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rick merritt
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re: Support for patent office, reform bill
rick merritt   8/11/2010 5:24:59 PM
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Would you support a one-time infusion of $1B to the U.S. patent office to upgrade computer systems and hire and train more examiners?

Reza Aghevli
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re: Support for patent office, reform bill
Reza Aghevli   8/13/2010 6:43:03 PM
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It seems to me that appropriating $1B out of nearly $800B of the stimulous package to address the huge backlog of the patent office is a no brainer. Considering that timely patent prosecution is critical to maintaining the competitive advantage of the US high-tech industry and increasing our exports (resultiing in GDP growth), I don't understand why Congress is not moving on this.

antiquus
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re: Support for patent office, reform bill
antiquus   8/11/2010 6:04:40 PM
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Lets do the math... $1B divided by 750,000 applications equals one (very) nice, new PC for each application! Washington arithmetic again transcends any reasonable measure of reality. What we need is a new unit of measure. Obviously, "$1B" is too easily spoken and written, and we need a better way to represent $10M or $50M or $200M, so that government guys can perhaps save a little money as they pound out these proposals on their word processors. Maybe we should switch to yen or bolivars.

phoenixdave
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re: Support for patent office, reform bill
phoenixdave   8/11/2010 6:12:03 PM
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I've received training on the East and West patent systems at the USPTO headquarters, and have had the opportunity to utilize both systems for research. I have no doubt that an updating of the software, hardware, and users interface would provide a huge increase in efficiency for the examiners and anyone else utilizing the system. While most of the major private patent and document database research firms have continually invested in their IT infrastructure, and deployed new analysis tools such as Latent Symantec Analysis, Advanced Keyword-based Linguistics Analysis, and others to supplement their Boolean-based interface, and even provide results in 3D and graphical formats, the USPTO system has shown little advancement. It might actually be more efficient for examiners to utilize private systems. This lack of technology coupled with the advanced technology covered in many new patent applications, and both internal and external pressures to eliminate the backlog has to be incredibly frustrating to examiners and is likely a large reason for the high turnover. The complexity of the technology, and thus the complexity of their patents, has been continually increasing, but the technology available to examiners has not. Other issues creating the high patent volume such as novelty are starting to be addressed, but solutions to these issues will not solve the analytical and research limitations. Spend the money that needs to be spent to bring the IT infrastructure up to date first, and then hire new examiners.

rick merritt
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re: Support for patent office, reform bill
rick merritt   8/11/2010 6:27:00 PM
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The patent office is also one of the few U.S. agencies that lacks regional offices that would let it tap into a broader pool of technically-savvy examiners than it can find in the Washington D.C. area.

betajet
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re: Support for patent office, reform bill
betajet   8/11/2010 7:19:17 PM
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IMO the patent office should raise fees if they're having problems with their backlog. From what I've read and heard, USPTO fees are a small part of the legal costs of filing a serious patent. People filing patents expect to get some kind of financial reward from doing so -- why should the public be subsidizing this? If they want to clear the backlog, start by rejecting immediately all abstract patents, e.g., software and business methods. Anything that can in principle be performed mentally, perhaps supplemented with pencil and paper, is mathematics and should not be patentable. That would take care of a large part of the backlog. To me, the most troubling part of the article is the statement that the patent office hires lots of examiners right out of college. How can a recent grad who has not practiced make an accurate assessment as to whether an idea is obvious to a person skilled in the art? And how would such people have the experience to know what's already prior art and where to look for more? Small wonder that the USPTO has obtained the reputation of rubber-stamping 90% of applications and letting the courts decide whether the examiners have done their job or not. This puts a huge financial burden on industry, which must choose between hiring lawyers or engineers, and a chilling effect on small companies which are constantly in danger of being sued or threatened by patents which should never have been granted in the first place.

dave148
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re: Support for patent office, reform bill
dave148   8/11/2010 11:12:49 PM
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RE: betajet's comments: Raise fees? Didn't the original article say that $70M of fees is still being diverted to some general fund? Amen on killing many categories like most software. betajet's last point is actually a revelation to the true nature to the current US patent system. It assumes that examiners will be able to determine obviousness. This assumption is made, despite little experience in the field, and the examiner having to cover several different areas. Any real contention will be litigated anyway, so I question the value of determining obviousness at this stage. IP needs to be protected, but this is not the way to do it. The absolute maximum job of the USPTO should be to maintain a record of claims and confirm the claims are in some standard format. The determinating whether the claims are worth anything should be left for litigation, if it ever happens. Attorneys are currently double (triple?) dipping on IP. They get paid at application, then again at litigation. And some people want to add a third opportunity. The argument that any change of the patent system will result in some mad rush to massive litigation is largely bogus. Companies that are large holders of patents are constantly hiring IP speciality firms to review their collection for value in litigation. Most patents do not have such value, even before considering whether there has been any infringement. I see no reason to believe that such an assessment process will suddenly stop once we realize the USPTO cannot realistically check for obviousness.

phoenixdave
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re: Support for patent office, reform bill
phoenixdave   8/11/2010 7:25:20 PM
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@Rick - Great Point...and likely also a significant limitation. And their IT infrastructure would have to be updated for this to occur.

antiquus
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re: Support for patent office, reform bill
antiquus   8/11/2010 10:51:07 PM
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Why is the patent office technology stale and obsolete? Perhaps the solution is to separate it from the government bureaucracy, like the post office. There are few that would deny that the post office technology is first-rate and continually undergoing improvement (even though they cannot make a profit); they have their own engineering staff that produces highly automated and computerized solutions.

goafrit
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Manager
re: Support for patent office, reform bill
goafrit   8/12/2010 11:42:56 AM
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When people write about the loss of mojo in the US, this type of article makes you think they have a point. As US lags, the world will catch. It will get to a point where US patent will not lead the world. Someone, Europe or China may decide to invest resources and challenge the US as the most sought out patent. But the biggest economy must learn that it was not the biggest three centuries ago. US must continue to work harder in simple things to stay ahead.

Gena777
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re: Support for patent office, reform bill
Gena777   8/24/2010 10:15:19 PM
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It's unfortunate (though not unexpected) that Congress has once again failed to pass much-needed patent reform. To me, the Conyers bill's provision that would have prohibited fee diversion seemed like a no-brainer. Looks like that extra $129 million recently returned to the USPTO (via legislation signed into law by President Obama) will be needed more than ever. http://www.aminn.org/webcast-aipr-patent-reform-presentation-us-patent-and-trademark-office

pgruhn
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re: Support for patent office, reform bill
pgruhn   8/26/2010 1:50:15 PM
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Yes, I would strongly support spending 1 Billion dollars on helping the US Patent office. I have already emailed, the President, my Senators, and Congressman, as well has had face-to-face with my local State Senator. We can spend BILLIONS on war, I vote 1 BILLION dollars (or more if needed) to invention & creativity, which will led to jobs and economic growth. I think patent requests should be turned around in LESS THAN 1 year. And if this goes through the Patent Office wants to Hire 1,200 people TODAY to review patents. It's a no brainer!

Brad F
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re: Support for patent office, reform bill
Brad F   12/10/2012 8:10:56 PM
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The rising costs of patents (including USPTO fees) has become a barrier to small companies and technology inovators. The average costs for USPTO fees alone is close to $1,500 (see chart here: http://patentfile.org/howmuchdoesitcosttopatentanidea/) Thankfully, with the passage of the America Invents Act, there will be a new "micro entity" status that will give a 75% break to individuals and university inventors.



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