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Innovation Held Hostage by the Patent Office


Written by Gene Quinn
President & Founder of IPWatchdog, Inc.
Patent Attorney, Reg. No. 44,294
Zies, Widerman & Malek
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Posted: June 8, 2009 @ 9:21 pm
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The June 15, 2009, edition of Business Week has an interesting article about innovation by Michael Mandel, which concludes that during the last decade US innovation has failed to deliver on the hyped promises, and this failure of innovation may have contributed to the economic woes we are now experiencing. Indeed, this article is interesting for many reasons. First, how is it possible that an article that questions American innovation could never once mention the crisis facing the Patent Office? Second, it is not accurate to say that the failure of US innovation “may have contributed,” the failure of innovation definitely contributed to the economic mess we face now because there has been no sustained technological growth that lead to an expansion of jobs. Third, the primary reason innovation has not come through for us is because the Patent Office has for years held innovation hostage, refused patents, extraordinarily delayed even making a decision on patent applications, and this lead to the evaporation of venture funding for many US companies, and prevented many other companies from being able to interest those with capital because no exclusive rights had been obtained, or could be predicted in any relevant time frame.

Don’t get me wrong, I think it is excellent that Business Week ran this article, and it is obvious that Mandel thoughtfully considered the topic.  I hope it gets people thinking, but I wish it has at least mentioned patents. As IPWatchdog.com readers know, I have been writing about this in almost Chicken Little fashion for nearly a year. I just wish economic journalists would become a little more intrigued by the failure of the US patent system over the last decade. As observers of the Patent Office know, about 4 or 5 years ago things went from bad to worse, and that is also about the time that the economy started to show its first signs of unraveling. Is this coincidence? I doubt it, but those who know me know that I am not a believer in coincidence. I believe coincidences happen for a reason, and about 4 years ago the US Patent Office decided that before any patent would issue it had to be reviewed and approved twice under a “second pair of eyes” review. This increasingly lead to fewer and fewer patents issuing, and longer and even ridiculous delays in getting a decision from the Patent Office.

The Business Week article starts off by asking what if the “era of rapid innovation” we were told about is simply not true. The article starts off asking:

But what if the conventional wisdom is wrong? Whit if outside of a few high-profile areas, the past decade has seen far too few commercial innovations that can transform lives and move the economy forward? What if, rather than being an era of rapid innovation, this has been an era of innovation interrupted? And if that’s true, is there any reason to expect the next decade to be any better?

These are all good questions, and unfortunately the answers will provide a wake-up call for the many who have not been paying attention to technology being held hostage at the USPTO. In fact, the engine that could recognize assets out of thin air, the United States Patent Office, simply stopped recognizing rights in many cases, despite the law setting forth a presumption that patents should issue unless a patent examiner can articulate a justifiable reason. Section 102 of Title 35 of the United States Code explains that an inventor is entitled to a patent unless the invention is not new. This sets up a structure whereby the patent examiner has the burden to articulate a rational reason for denying a patent. Simply put, if the invention is new and not obvious a patent is owed to the applicant.

At what time must the Patent Office either put up or shut up? How long can the Patent Office simply refuse to issue a patent without articulating a justifiable rationale, as required by the patent laws? Increasingly I have been talking with patent attorneys and inventors about the prospect of filing a writ of mandamus to order the Patent Office to issue patents, or at the very least treat inventors equally, as is required by the US Constitution. In fact, it is not just the Patent Office that must treat people equally. Both the Federal and State governments must treat similarly situated individuals similarly. While I think a good policy argument can be made to have the Patent Office ordered to issue patents on inventions that are stagnating, an excellent and winning argument can be made with respect to forcing the Patent Office to treat inventors the same and stop showing favoritism.

But what favoritism is the Patent Office showing? In some areas at the Patent Office if you were to file a patent application today you would not anticipate hearing from the Patent Examiner for the first time with respect to a substantive review for about 120 months. For those doing the math, yes, that is 10 years. Notwithstanding, I recently learned of a patent that the Patent Office has issued on a business method at near light speed.  The patent in question, US Patent No. 7,228,226, was filed on November 29, 2006 and issued on June 5, 2007, and the assignee was Lehman Brothers, Inc., the now defunct Wall Street giant that filed for bankruptcy in September 2008.  It would seem that somehow the patent application was classified in a technology area that is not very active, and issued in just 7 months. Exactly how is that fair?  The attorney who brought this to my attention said this is very hard to handle given a client of his has a patent pending on a similar innovation and is scheduled to receive a first action some 117 months from now.  How can one explain a business method patent being issued in 7 months, other applications getting first treatment by a patent examiner in 4 to 6 months, and other applicants having to wait nearly 10 years for consideration by a patent examiner? Something is terribly wrong! I know that Commissioner Focarino is trying to streamline the application process, and I applaud her efforts, but there is a systematic problem on what appears to be a fundamental level.

The technology area where you are likely to not even hear from an examiner for 10 years is in the Internet, e-commerce and business method area. It is extremely ironic that the technology fields that most directly relate to commercialization and the growth of GDP are those areas where the wait is ridiculously long. There is no great mystery why our economy is in trouble. Those companies with innovative ideas in this crucial area simply cannot protect their inventions and simply cannot move forward with innovation. This causes those who have money to fund the development of innovation to withhold providing capital. Without capital expansion cannot and does not occur, so it is hard to know whether the promised of innovation over the last decade, particularly over the last half of the last decade, were due to a string of over blown and over hyped innovations, or because of an accute lack of funding to turn ideas into inventions and ultimately into products that would fuel the development of industry and the creation of jobs.

Something needs to be done and innovators need to stand up and demand action!

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Posted in: Gene Quinn, IP News, IPWatchdog.com Articles, Patents, Technology & Innovation, US Economy, USPTO

About the Author

is a Patent Attorney and the founder of the popular blog IPWatchdog.com, which has for three of the last four years (i.e., 2010, 2012 and 2103) been recognized as the top intellectual property blog by the American Bar Association. He is also a principal lecturer in the PLI Patent Bar Review Course. As an electrical engineer with a computer engineering focus his specialty is electronic and computer devices, Internet applications, software and business methods.

 

25 comments
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  1. Lack of innovation? The financial industry demonstrated a lot on innovation in the last 10 years (which were unconscionably misused); the subprime mortgage mortgage fueled a huge housing market bubble,which in turn fueled unsustainable consumer debt; and Government oversight went AWOL. These were the major causes of the financial and economic crisis we are in, and the notion that had we had more innovation and a better USPTO we would not have had this crisis or that the crisis would have been appreciably less severe is speculative and highly questionable.

  2. Gene

    Why is it we never see any discussion of the obvious possibility that money is changing hands in the PTO? 4000 examiners handling billions of dollars worth of IP every year and not a single one is on the take??? Right.

    There is no reason to believe that examiners are any more honest than any other population or porfession. If 5% are on the take and they each handle dozens of cases per year, then there’s a sizable problem. Big companies and big firms are going to be in there buying favors.

    A few years ago the PTO had a program where companies and firms could make cash “contributions” to some sort of examiner education fund. I sent a request to OED for more information and got nothing back. This was obviously a way for the PTO to sell favors to those willing to pay and make it look legitimate, at least the payment part. I have scoured the PTO website a number of times to find the program so I could file a proper FIOA request, but to no avail.

    Believe me, the PTO has its bad apples and dirty linen just like every other department/agency of the US government, including Justice, SEC, Defense, and (banish the thought) Congress. So why is it that the PTO never makes the tabloids or Huffington Post?

  3. mcvooty-

    You said: “the notion that had we had more innovation and a better USPTO we would not have had this crisis or that the crisis would have been appreciably less severe is speculative and highly questionable.”

    You can believe that if you wish, but it is simply not true. No speculation, just the facts. Yes, we are in a terrible crisis and one that could have been averted had those in Congress listened to Alan Greenspan, John McCain and President Bush, all of whom warned about impending doom repeatedly due to problems with Fannie and Freddie and lending to those who could not repay. All of that is well documented. The truth, however, is that over the last decade there have not been the type of innovations that there could have been. Had the economy grown the problems created would not have been as severe, and may have been masked altogether.

    The path out of recession and economic troubles is to create new industries. Now more than ever new industries are created by technology, and in order to generate the capital investment required there needs to be assets. Patents are the assets that are necessary, can be issued by the Federal Government with a stroke of the pen, and have been choked off over the last 5 years.

    If you choose to ignore the role the Patent Office is playing and could and should play, that is up to you.

    -Gene

  4. Quotidian Dude-

    I have purposely avoided even suggesting the possibility of money changing hands. I am not naive though. I know it has happened in some cases throughout our justice system in various contexts. I personally believe bribery is far less common than most suspect, even though most already probably agree it happens very little. I never like to assume malice, and this would be criminal and for me to make such a suggestion would require hard proof. The attorney who broke me in (and I mean that literally) always reminded me not to assume malice where incompetence can be a viable explanation because there are a lot of people who are incompetent, and only a few who are truly malicious.

    I have discussed this with some in private and the prevailing thought is that money is not changing hands. Like one attorney told me just yesterday, if it were as easy as paying additional money my clients would do that in a heartbeat. I also would be willing to pay extra to the PTO for action because once my patent does finally issue I will be able to sue for ongoing infringement.

    It is troubling to hear you talk of cash contributions to an examiner fund. If anyone has information on that please contact me.

    -Gene

  5. Having spent 37 years toiling away at the PTO, I have never, ever heard of an examiner accepting a bribe. Obviously, anything is possible, and maybe I am naive, but if one alleges such activity, he/she should have evidence to support it in lieu of merely tossing out such scandalous innuendo.

  6. Hello Gene and Old Examiner… I also find the idea of examiners being bribed to be so absurd as to perhaps be completely ignored. The person suggesting that bribery might be at play might want to re-examine their motives for saying so. Much like yelling Fire! in a packed auditorium, just so that they can leave more easily. Many thanks to OE for your 37 years of doing perhaps the most difficult job known to mankind! I certainly wish more folks understood how vitally important and usually thankless your job has been in the past. Also arguable the most important job on the planet, given the past history of American innovation.

    Best regards, Stan~

  7. If the examiners are all taking bribes, wouldn’t the allowance rate be higher?

  8. Old Examiner-

    I agree with you 110%. This is a very serious accusation and one that I personal feel is completely unfounded. I know a lot of retired examiners and Patent Office officials, and everyone I have ever met has had the utmost integrity. I can’t believe that money changing hands or bribery is at issue here.

    I thought about not even approving the comment, but I did because I believe that there are some who truly believe something nefarious is going on within the Patent Office. I do not believe that to be true, but perception is far stronger than reality, and it is exceptionally difficult for people to understand what appears to be truly wide and disparate treatment of applicants.

    I think such a charge deserves evidence as well. I do repeatedly hear frustrations of patent attorneys, patent agents and inventors. Sometimes such frustrations lead to some jumping to conclusions. There is a growing sense of unfairness, and I hope Commissioner Focarino and others in the Patent Office can really get things back on track like I know they are trying to do so that US innovation can thrive moving forward and we can put speculation behind us.

    Thanks for contributing.

    -Gene

  9. Stan-

    I definitely agree that the job of examiner is extraordinarily difficult, and vital.

    Perhaps I am naive, but I am not going to take anyone to task for making even scandalous assertions. Ordinarily I do not traffic in this sort of thing, and would not even approve such a post, but there is a growing under current of extreme frustration. At times that leads people to ask certain questions, and jump to conclusions. Granting a business method in less than 7 months when others have to wait 10 years for a first action on the merits raises serious questions. What happened to second pair of eyes on that application?

    Thanks for participating in the debate.

    -Gene

  10. Al-

    Excellent point. Based on the allowance rate money changing hands seems extremely implausible, even more so than would ordinarily be the case.

    I think quick action and extraordinarily quick issuance in some cases can be explained by abuse of the examiner quota system. That is no doubt a real problem that needs to be addressed, but certainly not a severe as money changing hands.

    -Gene

  11. I doubt that bribery of examiners happens. While I certainly don’t know all of the facts, I have never heard about it happening or even being put forward as a possibility, until this thread.

    There was a scandal back in the early 80’s when you had to go through a laborious process to get access to file histories, causing delays of a week or two. A routineer in the search room paid off one of the clerical people to get him speedier access to files. When that was discovered, the powers that be came down on them like a ton of bricks, with jail time, ruined careers, etc. I think that was a clear warning to all not to come close. Maybe the inflush of young ‘talent’ in the last decade is unaware, but I still have not heard of bribery in the PTO since the file history thing.

    There was an examiner education fund to provide money to let examiners go out to industry to see the real world. That was back in the 80’s- 90’s. I have not heard anything about it in a while.

  12. Older attorney-

    Thanks for contributing. I don’t think anyone in the industry takes any bribery allegations seriously. Unfortunately, there is a growing perception in the broader innovation community that something is seriously wrong within the Patent Office. I can understand in the cynical world in which we live that some may casually throw out serious accusations without thought and without evidence. I just hope that those who are listening that can take action to revive the USPTO understand that the growing perception of unfair treatment is leading to all kinds of negative perceptions. It is truly a shame it has come to this, but years of pushing down allowance rates and unconscionable delays in even first consideration while others get quick treatment has a lot of people scratching their heads.

    Thanks for joining the debate, and for providing some historical information. Thanks also for reading IPWatchdog.com.

    -Gene

  13. I fully agree that the PTO is being much more hostile to applicants than they were 5-10 years ago. In part, that results from what really amount to changes in the law, namely KSR,, But it preceded KSR and was in part, I think, a reaction to the FTC and National Academy of Sciences and other academic reports, “anti-troll” sentiments becoming “anti-patent” sentiments, and the natural swinging of the pendulum.

    However, I have heard from a number of folks in other non-IP government agencies that the Bush43 administration had a number of agency heads that were idealogues for a point of view, even if they were not well informed on the agency activities. I have say that seems to have been the case of the PTO, too. My read on it is that Rogan and Dudas were put in place to give effect to the anti-patent sentiments I refer to in the first paragraph, and they did so very clumsily.

  14. Now just hang on here, all you Pollyannas! I would love to agree with you that the PTO is above any possible dishonesty, but I know that is rubbish. I will agree that based on my (n=1) personal experiences I cannot “prove” any dishonesty in the PTO, but an absence of proof is not a proof of absence.

    I admire many examiners I deal with, I respect almost all examiners I deal with, and I find some examiners I deal with to be deplorably incompetent, but I am not aware of ever having dealt with a dishonest examiner, at least on a financial level. I have dealt with many examiners that game the system in what I consider to be an intellectually and, sometimes, an ethically dishonest manner.

    But then how would I know if an examiner is one who would take a bribe if offered unless I offer one? How would you know? No examiner has ever made a dirty offer to me, but then again, I have never handled an application worth hundreds of millions of dollars to a client. Most of us don’t work at that level.

    Your speculations that all of the employees of the PTO are above dishonesty are just completely unreasonable. You just don’t want to deal with an unpleasant argument based on statistical certainty. In order for your assertions to be true, you have to also assert that the PTO is able to preclude all dishonest applicants from ever getting hired. How many examiners are there? What is the turn-over rate? What is the total number of examiners that are or have been on the payroll during, say, the last 20 years? Tens of thousands. Easy. And every one totally honest . . . rightttttt.

    What we all conveniently forget is that our field is about one thing and one thing only: greed. Inventors and assignees want to extract as much money as they possibly can out of their inventions — fair enough. It’s my job to help them do that. The public wants to extract as much knowledge as possible out of the inventor while paying the smallest price possible — fair enough. Nothing wrong with that either. But the bottom line is always money, and money begets dishonesty.

    Are you seriously going to argue with a straight face that because you have never heard of a bribe being offered or taken that, ergo, there are no dishonest examiners? (Or patent prosecutors?) I mean, give me a break here. Even the federal judiciary is not 100% spick and span. (Recall, for instance, the $20,000 USSCt Justice Abe Fortas took from Wall St. financier Louis Wolfson.) Unless you can prove some sort of “immaculate retention” at the PTO, I can make a deduction, with near absolute statistical certainty based on the dishonesty rate of the general population of college graduates — the population from which examiners are drawn — that the PTO is not now, and has never been, immune to dishonesty. Your assertions that examiners (and practitioners, by extension) are 100% immaculate beggars reality.

    Why would an examiner risk a $100,000/yr. job for a $5,000 ill-gotten gain, you ask. I dunno’. Why would a lawyer? They do it all the time, at least according to my monthly bar magazine. Are examiners genetically more honest than lawyers? As Older Attorney observed, there is the additional element of the non-examiner PTO employees, many of whom also have powers to advance cases through the system. How many of them are there? Are they also 100% honest? We need to get real here.

    Al has asked: OK, so hows come the allowance rate is so low if there are dishonest examiners? I think Al is pulling our collective leg here, but I’ll take the bait. Al, fire up your LED calculator and answer your own question. If X% of examiners and Y% of applicants are dishonest and they are able somehow to connect with Z% efficiency, what will be the effect on the overall allowance rate? Plug in whatever reasonable numbers for X , Y and Z you want, and what your calculator will say will be “zilch.”

    Finally, as to the PTO program that solicited funding from outside sources — that is not speculation. It is a fact. Whether or not it still exists, as I say, I don’t know. In my opinion, any such fund has an appearance of impropriety, which is why I tried to find out more about it. Imagine the SEC soliciting contributions from hedge funds to train SEC regulators.

  15. Quotidian Dude, of course you are right, that none of us knows for sure. But if there was some bribery going on, it would lead to more bribery eventually and then more and soon enough, it gets to the point where somebody owns up to hearing of it. We have not had any of that.

    The big whammy put on folks for simply advancing orders for file histories scared the bahjeezus out of others who may have otherwise been tempted.

  16. Quotidian Dude, by the way, is your middle name Excelsior?
    It should be, because then you could sign off as

    Q.E.D.

  17. Quotidian Dude-

    I understand that many are frustrated, and justifiably so. You raised what I believed to be an important issue of perception, because it is naive to think that there are not some who believe cases being taken out of order might be attributed to money changing hands. I hear that time to time, and I do not believe it to be the case. I have seen no evidence, and I agree that a low allowance rate cuts against you, regardless of how you choose to dismiss that statistically verifiable evidence. The reason cases are taken out of order is because some examiners ignore first-in-first-out in order to enhance their own situations by reaching their quota. We all know that to be true, we all have experience with examiners rushing to allow in order to meet a quota, and while this is an important problem to be addressed it does not deserve to be treated as or called bribery — because it is not.

    You are making extremely scandalous accusations, which are criminal in nature. At this point you either need to put up or shut up. If you have evidence lets see it with the particularity and specificity such severe accusations demand. If you have no hard evidence and only conjecture then this needs to stop. The point has been made that there is a perception problem. No one is ignoring that some lawyers and even judges have been convicted of bribery. Questions need to be answered internally at the PTO to ensure applicants are treated fairly and equally. We should not jump to rash conclusions based on no evidence.

    I appreciate you reading IPWatchdog.com, but I am not going to allow my site to become home for baseless and unprovable accusations. I will not tolerate paranoid discourse as is tolerated elsewhere on the Internet. I appreciate you raising this issue for open and fair discussion. I invite you to continue to participate in an open and fair discussion, but further accusations without specific and verifiable proof will not be accepted.

    -Gene

  18. “I will not tolerate paranoid discourse as is tolerated elsewhere on the Internet”

    Well, maybe that’s because you’re in on the take as well!

  19. Gene

    “You are making extremely scandalous accusations, which are criminal in nature. At this point you either need to put up or shut up.”

    I hope that what you are saying here is that it is the behavior I am addressing, bribery, that is criminal and not that my suggesting it is criminal.

    As to the putting up or shutting up, the problem is that OED files are not public. I couldn’t even see the files in a dishonesty complaint I brought against another patent attorney after I got a jury verdict against him in state court. There is a reason for this star-chamber secrecy, and it’s to maintain a public perception of uniform professional honesty, a perception you clearly have and want to project to this audience. Consequently, there is no amount of evidence I could put up that would convince you that PTO employees and patent lawyers are not 100% immaculate. So I will accept your invitation and shut up.

    Older Attorney, I love the Q.E.D. suggestion but my middle name is, apparently, Mud.

  20. Quotidian Dude-

    I am not suggesting your accusations are criminal, but you are leveling charges of criminal behavior. You are also being 100% unfair. You said: “there is no amount of evidence I could put up that would convince you…” This is unfair and intellectually dishonest. If you really are an attorney you have to realize that you have presented no evidence. You have provided a grand total of ZERO evidence, and what you are saying is pure conjecture. Your accusations are extremely serious, and accusations like this demand at least some evidence.

    I didn’t cut you off because it is important for those in power, both in Congress and the PTO to understand that what you say is indeed a growing perception (from what I can tell). That is a serious problem for the PTO, and one I feel certain the career officials who are leading the PTO at the moment will take seriously and try and address. Without Congress helping there is only so much the PTO can do themselves though.

    I share in frustrations, and learn every day about quick actions in some situations. It is unfair and something needs to be done. If and when there is evidence I will pursue it and treat it accordingly. I am not going to allow our discourse to dive into speculation and lambasting the PTO for no good reason. Playing to the masses and conspiracy theorists is not what I am about. That does damage without anything positive.

    I do hope you continue to participate, but please do distinguish accusations of criminal behavior from honest and understandable frustrations, unfairness and things that can and should be changed.

    Thanks.

    -Gene

  21. Al-

    Your comment is insulting, and shows that you know absolutely nothing about me. When the USPTO changed certain rules in September 2008 my business was crippled, yet I explained it was a positive change because it should have meant the end to invention submission companies. Unfortunately, all the PTO did was push anyone reputable out of the business and left it open for invention submission companies to exploit independent inventors. I wrote about that over and over again, and have even been told by some inside the PTO that I was at one point public enemy number 1 because I railed on Director Dudas for 2 years because of his poor decisions and advancement of initiatives that would cripple innovation, harm independent inventors and destroy pharma.

    If you want to have your head in the sand go right ahead, but my advice to you is to learn from the wisdom of President Lincoln who said:“It’s better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.”

    Healthy debate is always welcome, and many who challenge me go after me and we have a vigorous debate. Notwithstanding, I will not tolerate what happens on many other patent blogs, and I do ban people who attempt to take the discourse to unacceptable levels. The Internet allows people to say whatever they want without recourse and while remaining completely anonymous, no matter how insulting or rude. That, however, will never be allowed on IPWatchdog.com.

    -Gene

  22. Gene,
    C’mon, now. You are going too far when you accuse me of intellectual dishonesty. Look at my position. It’s called a categorical syllogism, and there’s nothing dishonest about it. I’ll spell it out for you.

    major premise: in every human population of thousands a percentage are dishonest.
    minor premise: patent examiners represent a human population of thousands
    ergo . . .
    conclusion: a percentage of patent examiners are dishonest.

    Now, my friend, tell me where the dishonesty is. Tell me which premise you want to challenge. Or show me your argument why the conclusion doesn’t follow.

    Your position is that because I can’t point to a single, known, dishonest examiner that my assertion of the syllogism is itself dishonest. May I refer you to Aristotle’s Prior Analytics. Absence of proof is not proof of absence, particularly in the face of overwhelming logic.

    It is your unsupportable position that there is no such thing as a dishonest examiner that is pushing the boundaries of honesty. Is it not?

  23. Quotidian Dude-

    You say: “It is your unsupportable position that there is no such thing as a dishonest examiner that is pushing the boundaries of honesty. Is it not?”

    NO, it is not!

    Are you really an attorney? Major premise, minor premise and conclusion makes for great logic games, but are simply not proof. You have raised extraordinarily serious charges. Charges that if true would land people in jail for a very long time. Logic games and Socratic proofs are not evidence, and if they taint thousands of honest PTO workers (which they do) proof should be demanded.

    I am not a fool. I get what you are saying, and to dismiss it outright as impossible would be naive. Could it have happened, yes. Did it happen, I serious doubt it, particularly given there is a real and undeniable explanation that we all know to be 100% true, we all know it happens.

    It is also possible that molecules could align in such a way so as to spontaneously and mysteriously turn a page. That is scientifically provable, but it has never been observed by a reliable witness or one who was not drunk. The fact that it is possible doesn’t mean it happened. Your syllogism makes for great debate in university circles, but gets you laughed out of court in the real world.

    I know you are frustrated. I am frustrated too. We can openly discuss that what you suggest is a feeling shared by many, but those of us in the industry know that while it might appear to be the case it is almost certainly not the case. In science we know that the exotic theory is rarely correct. Keep it simple and you will see the light. Examiners take cases out of order because it is advantageous to them given the crazy quota system. The fact that an ordinary inventor might suspect bribery is a perception problem for the USPTO, not a reason to tarnish the reputations of the many hard working people at the PTO who like us are just trying to make a living and navigate this unnecessary economic downturn.

    -Gene

  24. Gene, I apologize. That post was intended to be facetious and to show that anyone can make wild unfalsifiable conspiracy theories. I suppose this thread has gone so silly that it’s hard to tell parody from the real conspiracy theorists.

  25. Al-

    Sorry if I over reacted.

    -Gene