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Top 10 Reasons Republicans Might Oppose the Patent Office


Written by Gene Quinn
President & Founder of IPWatchdog, Inc.
Patent Attorney, Reg. No. 44,294
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Posted: June 12, 2011 @ 2:57 pm
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Earlier this week two key House Republican leaders, Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI), who is Chair of the House Committee on the Judiciary, was joined by Congressman Harold Rogers (R-KY), who is Chair of the House Committee on Appropriations, wrote Congressman Lamar Smith (R-TX) explaining that they oppose provisions in House patent reform legislation H.R. 1249 that would allow the Patent and Trademark Office to keep and use the fees collected to run the agency.  See House Republicans Oppose an Adequately Funded Patent Office.  This is an extremely myopic and ill conceived notion.  The Patent Office is unlike other government agencies in that it is completely funded by user fees, takes absolutely no taxpayer funds and provides a valuable service for a fee.

Given that House Republicans seem to fear an adequately funded Patent Office I got to thinking — What could they be afraid of?  With that in mind, here are the top 10 things that House Republicans just might be afraid of as they seek to oppose an adequately funded Patent Office.  Can you hear the black helicopter squad swirling overhead, conspiracy theories in hand?  

Caution! You are about to begin a journey through space and time into another dimension where what seems absurd is truly is absurd.  On this odyssey toward a wondrous land of the pleasantly sublime, the expanse of timeless infinity will weigh on your subconscious, lulling you into a hypnotic trance where your mind teeters on the edge between politics and superstition.  Caution! You are about to enter the Political Zone, a fully owned and clandestinely funded subsidiary of the Twilight Zone….

Boys and girls and children of all ages gather ’round.  Be heard the top 10 reasons that House Republicans oppose an adequately funded Patent Office.

  1. The Obama Administration might be able to concoct a way to divert some funds to the operation of Area 51, the infamous top-secret military site where aliens are being studied. Such black operations should only be approved by Congress.
  2. Fees that are collected by the USPTO and not handed out by Congress could be used for purposes of upgrading the woefully inadequate IT infrastructure, which would only make Congress look bad given that it would pretty conclusively prove that they miserably failed in oversight responsibilities during the Bush Administration years.
  3. Patent Office user fees unchecked by Congress could be used by the Obama Administration for the purpose of funding lobbying efforts by David Kappos, Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and the Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, to lobby Congress for a shorter title for himself.  Such efforts would also indirectly benefit Teresa Rea, Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and the Deputy Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, who has the longest title in Washington, D.C. , thanks to the addition of the word “Deputy” twice to an already ridiculously long title.  Congress gets to define the titles and it is up to them if they want someone’s title to be a full paragraph long!
  4. User fees collected by the Patent and Trademark Office, if not overseen by Congress, could be utilized to create a better functioning Patent Office, which would lead to the creation of valuable assets, which in turn would lead to the funding of start-up businesses that would hire workers and lower the unemployment rate.  Can’t have any of that prior to President Romney taking Office, can we?
  5. The Obama Administration could divert PTO funds without Congressional knowledge to continue the decades long cover-up of exactly what happened in Roswell, New Mexico.  Everyone knows we have been visited  by aliens that landed in Roswell, New Mexico back in 1947.  But-for clandestine programs and black ops funding the public would already know the truth!
  6. The Obama Administration could divert user fees collected to continue the long-time suppression of the truth relative to exactly who shot JFK.  Yes, no one is buying the single gunman theory.  As that famous Seinfeld episode pointed out, spit cannot make a right turn in mid-air, so presumably a bullet couldn’t either.  But enough on that, “they” are probably listening and I may have already said too much!
  7. If the Democrats are for something we need to be opposed as Republicans. The only acceptable bi-partisan effort in Washington, D.C. is the unyielding bi-partisan attacks.  After all, if both parties attack that has to be “bi-partisan,” right?  Just like there is no crying in baseball, there can be no agreeing in politics.
  8. The Obama White House could use the gargantuan sums collected by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, all .01% of federal spending on an annual basis, to cover up proof that aliens have visited Earth, have abducted humans for experimentation purposes and are planning an invasion even as we speak.  Yes, I know I have mentioned aliens three times now, but can any good conspiracy theory ever mention aliens, Area 51 and Roswell too many times?  I think not!
  9. The new Patent Office campus located in Alexandria, Virginia, which opened in about 2005, was too small immediately upon opening.  The Office had grown faster than anticipated, so the campus was not large enough day 1.  Everyone knows that the best and brightest minds, namely our leaders, couldn’t have made such a terrible miscalculation.  Obviously, the campus property was acquired to cover up something; something big!  I realize this doesn’t have anything directly to do with opposing an adequately funded Patent Office, but it has to mean something!
  10. The Patent Office?  You guys are still in existence?  Republicans thought they crippled the Agency sufficiently under the Bush Administration to force the Office to go bankrupt and cease business operations.  Oh, right, the Patent Office is a part of the Department of Commerce.  Never mind.

All joking aside, it seems that Congressmen Ryan and Rogers have not actually read H.R. 1249.  This is quite ironic in and of itself given Republicans loudly (and correctly) chided Democrats for not having read much of the legislation passed over the previous several years.  You see, House Republican leaders can’t have read H.R. 1249 because if they had they would know that the user fees are required to go for the reasonable and necessary operation of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, and they were not turning over a blank check to be used by the Obama White House, as they seem to suggest.  If they had been paying attention they also would have known that this provision was added to Patent Reform by “Dr. No,” none other than Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK), who is one of the most fiscally conservative members of Congress.  So this wasn’t proposed by the Obama Administration for nefarious reasons, it was proposed and supported as the only logical and correct thing to do by a top Republican fiscal hawk.

So why are the Republicans so worried?  Let’s hear your best, worst and most conspiratorial theories!  After all, if our political leaders are going to be fixated on doing destructively stupid things we might as well realize some enjoyment by poking fun at them as we cry at the hopelessness of our own plight.

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Posted in: Fun Stuff, Gene Quinn, IP News, IPWatchdog.com Articles, Patent Reform, Patents

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.

 

64 comments
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  1. My view though not going to be received well, is that the US Government doesn’t need to be spending money on anything that isn’t going to help the current unemployment growth as well the loss of business over the past two+ years.

    Truth is, if people aren’t unemployed they are working shorter hours — I know this well with more then one business just in my area alone. Business large and small that have made both cuts — of jobs on the one hand and hours on the other. As I said once before — that businesses are saving money not jobs !

    Asking such business for more money (tax), is going to drown the baby in the bath water. The PTO isn’t affording any business a way out to remain in the black, rather, tax dollars spent on something as the PTO that will directly or not cost them on both ends.

    One end is the fact that the cost of being in business is quite high, when cost to do to the research needed to be sure that having a welcome mat isn’t a patented business method. Sorry, just sarcasm ! The problem exists for every business move on the path to growth of a business today ! The second end is simply whether or not businesses patent, they are also being taxed too high.

    The spending must be for those things that impact what is wrong rather then throwing more money at problems that haven’t changed with all the money spent on them in the past. What is important is where money today, should be spent, and that is fund those to put them back on a tax paying basis with employment in jobs created — without money from having a parent take off work to pay licensing for their kid’s knowledge to complete pre-k. Atop of, higher taxes altogether to fund more of the same.

    The time of change is here with a shift in view of what is important, and it only seems that the PTO is but one found lower on the list of importance. This may change again in the future — but I seriously doubt that it will any time soon before 2012.

  2. My conspiracy theory is that the Republicans get their campaign funding from guys with big money and it is the guys with big money who want to defang patents. Start-ups with patents challenging Fortune 500 companies with their new, patent-protected technologies are a serious annoyance to the Fortune 500. It is the Fortune 500 who give campagn cash to the Republicans, so to appease their donors they do their bidding to defang patents.

    To the vast majority of voters, this is so under-the-radar esoteric stuff that the bigwigs and republicans can get away with it, all the while proclaiming they are for INNOVATION!!

  3. AC-

    That is a good theory, and one I would have likely agreed with, but today practically everyone from small business to Microsoft, including the Coalition for Patent Fairness and many Universities, wrote to Boehner and Pelosi demanding an end to fee diversion.

    The plot thickens.

    -Gene

  4. I rather enjoyed this. Patent law is not a subject that easily lends itself to humor. Any little bit helps.

  5. Fees? What fees. Maybe someone from the USPTO should explain the rationale for charging a Utility Search Fee per each utility patent application. Why not an Office Action fee? Why not any other frigging fee for that matter.

  6. Note to all-

    This post has generated a great number of comments that have been deleted. While I am happy to allow heated debate, the use of profanity is not acceptable. Neither are comments that are merely personal attacks. Yes, we do get heated here and go after one another, but a comment that does only that without any substance will NEVER be allowed on IPWatchdog.com.

    So all those who are complaining I am censoring — yes I am. If you don’t like the censoring of comments laced with profanity or those that do nothing other than attack then please go elsewhere. There are plenty of other websites that tolerate comments that lack substance and those full of profanity.

    -Gene

  7. I am a Republican and strongly support its basic principles of limited government and free markets. However, some Republicans take that position too far, and exhibit an almost knee-jerk rejection of all government involvement in promoting and protecting the free market. The Democrats have generally done a better job where patents and antitrust enforcement are involved.

  8. Gene, thanks for censoring Rep. Weiner.

  9. Hey Gene,

    Why don’t you be honest. You don’t just censor profanity. You also censor anything said against Obama. That’s because you are a political hack. You are a fanboy just like all the rest of the sick liberals who dish it out but can’t take it. In my part of the world we have a name for liberal wimps like you, but you won’t print that.

  10. From a purely pragmatic perspective I can be content that lawmakers will oppose the America Invents Act for the wrong reasons so long as they support it for the wrong reasons.

    The real reason that legislators of any party will not free the Patent Office from fee diversion is that they enjoy having a big cookie jar that they can steal $100 million from whenever they please, as they did earlier this year in the Obama-Boehner budget compromise.

    The worst thing that could possibly happen is for the ending-of-fee-diversion language to be removed from the bill but the FTF provisions kept in.

    The best thing that could possible happen is for the ending-of-fee-diversion language to remain and FTF removed.

    The status quo–no passage of either–is an acceptable compromise.

    I don’t like inventors having to pay an innovation tax, but it’s better than the needless loss of rights that FTF would entail.

    RKS

  11. Fee Simple-

    I censor anything said against Obama? Really? You have to be new here.

    Perhaps you should take a look at my writings here the mention President Obama, as well as on my other website – BlatantlyTrue.com – which has admittedly become stale. I am likely to start writing there again soon. http://www.blatantlytrue.com/

    Maybe you should get a clue before you open your mouth and look so foolish, or are you the type that don’t let facts get in the way of truth?

    -Gene

  12. “My view though not going to be received well, is that the US Government doesn’t need to be spending money on anything that isn’t going to help the current unemployment growth as well the loss of business over the past two+ years.”

    It won’t be received well because it is incredibly naïve to think that we should abandon all long-term planning, as well as regulatory activities just because of a moderate (but certainly not historically high) unemployment rate. New here is apparently young, because if you have any perspective (i.e., life experience), you would recognize that today’s economic situation is nowhere as dire as many situations our country has seen in the past.

    “You also censor anything said against Obama.”
    Sounds like another Republican who cannot be bothered with learning the facts before spouting off. Gene is a dyed-in-the-wool Republican – if memory serves me correctly, of the libertarian variety. Seriously, you have to give Gene credit for calling BS when he sees it – no matter who creates it. On the other hand, “Fee Simple” is the type of knee-jerk political fan boy that epitomizes what is wrong with politics in this country.

  13. John McCain also thinks he’s a Republican. LOL

  14. @Just Visiting

    “It won’t be received well because it is incredibly naïve to think that we should abandon all long-term planning, as well as regulatory activities just because of a moderate (but certainly not historically high) unemployment rate. ”

    First two questions; so you think it is only an historically high unemployment rate that should occur before anyone does something about it ?
    Is it, you believe that the highest percentage of money should fund the patent system before all else ?

    You really need to answer the question why the present Congress doesn’t feel the pain you seem to be saying that is the current patent office funding situation. Answer the question aside of the “conspiratorial theories” that why is a patent system dependent upon the current economic situation. Dependent in it needing a percentage of that money from the economy to support it. Answer please, why that if the patent system were in fact creating jobs — there would be in fact an economic-independent patent system able to stand on its own two feet and not at the feet of Congress to beg.

    Without such independence for the patent system I don’t see any valid claim about abandonment. Much money has already been thrown into the patent system — with results that I’m not sure I see today that I should come up with more money to fund it ! If I pay the bills, I say what gos !

    Thanks.

  15. @New Here – Please learn a little about the USPTO before getting worked up.

    1) It is fully funded by patent applicant fees.
    2) It is not funded by the tax paying general population.
    3) Congress has been stealing a portion of the patent applicant fees for about a decade.
    4) Therefore, patent applicants are not receiving the services they were promised upon payment of their fees.

    You are correct in one important regard: The people who pay the bills (patent applicants) are angry and do want the services they were promised.

    Many of the applicants paid their fees 3, 4, or even 5+ years ago and are still waiting to receive servicing of their applications. They are unable to move forward with business plans (hiring, building, growing, contributing to the economy) because those services have yet to be rendered and they are in patent limbo.

  16. Gene being called a liberal is quite funny.

  17. @PS DIP

    Thank you for the reply and information. At present the office doesn’t have the funds from fees to cover the added work load to try and clear up the back log of patent applications as well most day-to-day operations — true. I don’t really see that patent applicants are going to be paying more money above fees already paid to fund that effort — I hope not as it would be wrong !

    However, fees collected aren’t enough seeing how the PTO patent application load continues to grow beyond funds from fees — even if the office were allowed to keep every cent. But, giving the office or the White House a blank check isn’t going to help the problem because a connection to the PTO and the economy exists. Patent holders as well others dependent upon it, insofar that all services and goods being a few of the many things being patented that American consumers buy everyday — is one primary source of funds for patent holders.

    Is it I’m expected to continue to buy funding the office no matter how indirectly, as well when many others are jobless. So, where does the dependence upon the economy stop funding the patent office with consumer dollars, that the one claim of the patent system is that patents create jobs — not having been fully seen given the current unemployment rate. Some independence for the office could be achieved if more of the money were coming from — jobs from patents.

    I hope that the current position holds, not allowing control to pass to the office or the White House. Through Congress people can have some access to making a point — otherwise would be more complex if at all. Imho.

    Thanks.

  18. Gene,

    As a registered Republican, I’ve already sent in my comments (verbally and by e-mail) to my local Congressman (Speaker Boehner) exorciating this effort by Rogers and Ryan to remove Section 22 from H.R. 1249 and telling Boehner’s office that if this nonsense passess with Section 22 gone, that I’m seriously considering declaring myself to be an “independent.” I’m weary of Congress continually reneging on its promise to stop fee diversion.

  19. If anyone can actually translate what New Here said, I would appreciate it.

  20. BD says: “Gene being called a liberal is quite funny.”

    Whatever do you mean? LOL.

    I am a very liberal guy. According to Dictionary.com the synonyms for “liberal” are “broad-minded, unprejudiced, beneficent, charitable. generous.” All of those things are fairly good characteristics I believe, perhaps with the exception of “charitable.” Since Obama’s policies have unnecessarily prolonged the recession, since the root of the recession (i.e., housing) has not at all been addressed in any manner whatsoever, and since fear of the future has businesses and individuals hoarding cash, this economic downturn has cut into my bottom line and made me less charitable just because I have less to donate.

    Cheers.

    -Gene

  21. Fee Simple-

    “John McCain also thinks he’s a Republican. LOL”

    You are a FUNNY guy.

    I guarantee you that I have done more for Republican causes then you will ever do. Additionally, allow me to notice that “Republicans” like you are the problem with the party. You seem so blinded by party that you aren’t willing to stand up to the party when they are doing something stupid. It is “Republicans” like you that allowed the party to stray.

    So where were you when the party was spending like drunk sailors? Where were you when the party was expanding government?

    Phony “Republicans” like you disgust me.

    -Gene

  22. JV says: “Gene is a dyed-in-the-wool Republican – if memory serves me correctly, of the libertarian variety.”

    I think that is a fair characterization indeed. Splash in a healthy amount of equal parts fiscal conservative and business realist and the Republican-Libertarian characterization is complete.

    Politics aside, I do appreciate you noticing that I call out BS when I see it. That was the goal with this and the previous article.

    Cheers.

    -Gene

  23. @BD – He does have one solid point which he may have made by accident.

    I believe (I would love to be corrected by anybody) the fees collected in 2008 for your applications filed in 2008 are not being reviewed with escrowed 2008 funds. Instead, they are being reviewed today with funds paid by 2011 applicants (~50%) and maintenance fees (~50%). And just like the housing market (boom-bust), this works fine when total fees paid keep going up on an annual basis. But when filings and maintenance fees level off or project to go down (2009), the house of cards starts looking shaky. And, when the fees coming in stop (remember the 6 day shut down scenario), then it all collapses.

    So, while we all want the USPTO to be fully funded, there needs to be some serious money management review occurring by folks on the other side of the Potomac River whom Gene is calling out.

  24. New here — when I have to read and then re-read what you’ve written in a (futile) attempt to parse some meaning out of it, it means you should focus more on your writing skills than either the USPTO or government spending. Trust me … work on your ability to write clearly, and I suspect that you’ll be in a much better place.

  25. @Just Visiting

    Why do you engage in telling me anything when you have nothing you can base it on, because you are unable to “parse” any meaning. (Parse ? — oh please !). That is like someone that speaks another language I don’t and I engage in telling them that I don’t understand them. Yeah right makes a whole mess of sense, when seeing that I was the one started to talk to them in the first place !

    While you’re not understanding me, I have some information. After digging around and found that the patent office was in fact funded by taxpayer dollars once. So the office has not always been fee funded only. That is part of how my un-understandable post were taking in terms of, mostly because as I have also found that the idea of a dual-funding for the patent office (tax + fee) has been considered around over a few years, that is as of the current White House mess.

    Taxpayer money should never be used to fund the patent office ! Mostly because the tax on business is now too high, and unemployment rate is too high. The spending of the Government shouldn’t be going for things that are not showing a sign of a thing that could be taken as that will help the current economic problems. Problems in the US and for the US with money little people tax payers already have the bill to pay the tab for — for a long time to come.

  26. That is like someone that speaks another language I don’t and I engage in telling them that I don’t understand them.

    WOW !!

  27. @BD

    WOW!! you forgot the rest:

    “Yeah right makes a whole mess of sense, when seeing that I was the one started to talk to them in the first place ”

    Thanks for the reply.!

  28. Gene, you were spot-on last April, in predicting that that the federal government shutdown would be avoided by last-minute negotiations. What do you see in your crystal ball regarding the fight the Congressional appropriators are putting up in trying to have section 22 (prevention of fee diversion) stripped? If section 22 is deleted, I feel the bill will be (or should be) dead-on-arrival. Additionally, I have read elsewhere that Speaker Boehner is siding with the appropriators (not a good sign). Your thoughts?

  29. “the campus property was acquired to cover up something; something big!”

    We keep the aliens that landing at both area 51 and Roswell in a room accessible through the underground tunnels that connect each of the buildings on the PTO campus. However, now that you know we’re going to have to shoot you.

  30. GoBruinsGo-

    I have heard that Speaker Boehner is NOT siding with the appropriators. I understand he would like to have patent reform move, and is pushing the various factions in the Republican party to come to an agreement. That sounds like typical Boehner.

    I’m not sure I have a crystal ball on this one. No one wants a long battle over something that won’t get votes but will upset donors, like patents. If funding is stripped the bill is dead. If prior user rights remain I think the bill is dead as well. I don’t see the Senate voting to accept a House version that strips funding or that contains prior user rights.

  31. If funding is stripped the bill is dead.
    If prior user rights remain I think the bill is dead as well.

    Long live ftf.

  32. Gene. How could you ever be so presumptuous and wrong. I’m not a Republican.

  33. Fee Simple-

    Right. You complain to me for being a liberal apologist for the Obama Administration and you are not a Republican.

    What I do know about you is you are a coward.

    -Gene

  34. Gene. I wouldn’t bet on that if I were you.

  35. Fee Simple-

    Of course you are a coward. You use a fake name with a fake e-mail address. Too afraid to take ownership of your comments.

    Sorry if that reality bothers you. I just tell the truth and call them as they actually are.

    -Gene

  36. _______________________________________________________________

    Anonymous communications have an important place in our political and social discourse. The Supreme Court has ruled repeatedly that the right to anonymous free speech is protected by the First Amendment. A much-cited 1995 Supreme Court ruling in McIntyre v. Ohio Elections Commission reads:

    Protections for anonymous speech are vital to democratic discourse. Allowing dissenters to shield their identities frees them to express critical, minority views . . . Anonymity is a shield from the tyranny of the majority. . . . It thus exemplifies the purpose behind the Bill of Rights, and of the First Amendment in particular: to protect unpopular individuals from retaliation . . . at the hand of an intolerant society.
    The tradition of anonymous speech is older than the United States. Founders Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay wrote the Federalist Papers under the pseudonym “Publius,” and “the Federal Farmer” spoke up in rebuttal. The US Supreme Court has repeatedly recognized rights to speak anonymously derived from the First Amendment.

    The right to anonymous speech is also protected well beyond the printed page. Thus, in 2002, the Supreme Court struck down a law requiring proselytizers to register their true names with the Mayor’s office before going door-to-door.

    These long-standing rights to anonymity and the protections it affords are critically important for the Internet. As the Supreme Court has recognized, the Internet offers a new and powerful democratic forum in which anyone can become a “pamphleteer” or “a town crier with a voice that resonates farther than it could from any soapbox.”
    _______________________________________________________________

    http://www.eff.org/issues/anonymity

  37. Fee Simple-

    Anonymous communications are for cowards. You hide behind anonymity for a reason, and that reason is to disassociate yourself from the nonsense you spew. Feeling so weak must be dreadful.

    And just to be perfectly clear, you enjoy no right to post to IPWatchdog.com.

  38. Gene. I never claimed any right to post on your site. I said you were a liberal and a censor. You said I was a Republican and a coward. I’m absolutely right. You’re absolutely wrong. And you have every right to censor, delete or reply to this comment. So, do what you want. It doesn’t bother me and I don’t care about whatever you choose to do.

  39. Fee Simple-

    Obviously it bothers you, otherwise you would have let this drop.

    You cited a case on the right to remain anonymous that brings up the First Amendment. The First Amendment applies to prevent the government from abridging free speech. So unless you like comparing elephants and apples you were certainly implying that you have the right to remain anonymous.

    The fact remains– you are not big enough to take credit for what you write. And what you said previously was clear, so no amount if anonymous denial changes that which everyone can read.

  40. Now Gene,

    I fully disagree with “Anonymous communications are for cowards.

    I have stated my reasons on your blog before – actually in defense of IANAE – not one of my favorite blog personalities at that.

    There are many valid reasons for anonymity, and being anonymous simply is not equivalent to being a coward.

  41. Gene. I posted the EFF statement to simply illustrates that you are wrong in equating cowardice with anonymity. They Americans were not cowards. The fact that there is an additional free speech component is irrelevant to our disagreement. I already said, you have every right to censor any comment you want. So, you can blather on but it’s irrelevant in every way.

  42. First to file? That’s innocuous compared to the USPTO fee proposal.

    The USPTO is the ONLY US Agency that requires special accreditation to represent clients. An attorney can brief the US Supreme Court, but needs special testing and approval from the USPTO alone, to prepare a patent application for the USPTO.

    If that’s not enough, the do-gooders at the USPTO now want to improve US competitiveness by setting and keeping their own fees.

    So, in the USPTO we have, a) a 100% monopoly to issue patents, b) with sole pricing discretion, c) deciding who they will work with.

    If this was anywhere else but the US Government, the antitrust forces would be howling.

  43. Fee Simple-

    You say: “I posted the EFF statement to simply illustrates that you are wrong in equating cowardice with anonymity.”

    And that is where we will have to agree to disagree. I don’t care whether the EFF thinks anonymity does not equal cowardice, and quite frankly I don’t care whether the Supreme Court refuses to equate anonymity with cowardice. By any fair understanding of what it means to stand up for yourself anonymity does, in fact, equate with cowardice.

    Those who are afraid, for whatever reason, to attach their name to their actions are cowards. This is one of the truly unfortunate consequences of the Internet. Debate suffers and so does common decency. Anonymous individuals are able to say the most awful things without fear. Things are said that would never be said face to face, and in my book that is the definition of a coward.

    -Gene

  44. BD-

    You are not truly anonymous though. While you use a “handle” to post you do not use a fake e-mail address. I know that you are a real person, and while folks who read your comments don’t know who you are specifically you do not seek to hide your background or knowledge. As far as I am concerned there is a big difference between what you and some others do and the drive-by, non-substantive comments by those who seek to hide everything and communicate in nebulous terms as if black helicopters are circling overheard. Additionally, you always contribute substantively and thoughtfully to the discussion.

    In order to try and keep order, and not let debate devolve into what is commonplace on the Internet, a short leash has always been given to those who use BOTH a fake name and a fake e-mail address. Those folks need to play it by the book. The goal is to have debate online that could occur in person, face-to-face.

    Cheers.

    -Gene

  45. In my experience (from usenet to the present day) people will often be more strident and prone to make personal attacks on-line than in person, with or without anonymity. But any degree of anonymity tends to make the problem worse. Having a moderator helps, subject to the moderator’s personal tolerance level for poor netiquette.

  46. Gene,

    My definition of anonymous is different then.

    In fact, I equate my definition with “pen name,” albeit with the actual name not disclosed (for any of the reasons I have previously covered).

    As to using both an anonymous name and a false email address, I would liken the latter to a degree of fraud, of false representation – in fact it may very well border on identity theft. In a forum inhabited by legal folk, this would rightfully be grounds for banishment.

  47. RE: #44

    FYI: the email I have provided from day one is a real one ! I receive email on it !
    Gene ? send an email with a short message of just anything, and I will post it here ?
    Note: mistakes happen, so remember its an underscore ‘_’ between the 7 and the 4.
    As for my “handle” isn’t a name at all rather it was created from the fact that I was “new here” at the time.

    One way to solve the problem Gene would be to have a closed blog, meaning those posting must pass approval and enter a password — so no anon handles !

    Thanks,
    New Here.

  48. BD-

    I figured we were using the term “anonymous” in a different sense. If you go back and look at the comments where this comes up from time to time I always say that those using both a pen name and a fake e-mail address are given little or no latitude. Fake name and fake e-mail address comments need to be by the book, straight down the middle.

    I guess what bothers me about a fake name and fake e-mail is the complete and total lack of accountability. That is the problem with so much Internet communication. Complete anonymity allows some individuals to say ridiculous things unchecked.

    New Here-

    We don’t always agree I know, but no need to worry. I’m not inclined to make commenting any more difficult. The fake e-mail was easy to spot, and really always is. The name of a prominent, scandalous former Congressman @microshaft.com made it easy to spot in the case of Fee Simple.

    Cheers to you both, and thanks for your continued reading and contributing.

    _Gene

  49. A couple things.

    I use a fake name and fake email address, because (i) I have clients that may agree/disagree with what I have to say and (ii) I have dealings with the USPTO. I have to be anonymous to be as candid as I would like. Otherwise, I would have to self-censor my comments, which I don’t want to do. The fake email address is because it is too easy to find out someone’s ID from an email address … unless it is only used for this purpose. If someone wants to get a hold of me, just ask, and I’ll provide a way.

    As for Fee Simple , you call yourself “not a Republican” yet you call Gene a “sick liberal” and “liberal wimp”. Why? What is it about Gene’s writings, as a whole, that cause you to believe he is a liberal? Also, how could you not be a Republican? Is it because the Tea Party thinks it is separate from the Republicans because Republicans aren’t conservative enough?

    As for New Here, let me recommend Strunk and White’s “The Elements of Style” and “Essentials of English Grammar.” Also, let me give you a couple hints. Run-on sentences are difficult to understand — i.e., use shorter sentences. Commas are useful. When you start a paragraph — make your point in the first sentence (remember, short sentences), then use the rest of your paragraph to support your point. Try saying the same thing in less words.

    Again, I’ll repeat this — work on your ability to communicate clearly and you’ll be in a better place.

    Oh, and one last thing, if the Founding Fathers didn’t think a Patent system was useful, they wouldn’t have put in the Constitution. Since patents are inextricably tied to commerce (guess what department the patent office falls under), a strong patent system is important to the economy. As such, there is nothing wrong with having the taxpayers, as a whole, pay for the patent system. That being said, the taxpayers have nothing to worry about because the USPTO is a self-funded agency.

  50. Jv,

    Well said on all points – you have even made me pause on the strictness of my view regarding fake email addresses, although I think I still hew to Gene’s controlling guidelines (we already have a patent blog that let’s the inane run amuck).

  51. “we already have a patent blog that let’s the inane run amuck”

    Trust me, I know. I used to post there much more than I do now. However, the likes of 6 and the MM twins (Mad Max is the other twin) has caused me to look elsewhere to discuss patent issues.

    I don’t mind Gene’s censorship too much. Separating the wheat from the chaff can be good thing.

    Oh, one other thing, with regard to email addresses — as an exercise, google your own email address — google doesn’t miss much.

  52. So after speed reading through several comments, I’m still not sure if “New Here” ever got it through
    his/her head that the PTO is NOT funded by tax dollars!! Furthermore, the blank check argument by Ryan doesn’t hold water because even if we spent every dollar we bring in, it wouldn’t cost tax payers a single cent extra (the PTO is a different animal)!!! The extra money we’d bring in I think would work wonders. The PTO is a very difficult agency to do “more with less” given the current patent system. We’d have to make significant changes, like limiting applicant to 1 claim and then filling out a 1 page checklist report, merely checking a box for 102, 103, etc. We all know that’s NOT going to happen!!! Examiners STILL aren’t given enough time to (truly) thoroughly examine most cases as it is, so we cannot do more with less, but only more with more. I agree with Gene in that Ryan couldn’t have actually read the bill or else it shows how ignorant he is regarding the patent system & how important it is to our economy! I immediately thought of conspiracy theory #4 when this story originally broke. It’s time to get serious about throwing the PTO a bone if congress is actually serious about sparking the US economy, which is a joke that has lost its humor a long time ago.

  53. “Omnibus Reconciliation Act of 1990 (OBRA), taxpayer support was eliminated. OBRA imposed a significant fee increase on America’s inventors in order to replace the taxpayer support the USPTO was, until that point, ”

    Look it up, as well the talk about a dual funding idea ( tax + free ). The idea has been around for a few years. Comment 1 was talked about in comment 14 — please read it again !.

  54. Comment #53 @Mr. Xaminer

  55. @Mr. Xaminer

    “It’s time to get serious about throwing the PTO a bone if congress is actually serious about sparking the US economy, which is a joke that has lost its humor a long time ago.”

    Seems odd to me, that a system that is the reason for the economy can’t seem to overcome the problem it has created. Let’s say the Government takes 50% of fees, with the fact that patent application number has grown beyond the funding that the fifty percent left for the PTO can’t handle. Seems as the application number continues to grow, even with the PTO keeping all fees, brings a question: How long will it be before more money is needed by a system that claims it builds the economy — that not enough money made by all patented that isn’t enough to fund the PTO with a percentage of ?

    Business and consumers are paying enough — so higher cost regardless of the source for it will finish off what little is to work with now. Fees only being recycled to serve the PTO isn’t a perfect closed loop when the system continues to grow beyond what seems an endless cycle of continued work load without control — or end. If all fees were to be restored, in time they would have to go up for all applicants because, the cost cycle upward would demand it ! In time the system would consume itself — a vacuum if you will. A vacuum of sorts that exists today — that the system with all it’s fees must take responsibility for no matter how high cost to themselves will be and — without some day returning to Congress for asking for the money needed beyond the fee cost applicants don’t want to pay higher for !

    Thanks.
    The system isn’t doing a thing for the problems now, all it wants is more money to keep and create jobs to support itself — doing little for / about what others have lost already. That doesn’t seem to matter though they did buy and use patented goods / services for years — knowing and not.

  56. To comment 54 (New Here): I wasn’t sure because you seem to be all over the place on your positions, but if not clearly my mistake. I really am not one to get into dart throwing on these blogs, we all seem to have passionate views on this topic, and we all need not agree. One thing I hope we actually all can agree on is that the patent system is vital to our economy and we really need to get serious about improving what’s broken or lagging. Some of the changes should be procedural, such as limiting the number of claims or pay a huge fee increase. Also, more programs to reach first action issue (although I think there are many attorneys out there who love dragging out prosecution & bleeding their clients dry, especially big tech companies who have plenty of funds with a large IP budget).

  57. Now I know what “New Here” refers to; you must originally be from another planet!! Seriously! The only vacuum is congress sucking the necessary funds out of the PTO to better do what it is intended to do. Funding alone will not fix all that is wrong, but it’s part of it. As I mentioned, procedural changes in the way we examine must also be established, but we still need sufficient funding. The patent system is not necessarily the mother ship of the economy, just one slice that certainly contributes, plays a role. Gene runs a great blog here, the best in my opinion. I have weighed in, now I’m officially out of this pissing match!!

  58. @Mr. Xaminer

    Thanks for the replies, really, I like the feedback.

    As for being all over the place on my positions, isn’t really as simple as that. The PTO keeping all fees I’m all for it, as long as the PTO doesn’t continue to run out of money that applicants don’t want to pay higher fees that would have to continue to climb in order for the PTO to remain independent on a fees only basis. IF looking forward with the PTO keeping all fees, the PTO would have to return to Congress with the only money available — taxes — that are going to hit business and consumers. There is no money now because the economy is bad. So take the fees and the responsibility when the money needed must come from your own pocket — if again, the PTO is to remain fee only independent now and in the future.

  59. “I wasn’t sure because you seem to be all over the place on your positions”

    Ahem … I think I made that point a couple of times … however, more as part of a suggestion than an observation.

    “all it wants is more money to keep and create jobs to support itself”
    No … the USPTO wants more money, from Congress, to do the job that Congress mandated that the USPTO perform. Actually, I’ll let Senator Colburn’s letter to Ryan Rogers explain it:

    http://www.innovationalliance.net/files/Coburn%20Letter%20to%20Ryan-Rogers%206-9-11.pdf

    “as long as the PTO doesn’t continue to run out of money that applicants don’t want to pay higher fees that would have to continue to climb in order for the PTO to remain independent on a fees only basis.”
    Sorry, there is this little thing called inflation that requires someone to reset their fees every so often. If the USPTO ever needs more money, the fees get raised. This happens in all walks of life … so get over it.

    There will never be a need for the USPTO to take taxpayer fees. The fees charged by the USPTO are a pittance compared to attorney fees and the value obtained from the patent application. As such, to raise them 10%, 25%, or even 50% (so as to provide better service) would not create a significant drop in the amount of patent applications being filed.

    In short, your 10 posts on this topic are directed to an issue (USPTO use of taxpayer money) that hasn’t been an issue in decades and probably will never been an issue. Let me make this simpler, your comments are neither topical nor do they have a chance of being topical.

  60. @JV

    Subtract my replies to you and the others that I didn’t comment to first.

    From my first comment #1, my first reply was #14. That was after your comment #12. With about 13 comments/replies between, I don’t really understand what you’re pointing out about me.

  61. Please omit my email address from what would be post #60 — replace name field with “New Here”.

    Thanks.

  62. Thanks for publishing that e-mail, it was a mistake and now I will use another legitimate e-mail, closing that one asap. Both of these e-mails I have used over past years. I didn’t believe that an e-mail address would be accepted in the name field. Will pay close attention in future !

  63. I think congress needs to talk to SOFTWARE DEVELOPERS and not just patent lawyers on how to address the needs of the software development community as a whole.

    I’m a software developer, I have a degree, and I want it to be made clear that it is impossible for the “indy developer” to produce any software under a patent system of any sort. IBM/Microsoft/Apple/Google all share patents because they are afraid of each-other, but small business is more of a liability than it’s worth considering that there are over 300,000 patented IDEAS and more being added every day.

    I don’t know patent law, but you don’t need to too see what software patents have done to software development in the past 20 years. Small Development Houses are shut down or robbed of their wealth due to the broad interpretation of software patents.

    Things like “clicking a hyperlink on dial-up” is not a “brilliant idea” that should be protected. But this is besides the point.

    Patent Lawyers seem to think that a computer application is made up of a single idea, which if it were true there would be no problem. The reality is that a single computer software is made up of anywhere from a dozen to thousands of individual ideas, making it mathematically impossible to produce software without being sued or spending your entire budget on licensing fees (if even an option).

    Due to the mentioned nature of software development, the only “legal” software to produce anymore is of only the most trivial nature, as any ambitious project will have more ideas than can be mathematically possible to be original. Especially when the ideas the patent office is putting out are so fundamentally basic to computing.

    The idea that a small business can pull a patent on an idea and produce a product is nonsense, just to publish the software would violate one of over 300,000 patents on basic computing principles. There is just no way that a small software company without hundreds of patents “held hostage” can be aware of what patents he/she may be violating in the process of developing any kind of innovative software. As I mentiond any innovation in software requires hundreds of ideas, the color of the scroll bars, the data format, internet protocols, copyright verification (validating legitimate software licenses online is patented). There is literally a patent on a computer network that can run two or more game software’s. Even if it were possible to sort through all of the patents (you’d need a dozen dozen Harvard grad lawyers on payroll) the software that you would be able to produce wouldn’t be recognizable or accessible by users.

    To put it into perspective, symphony is another creative art that incorporates tens of hundreds of ideas in a single piece. If the patent system environment was applied to symphony, a composer would be forced to focus ALL of his energy on avoiding patent violations rather than making aesthetic meaningful music, in fact, it likely would sound more like noise than music at all. As I mentioned symphony, like software development, isn’t the composition of a single idea, but an arrangement of hundreds to thousands of ideas made sound, or software. Music, like software also has to sound familiar to listeners to be not only marketable but functional and enjoyed, or in the case of software, usable. There is no way software can be familiar and recognizable or even usable by consumers without violating dozens if not thousands of patents in the process.

    To clarify, the equivalent of many a software patent in symphony would be things like “using a violin in C minor”, I saw a patent lawsuit last week where Target, Maceys, Amazon, and I believe Wal-mart were sued for hundreds millions for “selling items in a virtual store on the internet”, a liability that keeps thousands of small businesses from being able to sell products online as any litigation or legal fees would have them filing for bankruptcy. Just Google for “patent lawsuit” and you’ll see why that outside established mega-corporations, the software industry is dead.

    My name is Trae Barlow and I used to be a software developer. I have a degree from South Texas College and studied Computer Science only to find out my time was wasted as I cannot practice my craft without risking the loss of my family’s property and investments. I’m glad the GOP is starting to recognize what software patents have done to the economy (a player in the dotcom bubble).

    The only solution is the complete invalidation of all software patents, it has no place here. For more information on why software patents DESTROY small business and software development please see the link below.

  64. Bleak-

    Clearly it is not impossible for software developers, even independent software developers, to develop software with a patent system. Your hysterical approach and belief that you are somehow special and need to be treated differently than every other business makes it impossible for you to be taken seriously.

    Further, you say that Congress needs to talk to software developers about patent law and reforms and then you actually go on to say: “I don’t know patent law, but…” Seriously? You admit to knowing nothing about a topic that you are pretending to comment on with authority? That is laughable!

    The belief that you have anything to contribute to a debate you admit you know nothing about is the absolute height of arrogance. Perhaps you should inform yourself and get a clue before you try and opine on a topic in the future.

    -Gene