Ok .. let me get it correctly .. one expects to be very talented very successful designer paid probably at least 3x over the said $42K, inventing highly sophisticated stuff for which you hope to get even more $$$ and all that would be validated by a law school student (well ... maybe an engineering one...) working after hours for the said highly motivating $42K ... Is it only me to see something worong with this picture?
Just to put it in perspective: I saw a postdoc paying for a room (literally: a room: ~ 10 ft x 14 ft) ~$1300 just because it was in Cambridge (Mass) close to the Kendall Square area. Mercifully the heating was included ...
Anybody lately checked the prices of academic textbooks?
Having seen the work of US patent examiners up close, I would think that for 42K$ I am not getting my moneys' worth. Most examiners can't find prior art which is used later in court to invalidate the patents they grant, thus rendering their work worthless.
Design patents are useful for keeping competitors from creating aftermarket spare parts or consumables. For example, if you have a design patent for a printer ink cartridge, which requires a specific shape to fit the printer, you are legally preventing me from selling third-party replacements.
I agree with Brutus about $42K. That is a very good entry level income, at least in this corner of Michigan. IN fact, I find the published salary surveys to be quite unbelievable in light of the engineering salaries I see in this part of the country. Perhaps in california things are different, since the cost of living is at least twice what it is in the rest of the civilized world.
1. The original purpose of design patents was to serve provide a defense against those would build a knock-off product and attempt to pass it off as one from the original manufacturer. E.g., products like fake Rolex watches or Luis Vuitton luggage, but without a manufacturer name, so trademark litigation isn't possible.
If you think about it. Apple's argument actually follows that line--their argument was that customers would see someone using an iPhone and walk into a store and see a Samsung phone and purchase it, believing it was an iPhone. They got witnesses (who knows where?) to testify to that. The argument here is not that design patents are bogus, but that the jury was biased.
2. There are many career patent examiners, but most of the junior patent examiners--the ones making $42K--take the job because of its 8 to 4 nature so they can attend law school at night at GMU or GWU. It's no different from any other grad student job. Your slur on quality is unsuportable and unjustified and reflects badly on your credibility.
There was once a time when getting a patent ment something. Today with our system many patents are issued that should never be issued. It seems that the patent office will issue a patent and let the courts figure it our. Kick the can down the road and let someone else fix the problem. When a product is marked with a patent number it should mean something.
The term was extended, almost universal acceptance of design patents issues abroad and allowing 100 items per patent were the major changes. The 100 hundred drops the amount the patent office receives per filing which is significant, especially since they will probably not get additional time allowance to review them - thus it will become a rubber stamp operation.
As for salary, I will recheck the latest figures for engineering pay scales, but I believe this is well below the median.
I only saw two changes mentioned in the blog. One was relatively minor - 14 - 15 years. Big deal. The other one is a slightly bigger one, but I'm not sure what consequence it will have since it's already kind of like that (just written different now). Big Deal again!
The last point you made strikes me as odd: "Did you know that an entry level patent examiner makes $42,000 - and they expect to get intelligent human beings for that?" Is $42k not very much for a person who is essentially in-training? Median income in the U.S. is ~$43k. I would have been more than happy to start out making that much right out of college, albeit that was awhile ago but if you haven't noticed, a lot of recent college grads are making far less than that. There are also many, many thousands of folks out there that were used to making 80-100k a year that are now struggling to make half that amount because of these harsh economic times. Some of them a very smart people too, they just happened to be in the wrong field. Lucky for you, you happen to be in a field not so severely affected. It is not right to mock the intelligence of those willing to work for something you consider a pittance. The next time you fly on a regional jet, think about how much those two guys/gals up front in the cockpit are making and then think about your statement (look up how much they make in case you don't know). Maybe you will want to pull the emergency door handle and slide down the shoot!!!
I do agree unanimously that the whole patent system is a mess, just like everything else run by our beloved government of fools. Like a poorly designed OS full of spaghetti programming and eband-aids, it would be better to scrap the whole thing and just start over.