Former Head of USPTO Joins AbsolutelyNew Advisory Board

By Press Releases
July 29, 2010

Jon Dudas

AbsolutelyNew, Inc., a next generation consumer products company that develops and launches the best ideas from independent inventors, has added former Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Jon Dudas to its Advisory Board. Jon will help AbsolutelyNew advance its successful strategy of harnessing the great ideas of independent inventors.

Jon’s distinguished career includes significant contributions to the field of Intellectual Property on behalf of inventors. From 2004-2009, Jon served as the head of the Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office. He was appointed to this position by the President of the United States.

As Director of the USPTO, Jon was responsible for administering the laws and regulations related to granting patents and trademarks, and the day-to-day management of the agency’s $1.7 billion budget and over 8,000 employees. Previously, as Staff Director and Deputy General Counsel for the House Committee on the Judiciary, he guided enactment of major patent, trademark and copyright policy, including the last major legislation regarding U.S. intellectual property, the American Inventors Protection Act of 1999.

In June of 2010, Jon became President of FIRST, a not-for-profit organization (founded by prolific inventor Dean Kamen), that inspires students and professionals in engineering and technology fields, with the long-term aim of increasing the competitiveness of the Unites States in the global economy.

Jon joins other notable AbsolutelyNew advisors, including Myra Hart and Mark Copman. Myra is a co-founder of Staples, Board Member of both Office Depot and Kraft, and retired Professor of Harvard Business School. Mark Copman is 3M’s Vice President of Corporate Development and Mergers & Acquisitions.

According to Jon, “Many brilliant inventors patent their ideas but may not have the time or knowledge to develop and manufacture them. One of the greatest benefits of our patent system is that ideas themselves can be protected and sold to those who have that expertise. It is innovation that lifts the economies of all nations. AbsolutelyNew’s contributions help fill the gap between invention and successfully marketing and selling a final product. It allows inventors to focus on what they do best—inventing.”

“We’re thrilled to have Jon join our Advisory Board. He is clearly an expert in innovation management, and understands how all of the pieces fit together to create the ‘big picture’,” said Richard Donat, AbsolutelyNew CEO. “We’re confident he’ll help us reach our next level of success, and enable us to help the U.S. become more competitive in the global economy.”

The Author

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Discuss this

There are currently 20 Comments comments.

  1. EG July 29, 2010 11:54 am

    “Jon’s distinguished career includes significant contributions to the field of Intellectual Property on behalf of inventors. From 2004-2009, Jon served as the head of the Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office.”

    Gene,

    What drivel by the clueless popular media. For example, I see no mention of the Tafas/GSK case debacle. Or the sagging allowance rate at the PTO that was used as the sole “quality” criteria under Dudas’ leadership (if you can call it that). AbsolutelyNew, Inc. deserves what they get which is politically-climbing “grandstander.”

  2. step back July 29, 2010 12:10 pm

    Gene,

    Because my ‘real name’ appears on several patents, I periodically get letters from so-called invention promotion companies. IIRC, Absolutely-New is one such company. I do not know if they are for real or something else as I had never contacted them back.

  3. Aaron Johnson July 29, 2010 12:27 pm

    Wait, I’m confused. Are they funding development of these new ideas, investor-style, or just providing advice and services for inventors?

  4. anonymousAgent July 29, 2010 12:58 pm

    I think over 99% of patent practitioners and independent inventors would agree with me when I say that “he should crawl back under his rock.” Hey Jon!! Go do something less damaging to the country like trying to impeach the president !!! Keep away from science and technology, of which you know nothing. Maybe you should first take some community college courses so you can qualify to sit for the patent bar !!

  5. DE July 29, 2010 2:34 pm

    You might want to check out the USPTO published scam page – note the March 2010 Absolutely New complaint from McDaniel. He asserts that they took him for $23,890.

  6. Gene Quinn July 29, 2010 2:49 pm

    Hello everyone. I figured this post would generate some strong feelings.

    I found this press release and published it as-is, so it comes from AbsolutelyNew.

    I don’t know Dudas personally, but what I do know is that people seem to like him and think his is a nice guy. To say something nice about him, it is fair to observe that while he was PTO boss he tried like hell to make changes and do something positive. I never thought any of the initiatives were good ideas though, and he managed to get what he measured, which didn’t in my opinion lead to quality. He is, however, extremely well connected so perhaps he is well suited for his work with Dean Kamen and AbsolutelyNew.

    As far as AbsolutelyNew goes, I really know nothing about them first hand, but like many others have heard stories. The stories I hear are rather non-specific and not numerous. They are a fairly new company as I understand it, and they are a fee for service company (at least that is what I have been told). I understand that they charge a lot for their services, and I have heard from at least some that were not happy with what they received. I have also heard from numerous industry people (some who many would say wear white hats and some who many would say wear black hats) that they do not have a favorable opinion of AbsolutelyNew, and in one situation I was urged to look into what is really going on there. Is this jealously or typical criticizing of another business in the market? Is this just the fact that you cannot please everyone all of the time and inventors are more than happy to let folks know when they feel they didn’t receive proper service? I don’t know.

    The complaint on the USPTO website referenced above in the comment chain by DE is available at:

    http://www.uspto.gov/inventors/scam_prevention/complaints/mar10mcdaniel.jsp

    -Gene

  7. EG July 29, 2010 3:08 pm

    Gene,

    Yeah, most people blow “hot” or “cold” on Jon D., and I blow “very cold” on him, just like Rogan and Lehman who were equally unqualified. Kappos to me is the one “bright spot” in terms of appointments by the current Administration.

  8. DE July 29, 2010 3:21 pm

    Gene,
    You could request an interview with Jon D. in his new position. He should say yes if he really beleives AbsolutelyNew is a legit company.

  9. IANAE July 29, 2010 3:58 pm

    note the March 2010 Absolutely New complaint from McDaniel. He asserts that they took him for $23,890.

    That complaint sounds more like it came from a dissatisfied customer who managed to find the internet than the victim of a scam.

    I realize we’re all supposed to hate this Dudas guy, but if that’s the case shouldn’t we have enough legitimate reasons without creating flimsy new pretexts like this? One person was unhappy with the service he got from this company, as far as we know, no substantiating evidence is available, and Dudas wasn’t even associated with them at the time. Big deal. Let’s move on.

  10. patent leather July 29, 2010 4:09 pm

    Gene, as DE said above, you should really try to get an interview with Dudas. I’d love to hear his reflections on all of the debacles he was involved in. I don’t think he would grant you one, though, I think it put would him in a tough spot. If he wants to be honest, he would have to admit the USPTO leadership (including Doll & friends) really screwed up lots of things. If he still supports all of their failed initiatives, it would make him look terrible. So I’ll bet the farm he would decline.

  11. Renee C. Quinn July 29, 2010 5:11 pm

    Anonymous,

    You put a huge smile on my face today. I just love your comments! Especially “Hey Jon!! Go do something less damaging to the country like trying to impeach the president !!!” I bet we can guess where you stand on the Obama bandwagon!

    Your other comment; “Keep away from science and technology, of which you know nothing. Maybe you should first take some community college courses so you can qualify to sit for the patent bar !!” is also a good one. But didn’t he join the firm Foley & Lardner LLP in 2009 as a partner in the Washington, D.C. office, working with the Intellectual Property and Public Affairs Practices? So that would suggest that he did take the patent bar. I am not going to bat for him, I am asking in all seriousness, because I though he was a patent attorney. But I could be wrong.

    Renee

  12. the fruit of their labor July 29, 2010 7:25 pm

    So that would suggest that he did take the patent bar.

    Renee, you see they change the regulations to serve, well, themselves.

    Here is the new 37 CFR 11.7 [Added, 69 FR 35427, June 24, 2004, effective July 26, 2004]:

    § 11.7 Requirements for registration.

    (d) Waiver of the Registration Examination for Former Office Employees.

    (3) Certain former Office employees who were not serving in the patent examining corps upon their separation from the Office. The OED Director may waive the taking of a registration examination in the case of a former Office employee meeting the requirements of paragraph (b)(1)(i)(C) of this section who by petition demonstrates possession of the necessary legal qualifications to render to patent applicants and others valuable service and assistance in the preparation and prosecution of their applications or other business before the Office by showing that he or she has:

    (i) Exhibited comprehensive knowledge of patent law equivalent to that shown by passing the registration examination as a result of having been in a position of responsibility in the Office in which he or she:

    (A) Provided substantial guidance on patent examination policy, including the development of rule or procedure changes, patent examination guidelines, changes to the Manual of Patent Examining Procedure, development of training or testing materials for the patent examining corps, or development of materials for the registration examination or continuing legal education; …

    (ii) Was rated at least fully successful in each quality performance element of his or her performance plan for said position for the last two complete rating periods in the Office, and was not under an oral or written warning regarding such performance elements at the time of separation from the Office.

  13. Gene Quinn July 29, 2010 8:15 pm

    Renee-

    Dudas is definitely not a patent attorney. He was a Staffer on Capitol Hill who moved over to the Patent Office as a political appointment and eventually became Director. That was the reason why so many of the initiatives he forwarded didn’t make any sense. He didn’t understand the Patent Office because he didn’t grow up through the ranks as an Examiner, and he wasn’t a patent attorney either. So he didn’t really know anything about patents or patent practice. A very dangerous combination.

    That is why the Kappos appointment was so welcomed by the patent bar. Finally a patent attorney was appointed to run the patent office.

    -Gene

  14. Renee C. Quinn July 29, 2010 8:40 pm

    Well, I guess you can tell I’m NOT the patent attorney. LOL I’m just the marketing gal. That’s why we pay Gene the big bucks!

    Renee

  15. Blind Dogma July 30, 2010 7:15 am

    The government being self-serving?

    Why yes, I have that flavor – one glass or two?

  16. Steve M August 1, 2010 7:44 pm

    Dudas?

    Never has any one person done so much to hurt so many in the history of both the Patent Office and the patent world in general.

    Sorry; but there’s no silver lining to this cloud.

  17. Cammie McDaniel December 25, 2010 4:09 pm

    In response to the 7-29-10 posting by DE, I, Cammie McDaniel, am currently in litigation with Absolutely New to recoup some or all of the money they owe me. I WOULD NOT ADVISE anyone to sign a contract with Absolutely New, Inc. They are CROOKS AND THIEVES! They have zero intentions of representing any signed contracts. Read the contract carefully, and you will see that all disputes have to be handled by arbitration. When you complain to them, your complaints fall on deaf ears. Then you are forced into arbitration, at your expense. The arbitration is to occur in San Francisco, and the plaintiff who initiates the proceedings bears the burden and expense of traveling to San Francisco and paying for the arbitrators. This means travel costs, hotels, arbitrators and incidentals. Research has shown that most arbitrators side with businesses. Therefore, you start out on the losing end. Anthony (Tony) Flores, the legal counsel for Absolutely New is assured that most people will give up, given the obstacles and expenses ahead of them. I surprised them. I filed a breach of contracts case in small claims court in Illinois, and Tony Flores had to travel 5 times from San Francisco to Chicago to respond to the case. When I filed the case, Tony Flores ignored the court case, until I won a default judgment against them for $23,800. That got his attention. In the last court papers filed, Mr. Flores referred to me as a “bully”. I was forcing this big company to have to use their money and fly to Chicago to respond to the case. They have gone from being the bully to the victim. My last words are, ABSOLUTELY DO NOT SIGN A CONTRACT WITH ABSOLUTELY NEW! They are CROOKS AND THIEVES. DO NOT TRUST THEM! I am surprised that Jon Dudas associates and aligns himself with Absolutely New and has joined their Advisory Board. This is scary and very disheartening.

  18. David Pegg January 6, 2011 2:45 pm

    Thanks for the low down. I often receive junk mail in the UK from Absolutely New. Tried to call them, left my number three times and never got any response. Seems like the place is run by an ‘unactioned’ answerphone.
    Dave

  19. Stephen Brown July 23, 2011 2:41 am

    : STAY AWAY FROM THIS COMPANY! BELIEVE THE COMPLAINTS! After receiving several letters over a two year period I decided to contact Absolutely New to inquire about their services. I had extensive discussions with Dave Stickel about his company, and was emailed a contract to consider on February 8th 2011. The main reason I decided to hire this company was because of their promise to represent my products at trade shows around the country. Specifically I was assured that if I enlisted their services right away they would be able to include my products at the Chicago Housewares Show on March 7th-12th. I was told that this was the most important show of the year for my type of products which are designer beddings for children.
    When I made my decision to hire Absolutely New I was asked to sign the signature page of the contract and fax it to them which I did. The following week I took a trip to San Francisco to see the company in person and deliver a check. Dave Stickel introduced me to Serena Soo. She was the project coordinator that would be handling my inventions. I was again assured that Serena would be taking my products to the Chicago trade show in a couple of weeks. She said she would not have time to prepare my marketing materials for the show but would take some samples and brochures that I provided to her. A few days later I received a hard copy of the contract in the U.S. mail which I put in a file.
    After the Chicago show Serena sent me an email telling me that the show went well and that she had spoken to several companies about my products and that they were intrigued. She said that she told them she would be following up with them in the next few weeks once she had finished my marketing materials. It was during the preparation of these marketing materials that the problems began. Serena sent me a draft of the concept sheet that looked like it was prepared by a third grader. I know photo shop so I fixed it myself and sent it back. I was then told that this “one sheet” was in fact the entire “marketing package”. I decided to look at the contract I had been mailed to see if Serena was giving me the “marketing package” as promised in the agreement. The contract said that Absolutely New would prepare a “marketing package” that would include the “one sheet” as a part of the package. I also discovered that a paragraph had been added to the hard copy of the contract that was not part of the original contract Dave Stickel had sent me by email. I did some research and discovered that this paragraph was a disclosure required by California statutes as well as the American Inventors Protection Act of 1999.
    I also called Chicago and discovered that Serena Soo had never attended the trade show. A badge had been reserved in her name but never paid for or picked up. She sent me a Quarterly Report for March which had no mention of her follow up with the companies she claimed to have met in Chicago. When I spoke to her over the phone about the report she told me that those companies had passed on my products. When I pressed her for the details and asked why this information was not included in the March Report she was evasive and I could tell she was lying.
    I took these issues up with Tony Flores, the general council for Absolutely New. He looked into the contract issue regarding Dave Stickels actions. He told me that Dave had purposely tampered with my contract by deleting the paragraph with the required disclosures from the original emailed to me and then attempted to sneak it back into the hard copy that he sent to me in the mail. He told me that Dave was a rogue employee and that he had been fired. With regards to Serena Soo and the Chicago trade show, I was told that Serena claimed that she never told me she was going to Chicago. Tony Flores then offered me a full refund of the fee that I had paid or the opportunity to enter into a new agreement. He then told me that his retail division had a serious interest in my products from Bed Bath & Beyond.
    At this point I did not know what to believe. Absolutely New was asking me to forgive the fraud by Dave Stickel, Serena Soo was calling me a liar, and Bed Bath & Beyond was supposedly interested in my products. I told Mr. Flores that I had lost all trust in Absolutely New & in order to make a decision as to how I would proceed that I would have to verify all statements from him and the CEO Richard Donat. I requested proof of Dave Stickels termination, proof of the interest from Bed Bath & Beyond, and proof that Serena Soo had done the work she claimed to have done in her March Report. The only document I got from them was the Dave Stickel termination papers. They refused to give me the other documents I requested, then attempted to rescind my contract and said they would send me a full refund. The refund check never came. I recently sent them a letter demanding to be made whole by reimbursing me for all monies that I had spent as a result of my association with their company. I wanted reimbursement of the $20,630.00 fee, all samples I had given them, attorneys fees I had incurred, and travel expenses. I also requested compensation for 6 months of lost time. They haven’t given me a nickel.
    I recently discovered that they have been under a suspended status with the Secretary of State since May 2nd 2011. They were under suspended status when they attempted to rescind my contract. This attempt to rescind my contract under a suspended status is punishable by fines and imprisonment This company was formerly called IP&R. IP&R has had numerous complaints. Tony Flores, Dave Stickel and CEO Richard Donat all worked for IP&R. It is my opinion, and experience that they are liars, cheats and conmen and I would advise everyone to stay away. My phone number is 818-445-1746 and anyone can call me if you would like more details of my experience with Absolutely New. Cammie if you read this please call me.
    Signed: Stephen M Brown

  20. Guardian Angel September 27, 2011 12:06 am

    THE DIRTY LITTLE SECRETS ABSOLUTELYNEW HOPES YOU DON’T DISCOVER!

    Dear Independent Inventor,

    If you are considering a contract with AbsolutelyNew for invention promotion services, it is highly recommended you research the following public information before making your decision to give them your hard earned money.

    1. New Angle Pet Products LLC vs. AbsolutelyNew Inc.

    http://news.priorsmart.com/new-angle-pet-products-v-absolutelynew-lQk/

    By using the above link you will be taken to a site where you can learn everything you would want to know about a patent infringement lawsuit that AbsolutelyNew recently lost. They were ordered to pay $60,000.00 and destroy all of the product they had manufactured.

    2. Invent WorldWide Consulting LLC vs AbsolutelyNew Inc.

    http://www.rfcexpress.com/lawsuits/trademark-lawsuits/illinois-northern-district-court/72241/invent-worldwide-consulting-llc-v-absolutelynew-inc/summary/

    By using the above link you will be taken to a site where you can learn the current status of a trademark infringement and unfair business practices lawsuit that AbsolutelyNew is currently facing. The allegations in this complaint are shocking and if true we will be asking Absolutely Who?

    3. Suspended Status with California Secretary of State

    http://kepler.sos.ca.gov/

    AbsolutelyNew has been operating their business under a suspended status with the California Secretary of State since May 2nd. They also are not maintaining the required Surety Bond. If you go to the above link and do a business search using the entity number C2436332 you can see the suspended status for yourself. The suspension was initiated by the Franchise Tax Board meaning they probably did not pay their corporate taxes..A form has to be filled out and sent to the Secretaries office in
    Sacramento so see that they have no Surety Bond.

    4. Falsely advertizes BBB accreditation on their blog and Facebook

    http://inventors.typepad.com/absolutelynew/2011/06/bbb-approval.html

    If you use the above link you will be taken to a page on AbsolutelyNew’s blog where they are bragging about being a BBB accredited business. If you go to the BBB site, http://www.bbb.org/greater-san-francisco/business-reviews/product-development-and-marketing/absolutelynew-in-san-francisco-ca-297003 you will see that they in fact are not an accredited business.

    5. No longer a United Inventors Association certified member

    http://inventoropinion.blogspot.com/2011/09/absolutely-new-leaves-uia.html

    By using the above link you will be taken to the United Inventors Association’s blog where the UIA has posted a suspicious letter from AbsolutleyNew’s CEO Richard Donat. In this letter Mr. Donat states that AbsolutelyNew will not be renewing their membership with the UIA. Their are some interesting comments about the letter and in one comment Mark Reyland the UIA executive director states that AbsolutelyNew’s VP is also no longer on the UIA board. Its only speculation but the UIA probably finally rescinded the UIA Certification enjoyed by AbsolutleyNew due to the high volume of complaints and has allowed AbsolutelyNew to save face by writing a suspicious letter stating that they had decided not to renew their membership. We will have to wait and see whats going on with this one.

    Do your homework and don’t say you weren’t warned.

    Sincerely

    Your Guardian Angel