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November 6, 2009

One Upmanship

Inventors and small companies, flush with money burning a hole in their pockets, regularly file an excess of crappy patent applications. Belatedly recognizing this inviolable fact, the patent office now promises to shoot you in the head faster if you'll shoot yourself in the foot first.

Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO David Kappos has announced the agency intends to launch a pilot program that will give small entity inventors having two or more patent applications currently pending greater control over the priority in which their applications are examined while also reducing the backlog of unexamined patent applications pending before the USPTO. This pilot will allow a patent application from a small entity to receive special, accelerated status if the applicant is willing to abandon an application that has not been examined. [USPTO press release]

At the 14th annual Independent Inventors Conference, sponsored by the PTO, Kappos tooted: "The program allows independent inventors and innovators to advance an application in the queue by swapping out one they are willing to abandon." Apparently, the deal is a one-for-one: drop one for a hasty rejection on another one. This is Kappos' brilliant idea for backlog reduction.

Facing a $200 million budget deficit, raising fees is the next move. To the soothing sound of sympathetic violins, Kappos crooned: "We'll likely have to increase fees to make up for the shortfall. But, we're going to do everything we can to deflect those costs from independent inventors." No doubt the best way to do that is having inventors drop their patent applications, so they only have to pay more for less examiner work on fewer applications.

In guessing which shell to bet on, try to keep your eye on the shell you think has the peanut, as that shell is slickly shuffled amidst other shells, never knowing, only the hard-bitten even suspecting, that the peanut was palmed from the get-go.

Posted by Patent Hawk at November 6, 2009 3:59 PM | The Patent Office

Comments

"This pilot will allow a patent application from a small entity to receive special, accelerated status if the applicant is willing to abandon an application that has not been examined."

What a bizarre idea. Why would anyone do this?

Posted by: J at November 10, 2009 6:13 AM