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May 4, 2010

Black Hole Swab

Allegra D. Hemphill was granted 4,557,720 for a "vaginal swab." "Ms. Hemphill has prosecuted a number of actions and appeals based on the '720 patent, none of which has been successful." She tried again in 2007 against Kimberly-Clark and Proctor & Gamble for their sanitary napkins products. Ms. Hemphill unmistakably disclaimed sanitary napkins during prosecution. DC district court enjoined her from any further suits against the defendants. The appeals court affirmed (CAFC 2010-1047, nonprecedential). Another case showing that their are no junk patents, only junk people.

Posted by Patent Hawk at May 4, 2010 3:01 PM | Litigation


A bloody mess, I tell you.

Posted by: Pedantic Pete at May 4, 2010 4:25 PM

"only junk people."

Speaking of, how's that suit against MS going? Enjoined from any further suits against the defendants yet?

Posted by: 6000 at May 4, 2010 4:59 PM

... one man (or woman's) junk is another man (or woman's) ...

Posted by: Ironman II at May 4, 2010 5:08 PM


Thanks for asking about my Microsoft suit. Still going. Quite riveting, playing "thump or be thumped", but it is not time yet to tell the story. That time will likely come within a few months. Please stay tuned...

Posted by: Patent Hawk at May 4, 2010 5:44 PM

Ms Hemphill has been sanctioned from filing any further suits.

She has not raised any new issues and continues to argue and submit many of the same papers.

The moral here is: Representing yourself (pro se) usually doesn't end well for the self. A person should not be the lawyer representing themself because the arguments become emotional instead of legal.

Posted by: Mike at May 5, 2010 5:06 AM

The patent lists these persons as attorney/agent/firm:
Allegra D. Hemphill; F. Erich Hemphill; Gardner, Vivian C.

But the PTO database lists:
Hemphill; Allegra D. Hemphill; F. Erich Gardner, Vivian C.

Given the essentially random use of commas and semi-colons, I can't make heads or tails of who prosecuted the application.

None of these names are on the PTO roster. The inventor is a US resident, so I do not believe foreign reciprocity applies -- she would have to have representative registered with the PTO.

I don't believe a non-registered pro se applicant can list their name on the patent along with their hired suits.

Any ideas what's going on?

Posted by: Babel Boy at May 5, 2010 8:10 AM

Perhaps all three listed names are pro se inventors, each also being pro se legal representatives of their own rights.

Posted by: Pedantic Pete at May 5, 2010 10:07 AM

Yeah, Pete. You must be right.

I checked my own patents, prosecuted pro se before becoming registered, and they don't indicate pro se.

That's almost false advertising to have a pro se inventor listed as "attorney, agent, or firm" on the official patent script.

I don't know what the rule is as to whether 1 inventor can prosecute the application "pro se" for 1 or more other inventors. The other inventors would be represented by a non-registered person.

Posted by: Babel Boy at May 5, 2010 12:28 PM