also Fiers v. Revel, 984 F.2d 1164, 1170-71 (Fed. Cir. 1993) (holding a claim to a genus of DNA molecules not supported by written description of a method for obtaining the molecules); cf. Eli Lilly, 119 F.3d at 1567-68 (holding claims to a broad genus of genetic material invalid because the specification disclosed only one particular species)... Regardless of whether the asserted claims recite a compound, Ariad still must describe some way of performing the claimed methods, and Ariad admits that the specification suggests only the use of the three classes of molecules to achieve NF-kB reduction. Thus, to satisfy the written description requirement for the asserted claims, the specification must demonstrate that Ariad possessed the claimed methods by sufficiently disclosing molecules capable of reducing NF-kB activity so as to "satisfy the inventor's obligation to disclose the technologic knowledge upon which the patent is based, and to demonstrate that the patentee was in possession of the invention that is claimed." Capon, 418 F.3d at 1357.

The effective filing date of '516 was disputed, but settled on the earliest of dates, 1989.

The parties disputed the effective filing date of the '516 patent, and in a detailed and well-crafted special verdict form, the jury was asked to choose between the two possible dates: April 21, 1989 and November 13, 1991. The jury chose 1989 and neither party appealed that determination.

Assigning that early date itself was in error, as it added crucial new matter to the specification.

Figure 43 was added to the specification of a predecessor application of the '516 patent in 1991.

That date would be become dispositive to killing the patent.

In accordance with Rochester, the '516 patent must adequately describe the claimed methods for reducing NF-kB activity, including adequate description of the molecules that Ariad admits are necessary to perform the methods. The specification of the '516 patent hypothesizes three classes of molecules potentially capable of reducing NF-kB activity: specific inhibitors, dominantly interfering molecules, and decoy molecules. We review the specification's disclosure of each in turn to determine whether there is substantial evidence to support the jury's verdict that the written description evidenced that the inventor possessed the claimed invention.

Specific inhibitors are molecules that are "able to block (reduce or eliminate) NF-kB binding" to DNA in the nucleus. '516 patent col.37 ll.44-45. The only example of a specific inhibitor given in the specification is I-kB, a naturally occurring molecule whose function is to hold NF-kB in an inactive state until the cell receives certain external influences. Id. at col.37 ll.48-49. Nearly all of Ariad's evidence regarding the disclosure of I-kB relies upon figure 43. Ariad's expert, Dr. Kadesch, testified that figure 43 discloses the sequence of DNA that encodes I-kB and relied on this disclosure with regard to his opinion that the written description requirement was satisfied by disclosure of specific inhibitor molecules. See Trial Tr. 53; 57-58; 60; 78-85, Apr. 27, 2006. But as Ariad admits, figure 43 was not disclosed until 1991. Because figure 43 was not in the 1989 application, neither it nor Dr. Kadesch's testimony regarding it can offer substantial evidence for the jury determination. See Vas-Cath, 935 F.2d at 1563-64. The only other testimony of Dr. Kadesch with regard to I-kB was that it existed in 1989 and that one of ordinary skill could through experimentation isolate natural I-kB. See Trial Tr. at 62-85. In the context of this invention, a vague functional description and an invitation for further research does not constitute written disclosure of a specific inhibitor.1 See Eli Lilly, 119 F.3d at 1566 (holding that written description requires more than a "mere wish or plan for obtaining the claimed chemical invention"); see also id. at 1567 ("[A] description which renders obvious a claimed invention is not sufficient to satisfy the written description requirement of that invention."). And it certainly does not constitute written disclosure of a method for reducing NF-kB activity using I-kB.

1 Moreover, the district court found, in the context of its inequitable conduct ruling, that figure 43 is both incorrect and incomplete. Ariad Pharms., 529 F. Supp. 2d at 123-25 (finding those errors material). That the inventors of the '516 patent, among the most skilled artisans in their field in the world at this time, failed to correctly disclose the structure of I-kB even two years after the application was filed is a strong sign that one of skill in the art could not be expected to provide this knowledge in 1989.

Lily's testimony of this being "a new and unpredictable field" came home to roost.

The state of the art at the time of filing was primitive and uncertain, leaving Ariad with an insufficient supply of prior art knowledge with which to fill the gaping holes in its disclosure. See Capon, 418 F.3d at 1358 ("It is well-recognized that in the unpredictable fields of science, it is appropriate to recognize the variability in the science in determining the scope of the coverage to which the inventor is entitled.").

Whatever thin thread of support a jury might find in the decoy-molecule hypothetical simply cannot bear the weight of the vast scope of these generic claims. See LizardTech, Inc. v. Earth Res. Mapping, Inc., 424 F.3d 1336, 1345 (Fed. Cir. 2005) (holding that "[a]fter reading the patent, a person of skill in the art would not understand" the patentee to have invented a generic method where the patent only disclosed one embodiment of it); Reiffen, 214 F.3d at 1345-46 (noting that the "scope of the right to exclude" must not "overreach the scope of the inventor's contribution to the field of art as described in the patent specification"); Fiers, 984 F.2d at 1171 ("Claiming all DNA[s] that achieve a result without defining what means will do so is not in compliance with the description requirement; it is an attempt to preempt the future before it has arrived."); cf. Carnegie Mellon, 541 F.3d at 1126 (holding that the narrow description of the E. coli polA gene did not adequately support a broad claim to the gene from any bacterial source). Here, the specification at best describes decoy molecule structures and hypothesizes with no accompanying description that they could be used to reduce NF-kB activity. Yet the asserted claims are far broader. We therefore conclude that the jury lacked substantial evidence for its verdict that the asserted claims were supported by adequate written description, and thus hold the asserted claims invalid.

Ariad sought and obtained the broad claims we now hold to be invalid. For its own reasons, Ariad maintained the breadth of these claims through claim construction and into trial. As Judge Rader observed, the situation presented in this case should not often occur, because "[i]n simple terms, a court would properly interpret the claim[s] as limited." Univ. of Rochester v. G.D. Searle & Co., 375 F.3d 1303, 1312 (Fed. Cir. 2004) (dissenting from denial of petition for rehearing en banc). Nonetheless, as it stands, Ariad chose to assert claims that are broad far beyond the scope of the disclosure provided in the specification of the '516 patent. Cf. Liebel-Flarsheim Co. v. Medrad, Inc., 481 F.3d 1371, 1380 (Fed. Cir. 2007) ("The motto, 'beware of what one asks for,' might be applicable here.").

Judge Linn, an enablement enabler, is heretical of any "written description grounds, a separate basis not justified under that section [112] or any other provision of the Patent Act." To whatever degree one may concur with Judge Linn, his points are well put. His tirade in its entirety.

I join the opinion of the court because I concur that it is supported by our precedent. I write separately to emphasize, as I have before, my belief that our engrafting of a separate written description requirement onto section 112, paragraph 1 is misguided. See, e.g., Univ. of Rochester v. G.D. Searle & Co., Inc., 375 F.3d 1303, 1325-27 (Fed. Cir. 2004) (Linn, J., dissenting from denial of rehearing en banc); Enzo Biochem, Inc. v. Gen-Probe Inc., 323 F.3d 956, 987-89 (Fed. Cir. 2002) (Linn, J., dissenting from denial of rehearing en banc). As I observed in University of Rochester, section 112, paragraph 1 requires no more of the specification than a disclosure that is sufficient to enable a person having ordinary skill in the art to make and use the invention:

Section 112 of Title 35 of the United States Code requires a written description of the invention, but the measure of the sufficiency of that written description in meeting the conditions of patentability in paragraph 1 of that statute depends solely on whether it enables any person skilled in the art to which the invention pertains to make and use the claimed invention and sets forth the best mode of carrying out the invention. The question presented by 35 U.S.C. § 112, paragraph 1, is not, "Does the written description disclose what the invention is?" The question is, "Does the written description describe the invention recited in the claims--themselves part of the specification--in terms that are sufficient to enable one of skill in the art to make and use the claimed invention and practice the best mode contemplated by the inventor?" That is the mandate of the statute and is all our precedent demanded prior to Regents of the University of California v. Eli Lilly & Co., 119 F.3d 1559 (Fed. Cir. 1997).

375 F.3d at 1325.

As both this court and the Supreme Court have recognized, the claims--not the specification--define the invention. See Aro Mfg. Co. v. Convertible Top Replacement Co., 365 U.S. 336, 339 (1961) ("[T]he claims made in the patent are the sole measure of the grant."); see also Johnson & Johnston Assocs. Inc. v. R.E. Serv. Co., 285 F.3d 1046, 1052 (Fed. Cir. 2002) (en banc) ("Consistent with its scope definition and notice functions, the claim requirement presupposes that a patent applicant defines his invention in the claims, not in the specification. After all, the claims, not the specification, provide the measure of the patentee's right to exclude."). The court's invention of a separate written description requirement has "create[d] confusion as to where the public and the courts should look to determine the scope of the patentee's right to exclude," University of Rochester, 375 F.3d at 1326, causing uncertainty "in how inventions are protected, in how the [Patent & Trademark Office] discharges its responsibilities, and in how business is conducted in emerging fields of law," id. at 1327.

Aside from these general observations, I note that the written description requirement does separate mischief in this case. Because the court relies upon this requirement to reverse the district court, it does not reach the important enablement issue raised by Lilly. As the majority opinion observes, the claims-in-suit broadly claim any method for reducing NF-kB activity in cells, including both known and unknown methods. We have long held that in order to survive the enablement requirement, the specification "must describe the manner and process of making and using the invention so as to enable a person of skill in the art to make and use the full scope of the invention without undue experimentation." LizardTech, Inc. v. Earth Res. Mapping, Inc., 424 F.3d 1336, 1344-45 (Fed. Cir. 2005) (emphasis added); see also Invitrogen Corp. v. Clontech Labs., Inc., 429 F.3d 1052, 1070 (Fed. Cir. 2005). To my knowledge, however, we have not specifically addressed this requirement in relation to the type of claims at issue here--that is, claims written broadly enough to cover any method for achieving a particular result. It may be, as Lilly argues, that such a claim can never be valid, since the specification cannot enable unknown methods. Cf. In re Hyatt, 708 F.2d 712, 714 (Fed. Cir. 1983) (rejecting "single means" claim, as such claims "cover[ ] every conceivable means for achieving the stated result"). This is an important issue that we have left unresolved. It is an issue that we would have been compelled to reach had the case been decided on enablement grounds, a basis found in section 112, instead of on written description grounds, a separate basis not justified under that section or any other provision of the Patent Act.

Inequitable Conduct

There was an inequitable conduct charge hashed through, revolving around the notorious, and erroneous, Figure 43.

There are two errors in the figure: the sequence is both incomplete and from a chicken as opposed to a mouse or other mammalian organism. The district court further found that the errors were material because during prosecution, Ariad and the examiner relied on figure 43 for certain arguments to overcome § 112 rejections. Ariad does not dispute the materiality of the errors.

But intent to deceive was found lacking.

There is simply no evidence of what Lilly contends is "purposeful concealment" no matter how material the errors might be.

Lilly cannot prove deceptive intent by clear and convincing evidence simply by relying on the materiality of the errors. Rather, there must be clear and convincing evidence of "culpable" conduct. Halliburton Co. v. Schlumberger Tech. Corp., 925 F.2d 1435, 1443 (Fed. Cir. 1991) (citing Consol. Aluminum Corp. v. Foseco Int'l Ltd., 910 F.2d 804, 809 (Fed. Cir. 1990)). Digital Control's statement that "a greater showing of [materiality] allow[s for] a lesser showing of [intent]" is not to the contrary. 437 F.3d at 1313.

Materiality and intent are different requirements, and absent a finding of deceptive intent, no amount of materiality gives the district court discretion to find inequitable conduct. Star Scientific, 537 F.3d at 1365 ("If a threshold level of intent to deceive or materiality is not established by clear and convincing evidence, the district court does not have any discretion to exercise and cannot hold the patent unenforceable regardless of the relative equities or how it might balance them."); see Aventis Pharma S.A. v. Amphastar Pharms., Inc., 525 F.3d 1334, 1350 (Fed. Cir. 2008) (Rader, J., dissenting) ("Merging intent and materiality at levels far below the Kingsdown rule has revived the inequitable conduct tactic."). "[C]ourts must be vigilant in not permitting the defense [of inequitable conduct] to be applied too lightly." Star Scientific, 537 F.3d at 1366.

Reversed-in-part (§112 ¶1) and affirmed-in-part (inequitable conduct).

Posted by Patent Hawk at April 5, 2009 6:22 PM | § 112

Comments

"to describe her invention"

I never really liked this kind of PC BS

Posted by: PoliticallyCorrect at April 6, 2009 5:08 AM

Idk, I see where Linn is coming from, but it seems to me that the statute clearly says that the spec shall contain two things, a written description of the invention, and a written description of the manner and process of making and using it, both of them to be in such full, clear, concise and exact terms to enable the any person skilled in the art to which it pertains ... to make and use the same. Blending the two together might be permissible in limited circumstances, but not always. I disagree with him that the claims are the invention even though courts like to think so sometimes. Claims are, at best, a delimitation of what the applicant regards as his invention. It may or may not be a delimitation of what the invention is, as evidently shown by court opinions striking down patents under 102 show quite often.

In other words, there can be a difference between what the invention is and what the claimed invention is.

Just because the PTO issues a claim to "an object comprising: a metal layer" doesn't mean that the invention in the application is in fact a metal layer.

Why the courts continue with their fiction I will never understand. Perhaps one day the USSC will settle the matter for them.

Posted by: 6000 at April 7, 2009 11:31 AM

"I disagree with him that the claims are the invention even though courts like to think so sometimes."

This is known as a 6lolism.

Posted by: Noise above Law at April 7, 2009 1:29 PM

"I disagree with him that the claims are the invention even though courts like to think so sometimes. Claims are, at best, a delimitation of what the applicant regards as his invention. It may or may not be a delimitation of what the invention is, as evidently shown by court opinions striking down patents under 102 show quite often."

So if the claims don't define the invention, what does?

Let me guess, you won't have an answer that isn't your typical nonsense.

Posted by: JD at April 8, 2009 5:09 AM

Very disappointed with 6's first volley on this thread - this is actually a very meaty subject and one which I might surprisingly agree with 6's position regarding "bad patents" (due to description/enablement).

I see the topic now has been posted to Patently-O. Egads, I might be agreeing with Malcolm on this subject as well.

Posted by: Noise above Law at April 8, 2009 5:59 AM

"So if the claims don't define the invention, what does?"

In response to your question JD, and to put it succinctly, the claims "define" the invention, and the specification shows and teaches what it is. This being analogous to the difference between the word rose defining what we shall consider for the purposes of everyday language a rose, and what we actually observe in everyday life a rose to be.

One way of looking at it is considering them two seperate forms of perception, if that doesn't get too philosophical about it. Another way of looking at it, and perhaps the easiest way, is to recognize that, as with the definition of rose, we are free to play around with it as human beings, but we are not free to change what an actual rose is in our backyard. I can, for example, change rose to mean: bug with 6 legs. There is nothing you can do to stop me, and there is nothing I can do to force those around me to accept my change, but none the less, it has been changed, and if I can get others to accept the change then it will be a widely accepted change. I am however regretably not able to go into my backyard and change a rose into a 6 legged bug. How then, can we equate the definition of rose with the actual rose if they can be two differing things? The answer is we cannot. In the same manner, we cannot equate the definition of an invention with the invention.

It is a word and mind game, but a game that becomes important when considering the differing portions of the statute as a whole because that is the only true way to reconcile them. In the end, aren't we pretty much only trying to reconcile the portions of the statute which take differing views on the same thing?

I will not take issue with you if you want to say that the claims as originally filed help the spec to show what the actual invention is, since the courts have resolved that question in the affirmative and it could go either way.

Original opener:

If anything the claims "define" the invention, but they are not what it is. The word "rose" defines a plant with a certain makeup (usually with pricks included) in our language, but the word "rose" is not what the actual plant is, the plant is what it is no matter the definition we attach to it. The fact that we have attached a definition to it does not, can not, and never will change what the rose actually is. In an analogous way, "the invention" is not necessarily what it is defined in the claims for the purposes of establishing a legal boundary. It is, in fact, the responsibility of the applicant to properly define the invention. Just because the PTO agrees that the applicant did a good job doesn't mean that a mistake hasn't been made.

Posted by: 6000 at April 8, 2009 7:34 AM

Like I said, nothing more than your typical nonsense.

Nice post about hearsay over at Patently O. If we needed any more evidence that you have no idea what you are talking about, you have very helpfully provided it.

I must say you are probably the record holder when it comes to the shortest time to develop the classic "I'm not a lawyer, but I play one at the PTO" syndrome that affects so many of the brain dead stooge lifers over there.

Congratulations. You've surpassed MostValuableStooge. Does it gall you that he's getting paid GS-15 money to be a stooge, but you're obviously so much better at it and are only getting paid GS-11 money?

Hang in there. Your career path to lifer stoogehood stretches clearly in front of you for many years to come.

Posted by: JD at April 8, 2009 10:43 AM

Sorry JD,

I have to disagree (at least in part). I think that the life-career for examiners maybe very short. Who needs examiners (at least at the unionized levels we now have) when applicants will be required to perform search and analysis to MPEP levels with limitation mapping? Of course, this procedural rule is not yet in effect, but with the CAFC blessing, do you really think it will take that long for the Office to make it so? Heck, the Office can even find a way to charge for services it now must pay its examiners to do. How much do you think they'll charge per page of mandatory analysis and claim mapping?

The signs for a purge (mass house cleaning) are in place at the Office. And examiners, yes including you 6, do you really think that the Office has your back? Don't be naive!

Posted by: Noise above Law at April 8, 2009 11:00 AM

NAL,

I think you're correct. When PTO (mis)management slashes expectancies by 25%, the exodus from the PTO is going to be hilarious to watch.

I'm not sure where those whose only skills are inserting misspellings into form paragraphs are going to go, but I'm sure they'll be fine.

LOL

Posted by: JD at April 8, 2009 11:19 AM

"Like I said, nothing more than your typical nonsense."

JD says: You're right, I'm wrong, and I have nothing further to say on the matter. I will differ to you in the future.

Posted by: 6000 at April 8, 2009 1:02 PM

"I will differ to you in the future."

Yes, you and I will certainly differ in the future. But I can't imagine I'll ever see the day when I'd defer to a lifer from the PTO.

Posted by: JD at April 8, 2009 1:09 PM

"I will differ to you in the future"

Truer words 6K never spoke. Well done, 6K.

Posted by: niRPa at April 8, 2009 1:14 PM

lolz I really should proofread more these days, my eyesight seriously went down here a few weeks ago, I'm typing half blind.

Posted by: 6000 at April 8, 2009 1:44 PM

Allow me:

*JD says: You're right, I'm wrong, and I have nothing further to say on the matter. I will defer to you in the future.

And then JD says: Come on 6, stop spelling words wrong, I'm defering to you after all, and that's hard to do when you don't spell correctly.

Posted by: 6000 at April 8, 2009 1:45 PM

I suspect JD would know how to spell deferring.

It's o.k., 6K, no one expects perfection. :-)

Posted by: niRPa at April 8, 2009 1:51 PM

"I really should proofread more these days"

Well, considering that the average lifer stooge does ZERO proofreading, any amount from you would be infinitely more than your colleagues.

6, if you ever hope to achieve the status of MostValuableStooge you have to learn to embrace your inability to spell and proofread.

Posted by: JD at April 8, 2009 2:09 PM