Lowering the Bar to Diversify the Patent Bar Would Be Misguided and Unethical

By Gene Quinn
December 14, 2020

“The desire to see more diversity in the industry, which is a laudable goal, cannot give way to common sense and put inventors at risk.”

patent bar - https://depositphotos.com/21785175/stock-photo-athlete-performing-high-jump.htmlOn December 11, Senators Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Chris Coons (D-DE), sent a letter to United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Director Andrei Iancu inquiring about whether qualified women are excluded from membership in the patent bar as the result of systemic bias. This question is raised because of a paper written by Mary T. Hannon, a patent agent with Marshall, Gerstein & Borun, who is also a J.D. candidate at DePaul University College of Law.

“Qualified women are unnecessarily excluded from membership in the patent bar as the result of perpetuation of an institutionally biased and archaic set of scientific and technical requirements by the United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO),” Hannon wrote. “[E]ven when the gender gap within the patent bar has been acknowledged, there have been few, if any, attempts to abolish the systemic obstacles that seem to exclude women from participation.”

To remedy the situation, Hannon proposes solutions including expanding the types of degrees that satisfy the requirements to qualify for the patent bar, removing “undue requirements” on program accreditation and coursework, and introducing an apprentice model.

Lowering the Bar is Not the Answer

In a word, this article is utter nonsense. To claim that there are “qualified women” being excluded is, simply put, a lie. If the solution is to expand the type of degrees that qualify an individual, expand the types of coursework that qualify an individual, or simply introduce an apprentice model, then there obviously are not qualified women being excluded. These issues all also equally apply to both male and female and hardly set up a battle of the sexes the grandiose claims otherwise suggest.

To be qualified to be a patent attorney or patent agent, one absolutely must possess the scientific and/or technical understanding of innovation, since the entire job of a patent attorney and patent agent is to describe an innovation, which by definition has heretofore never existed to some extent, and convince a technical expert (i.e., a patent examiner) that the innovation being described is both novel, non-obvious and adequately described.

It is simply not possible to be “qualified” without possessing the scientific and technical background and sophistication necessary to understand innovation. And expanding the requirements is simply another way of saying the requirements should be lowered, which is particularly true given that fundamental, basic scientific coursework is satisfactory to demonstrate to the USPTO technical expertise sufficient to become a patent practitioner.

On this last point it is also worth noting that while there are many science degrees that automatically allow one to qualify to become a patent practitioner (i.e., biology, chemistry, physics and dozens more), and there are many engineering degrees that automatically allow one to qualify to become a patent practitioner (i.e., electrical, mechanical, chemical, and dozens more), there are also four other pathways, known in the industry as Category B options, which will allow one to demonstrate the requisite scientific knowledge to assist an inventor competently as a patent practitioner. The quickest pathway is only 24 credit hours in physics, which can all be earned at a community college. Others range from 30-40 credits in other scientific disciplines, which cover coursework that likewise can be earned at a community college.

To the extent that there is a systemic and purposeful obstacle that prevents membership in the patent bar, it is precisely because not everyone possesses the requisite scientific or engineering knowledge required to understand innovation. There is a selection bias at play as well. Furthermore, having taught a patent bar review course over the past 21 years, I can at least anecdotally attest to the fact that many times the science and technology degrees possessed by women are not in demand in the industry. Whether it is good or bad, those who seek a career as a patent practitioner will struggle mightily if they have only a bachelor’s degree in chemistry or biology; in those two areas a master’s degree is often not even enough, with company and law firms typically requiring practitioners to have a Ph.D.

Despite being well capable of succeeding at very high levels in any scientific or engineering endeavor, young girls are often dissuaded from pursuing those paths early in life. The solution to this very real problem is not to impose a lowering of the requirements on the back end, but rather to do something on the front end. Unfortunately, the real solution will take great long-term effort, but the difficulty of the task doesn’t justify the imposition of back-end gerrymandering that allows for more women to be counted as having obtained a license as a patent professional while having done nothing to solve the systemic problem.

A Question of Ethics

There is also another critically important consideration that needs to be taken into account— ethics. Patent practitioners are required to competently represent clients, and in the patent space competence requires not only legal knowledge but knowledge of the science and technology associated with the invention— including the prior art. It is naïve to think that those without science and engineering training, at least the 24-40 hours of community college credit hours required under Category B, are appropriately trained to satisfactorily attain the minimum level of competence required by USPTO ethics rules.

While there very well may be people who possess the technical knowledge to meaningfully and adequately represent inventors without possessing a certain degree or specific credit hours, that would be equally true for both men and women. Over the last 21 years, I have seen the USPTO rarely use Category C, which allows the Office to recognize, on a case-by-case basis, that someone possesses unique knowledge or training without fitting into the other categories. This has never been administered on a discriminatory basis, which is why so many I have advised have chosen to pursue the physics path (i.e., 24 hours of physics) or 30+ hours of chemistry or some other science. So, should the USPTO be more open to Category C applicants? Perhaps, but that is not a female versus male issue.

And for those who constantly want a computer science degree to qualify for admission to the patent bar, I’ll point out simply that what gets patented — if anything — is the invention represented in the architecture and system design. Time and time again I’m confronted with the reality that many with computer science degrees do not even make basic flowcharts or create schematics before they start writing code.

Software code is not patentable. Opening up admission to the patent bar to those who do not have even 24-40 credit hours of science and who are not computer engineers and have familiarity primarily (or only) with writing code is a mistake of epic proportions. It is difficult enough to obtain software patents presently, without really understanding software from an engineering perspective it would be virtually impossible.

Input, Not Output

Revision of the science and engineering requirements to make it easier for people without adequate training to become patent attorneys and patent agents is a mistake of epic proportions. The desire to see more diversity in the industry, which is a laudable goal, cannot give way to common sense and put inventors at risk. The problem, whether it be with fewer than desired numbers of women as patent practitioners or fewer numbers of women innovators, is an input problem, not an output problem. We can and absolutely should be doing whatever we can to tap into under-represented communities, but the “feel good” easy solution of doing whatever is necessary so a particular quota is achieved is misguided and unethical.

Pretending that lowering the bar on the output end has no consequences and will in any measurable way do anything to encourage young girls to consider STEM and, thereby create a long term solution is pollyannaish.

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The Author

Gene Quinn

Gene Quinn is a Patent Attorney and Editor and President & CEO ofIPWatchdog, Inc.. Gene founded IPWatchdog.com in 1999. Gene is also a principal lecturer in the PLI Patent Bar Review Course and Of Counsel to the law firm of Berenato & White, LLC. Gene’s specialty is in the area of strategic patent consulting, patent application drafting and patent prosecution. He consults with attorneys facing peculiar procedural issues at the Patent Office, advises investors and executives on patent law changes and pending litigation matters, and works with start-up businesses throughout the United States and around the world, primarily dealing with software and computer related innovations. is admitted to practice law in New Hampshire, is a Registered Patent Attorney and is also admitted to practice before the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. CLICK HERE to send Gene a message.

Warning & Disclaimer: The pages, articles and comments on IPWatchdog.com do not constitute legal advice, nor do they create any attorney-client relationship. The articles published express the personal opinion and views of the author as of the time of publication and should not be attributed to the author’s employer, clients or the sponsors of IPWatchdog.com. Read more.

Discuss this

There are currently 99 Comments comments. Join the discussion.

  1. anonymous December 14, 2020 4:57 pm

    A few issues.

    “To claim that there are ‘qualified women’ being excluded is, simply put, a lie.”

    If you feel so strongly about this claim, shouldn’t you have some evidence to back it up? Ms. Hannon’s paper appears to be well-researched with citations and examples; your opinion piece statement with no support does not persuasively confront it.

    “Over the last 21 years, I have seen the USPTO rarely use Category C, which allows the Office to recognize, on a case-by-case basis, that someone possesses unique knowledge or training without fitting into the other categories.”

    But your website also says “I have personally NEVER seen anyone fulfill the requirements of Category C no matter how brilliant and technically sophisticated.” Which is it? Rarely or never? And how is that you know Category C it has “never been administered on a discriminatory basis”?

    Your diatribe also does not at all address the point in her paper that even a Category A degree helps little, if at all, with design patent practice. Nor do you address the specific solutions she proposes; instead you simply argue vaguely against a straw man “lowering the bar” principle.

    In short, your opinion piece reads as more of as an angry rant instead of truly taking on the issues. It does not represent the thoughts of many in the patent bar, I hope.

  2. Nancy Braman December 14, 2020 8:09 pm

    @anonymous If you want evidence to back up his statements, I will serve as your evidence as a qualified woman who not only took the patent bar exam but passed on my first try. “Qualified women are unnecessarily excluded from membership in the patent bar as the result of perpetuation of an institutionally biased and archaic set of scientific and technical requirements by the United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO).”

    Really? The only hurdles I personally faced for membership in the patent bar were a) having a technical degree and b) passing the rigorous patent bar exam. I didn’t come from a privileged financial background and I went to a state school for undergrad, yet I managed to find the drive to not only major in STEM but also study for the patent bar before I went to law school. This woman doesn’t need rescuing, nor do the other *qualified* women who seek to satisfy the USPTO’s standards. If I recall correctly, my male colleagues are also subject to the exact same requirements. I’m frustrated with the statements made here because it purports to lower my bar for qualification strictly because I happen to be a woman, implying that I’m not smart enough nor resourceful enough to qualify on my own. This statement does a disservice to all women, myself included, who have worked incredibly hard to achieve the scientific and technical training necessary to work in this esteemed field. Are there issues with low female enrollment in STEM fields? Sure. But that has nothing to do with the patent bar, so don’t change things on my behalf. I was admitted to the patent bar because I chose to study STEM and I chose to be diligent in my studies for the exam, just like every patent bar-admitted male colleague of mine. If you have issues with the patent bar admission requirements that’s a separate topic. But don’t make it about gender when it isn’t about gender. Additionally, if you’re going to attack someone’s article, you shouldn’t hide behind an anonymous username. That’s just too easy.

  3. Easwaran December 14, 2020 9:51 pm

    I am reminded of a famous quote:

    “The law, in its majestic equality, forbids rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal their bread.”

    If that were written today, I assume from this blog post that Gene would respond that:

    “These issues all also equally apply to both [rich] and [poor] and hardly set up a battle of the [classes] the grandiose claims otherwise suggest….Revision of the [] requirements to make it easier for people without adequate [resources] to [avoid sleeping under bridges, begging for money, or stealing food] is a mistake of epic proportions.”

  4. John White December 14, 2020 10:21 pm

    Anonymous: way to dig in and get to the real issue: not. The article opens by explaining “qualified women” are not excluded owing to the fact that the entire thrust of the article being critiqued is that the “qualifications” should be be changed so that more can meet altered rules. “Qualified” women have never and cannot be excluded. Hence, to say “qualified people” have been excluded is simply not true. Anyone who has the requisite degree/course work qualifies. Those who don’t: don’t. Period. Gender is simply not an issue.
    The current patent attorney/agent register is an echo of whomever has obtained STEM degrees in the past 40 years. This is changing rapidly. More “qualified” women are taking and passing the patent bar than ever. The mix of those who have Reg numbers is and will change as an echo of who is now enrolled and this fact will ripple into the future. More women are finding their way into STEM. Bravo. My wife and daughter and daughter-in-law all qualify for the exam, as do both sons and my son-in-law. What does that prove: nothing. It is simply a reflection of their choices in life. It is neither good or bad, except for their own prospects and outlook and goals. Let’s not insult or disparage those who choose differently. The PTO should accept all who “qualify”. And, guess what, they already do. The list of qualifying degrees is always expanding and being adjusted as innovation warrants.
    As for design patents: I suggest a “carve out” for this distinct practice. I do not think STEM provides all that a practitioner may need to do as well as they might for creators in this area. Design and artistic folks should be welcomed, regardless of gender.
    Your “rant” as a critique of Gene’s defense is not based on fact. You just do not agree. That is also fine. But keep the insults off the keyboard, they are unwelcome and unpersuasive.

  5. Gerund December 14, 2020 10:55 pm

    Why don’t we look at this from another perspective. Should we restrict people with chemistry degrees from representing clients who have inventions in the mechanical arts? And what, exactly, is the nexus between a technical degree and a design patent? As a practicing patent attorney, I would respectfully submit that a STEM degree has no business serving as a prerequisite for membership to the patent bar. One of the best mechanical and electrical patent practitioners earned a biology degree from SUNY Forestry. Likewise, I’ve observed several chemical engineers who couldn’t draft a claim on a benzene ring. The STEM degree is not shorthand for competence as a patent attorney. This kind of lazy thinking problematic.

  6. Gene Quinn December 14, 2020 11:26 pm

    Anonymous @1…

    Once you are admitted to practice as a patent practitioner you are not limited to only design cases. And design cases make up a very small percentage of filings every year. So, you see, the Office has to be concerned about real technical qualifications as I do explain.

    I did address the articles arguments, if you can call them that. Computer science majors do not possess the knowledge of computer technology and what they specialize in is not patent eligible (ie code).

    As for Category C, if you do not possess 24-40 credits from a community college you shouldn’t be a member of the patent bar. You won’t find work. The USPTO would do the industry a tremendous disservice allowing people without scientific experience the ability to take the exam when 8 courses in physics from a community college make you qualified.

    And none of this has anything to do with make vs. female. Nice try, the article is wrong. What I wrote is correct.

  7. Gene Quinn December 14, 2020 11:30 pm

    Easwaran at 4…

    You comment makes no sense. Are you actually saying the bar should be lowered because women lack the financial resources to take courses to qualify? That is a ridiculous argument if it is what you are saying since to qualify a college degree is required. Are you arguing that the college degree requirement be removed too for women?

  8. MaxDrei December 15, 2020 5:27 am

    I wanted to read the Hannon Paper before I comment. One can do that by going to the Senators’ Letter then clicking on its ref #1.

    In my large patent attorney firm, here in Germany, female attorneys are present in greater numbers in chem/bio than in Mech/EE. (and in trademark law, women outnumber men). There are several reasons for that. On the Boards of Directors of large companies in Germany, the number of women is very small. To my mind, any “bias” against career females is not peculiar to patent law (or to STEM areas for that matter).

    When I’ve read the Hannon Paper perhaps I will write again. Meanwhile, I see no need for anybody to come out with a rant. It diminishes the ranter more than the ranted at.

  9. EK December 15, 2020 6:01 am

    I am a qualified woman excluded from the patent bar by my undergraduate degree, philosophy, which I did indeed select in 1986 because I had very little encouragement to seek out STEM topics. in 1986, the engineering program at my very fine university was 9% women. However, in truth, I have found philosophy uniquely suited to patent work, the underlying proof of claims requirement is identical. Aside from some programming classes I found necessary in the last decade, I have never once had trouble understanding the technical or scientific requirements of the patents I have worked on. I should not have had to spend 21 years hiring less qualified lawyers to rubber stamp them for me for the USPTO. Thank you to Ms. Hannon for highlighting this issue and it would be wonderful if it led to expansion of the degrees eligible. I do mean to take up an additional technical degree once childminding duties have eased, but I can say from experience, the present qualification requirements are outdated and entirely unnecessary to good patent prosecution. It is a shame IPWatchdog can’t be more open to the topic.

  10. Michael Edward McCabe, Jr. December 15, 2020 8:00 am

    Frankly, Gene, and will all due respect, Ms. Hannon raises serious and thoughtful issues. I found her article not to be “utter nonsense” at all. Every patent firm I have worked at has been utterly dominated by white men. If I look at the leadership ranks of those firms the absence of diversity is even more readily apparent. There are issues of unintentional yet pervasive, systematic bias in our little patent lawyers club. The patent bar does not reflect the diverse socio economic backgrounds of inventors or clients. Ms. Hannon has a point and to simply wave your hand and say “utter nonsense” is, well, frankly beneath someone of your stature.

    I think you need to use this opportunity to learn more about pervasive racial and gender bias in our society.

  11. Anon December 15, 2020 8:28 am

    It seems to me that AN issue may be present (and perhaps Gerund has a more sensible approach to that different issue).

    That being said, there is no shortage of logical fallacies that are perpetrated by those TOO imbued with the identity politics of Neo-Liberalism.

    The ‘emotion’ of ‘being equal’ does not rise to the ‘reason’ of how that ‘being equal’ is being advanced. Those who would be critical of others employing reason should be ashamed of themselves and their ‘cancel culture’ ways.

    For those who understand the meaning of words, “discrimination” is NOT always a ‘bad’ word.

  12. Mike S December 15, 2020 9:14 am

    I can’t believe this blindly privileged relic of an argument from a white man who hasn’t experienced any systematic discrimination. Clearly the requirement for a technical degree excludes more women than men. Any practitioner admitted to the patent bar can practice in any technical area ethically – it’s a matter of knowing your own limits and they aren’t imposed from outside. I guess facts don’t matter any more if the privilege of a white man is challenged. Really disappointing, but par for the course for a white guy who wants to preserve his privilege. Maybe they will name a law school after you some day.

  13. Duh December 15, 2020 9:20 am

    Hannon won’t come up and state her core assumption: women are too dumb or helpless to succeed under the current test. That’s not an assumption that helps women in any way, and it does a particular disservice to the many women who have passed the bar as it is. Right now, if a woman has passed the bar, you know she’s met relatively-tough objective requirements. Hannon’s proposal would remove that piece of information, and members of the public would adjust their judgment accordingly.

  14. Katie December 15, 2020 9:38 am

    “The quickest pathway is only 24 credit hours in physics, which can all be earned at a community college. Others range from 30-40 credits in other scientific disciplines, which cover coursework that likewise can be earned at a community college.”

    No, sorry, these types of credits cannot be earned at a community college. At least not in NE Ohio. These credits require a higher level in your science degree that students don’t often see until their junior or senior year. Trust me, this is the route I took before I ended up finishing my degree at a University. I was in law school when I decided to finish my chemistry degree in order to become “patent bar eligible” as fast as I could. I took as many community college classes I could take that would satisfy this requirement, but sadly I still needed to attend a University with an actual Chem major to get these upper level classes. You can ALMOST do it. but even if you took Chem I & II with both labs and Organic Chem I & II with both labs at a community college, you are still required to take chemistry classes that would count for a traditional four year degree. TRUST ME I TRIED TO GET AROUND THIS. but you simply cannot get those classes unless you go to somewhere other than a community college.

  15. tm December 15, 2020 10:03 am

    I agree with many points made in this piece, but this article doesn’t address a special case that I think becoming more and more common: I have a PhD in physical sciences, with peer reviewed papers in high-impact journals. However, my undergraduate degree was in journalism. Not knowing I would one day want to qualify to sit for the patent bar, when I managed to qualify for my doctoral studies I did all of the remedial coursework independently. So, despite my qualifications and 10 years of research and teaching experience (I’ve also written a piece published on this blog), I am unable to sit for the patent bar, while an undergrad who toiled through a few semesters of organic chemistry qualifies.

    At this point, I’m 33 with kids- I’m not going to go take the 16 or so credits of classes in a field I’m already an expert in (anyone who says it should be easy since I’m already an expert to just go back and do those courses has forgotten what those courses are like).

    I personally know two others in the same situation, and if you do a quick search you’ll see it’s not an uncommon problem. Therefore, I believe that if any change needs to be made to diversifying the patent bar, it should be to let trained scientists with PhDs who have non-STEM undergraduate degrees qualify.

    I’m junior enough that I feel I need to comment anonymously, sorry.

    -tm

  16. TFCFM December 15, 2020 10:19 am

    Article: “It is simply not possible to be “qualified” without possessing the scientific and technical background and sophistication necessary to understand innovation.

    I agree generically with this sentiment.

    I note, however, that if we’re going to be rigidly faithful to it, we ought to permit patent practitioners to practice solely in technical fields to which their coursework directly (or very nearly) corresponds.

    In my experience, most practitioners have not-so-limited expertise in patent prosecution matters (most can practice in a variety of technical areas, despite the lack of coursework in all) and the very nature of innovation means that many inventions won’t be “covered” by coursework.

    It may be (or it might NOT be) that current alternatives to specifying programs of study adequately identify minimum (albeit not guaranteed-sufficient) requirements for patent practitioners. Considering alternatives need not and (as Gene suggests) ought not be limited merely to “getting rid of requirements”

  17. Xtian December 15, 2020 10:29 am

    @EK – we all make early life choices that affect our ability to pursue future desired career paths. And from your post, your past choices haven’t held you back. You appear to be very successful in your desired career.

    The paper, however, appears to advocate retroactively changing requirements/qualifications despite earlier choices (i.e. not getting a STEM degree), and only applying them to one gender, female. If we are going waive requirements because of past decisions (or opportunities), should we not waive the requirements to all those people (women, blacks, Hispanics, etc. and men) whose past decisions (or lack of opportunities) make them ineligible to sit for the patent bar? If so, then what about applying these waivers to future patent professionals – the current generation of women patent professionals? Why should they be required to have a STEM degree?

  18. AAA JJ December 15, 2020 10:30 am

    “Any practitioner admitted to the patent bar can practice in any technical area ethically – it’s a matter of knowing your own limits and they aren’t imposed from outside.”

    Exactly. I’ve handled cases in technologies that I had no schooling in throughout my career. The clients taught me what I needed to know. Being able to learn is what’s required. There’s no requirement for a degree in a particular area of study that provides that.

  19. Krista S. Jacobsen December 15, 2020 10:49 am

    Ah, yes. Person from underrepresented group writes paper identifying barriers to entry to a career path and proposing solutions that could lower the barriers even a little, and White Male (for whose opinion nobody asked) declares “poppycock.”

    Gene, did you read the paper? All of it? Contrary to your representations, Ms. Hannon did not suggest that all barriers to entry apply only to women, or that all of the proposed solutions would necessarily increase the proportion of women in the patent bar, which is what you seem to think is necessary for the paper to have any validity. Ms. Hannon noted, multiple times, that some of the proposed solutions would help everyone, but that they would also increase the number of women in the patent bar, which she considers to be a worthy goal in and of itself.

    And as for the measures that would likely help women more than men, she pointed out, and supported with citations, that women tend to be drawn to degrees that are not on the PTO’s “blessed” list in Category A. You do not seem to dispute that (or at least you provided no evidence to the contrary). She also explained that these degrees would appear to be objectively as good as, or even (gasp!) “better” than, some of the degrees the PTO accepts. You also do not seem to dispute that. Whether the conclusion to be drawn is that the list in Category A is outdated because it does not reflect what modern universities do in naming their degrees, or that it is arbitrary, it remains an (apparently) undisputed fact that the exclusion of these degrees excludes women (AND more women than men) from the patent bar.

    Your suggestion that people who cannot qualify under Category A should pursue Category B makes me LOL. Undoubtedly there are some folks who do it, and kudos to them, but how many working adults have the time to take on what would amount to a year or more (if done full-time) of coursework while continuing to attend to other responsibilities? And let’s not pretend that Category B is equally onerous for men and women when it remains the case that women continue to have primary responsibility for childcare in the U.S.

    Look, the PTO has established criteria for admission to the patent bar, which is appropriate. But it is disingenuous to pretend that these criteria are not somewhat arbitrary, or that they do not exclude from the patent bar many people, a large percentage of whom are women, who are otherwise qualified.

    And let’s talk about qualifications. My degrees are all in electrical engineering. Yet the PTO has no admission rule that prevents me from taking on a biochemistry application once I am a member of the patent bar. Ethics rules, yes. But do you see the problem? The rule that prevents me from doing this is a rule that applies after I am admitted, not before. It is disingenuous to suggest that the PTO’s admission requirements prevent people who lack the “correct” technical background from taking on applications for which they are unqualified.

    Also! What about patent attorneys who haven’t taken a technical course in decades and wouldn’t, for example, know a floating gate transistor from various of their own body parts? If the PTO were really concerned about only admitting those with a specified mix or quality of technical knowledge to the patent bar, surely it would have some kind of continuing technical education requirement for those already admitted but whose “base” of knowledge is outdated, right? Yet there is no such requirement.

    As we all know, good patent attorneys are people who are intellectually curious, willing to dig in to learn new technology, and able to explain technical concepts. Those characteristics are far more important than having a particular degree. And they are characteristics that many women have but are excluded from the patent bar for the reasons Ms. Hannon identified.

    Just because it’s snowing where you are does not mean global warming is not real.

  20. Barney Molldrem` December 15, 2020 10:55 am

    Being a registered practitioner, a physics major, and a lifelong possessor of a Y chromosome, I can’t pretend to offer an intelligent opinion about how a lady attorney with or without a BA or BS in a traditional science or engineering major would be any more or less qualified than a man with the same academic credentials.

    I will only offer that it is difficult for me to see how anybody can follow what our scientist and engineering clients are doing, without a basic background in what science is, what the demands of science are, and how the scientific method actually works. I would say a minimum requirement would include having studied some of the basic books about how science has developed and how discoveries are made, including DeKroof’s book Microbe Hunters, and James Watson’s book Double Helix, with all the twists and turns and dead ends he and Francis Crick faced before they discovered the basic layout of the DNA molecule. At least a couple credit hours of a course in History of Physics, History of Chemistry or History of Engineering could be a vital bit of background as well.

    Lowering the bar to entry into patent practice is only helpful to the extent that the registration requirement serves for rent seeking for some select segment of the population. For my part I have never, as a patent prosecution attorney, earned anything like the income that goes to those doing patent litigation (which does not require a technical degree), including the many female attorneys in that realm. I don’t see anything in the arguments propounded for change, that justifies eliminating or softening the technical degree requirement. If there should be special attorney/agent registration program for design patents only, that is another matter which we aren’t discussing here.

  21. Nancy Braman December 15, 2020 11:01 am

    @EK Your comments are directed at the patent bar requirements as a whole and have nothing to do with being a woman. It sounds like you’ve known of the requirements all these years and still chose not to fulfill them despite this knowledge. I am confused as to how you think you’re qualified when this is very clearly not the case. Many people know of the requirements and simply choose not to fulfill them, such as deciding not to obtain a qualifying technical degree or taking the required number of STEM credits. Others decide to take classes after college to qualify as a Category B applicant. A philosophy degree with only a programming course here or there makes you unqualified to sit for the patent bar by definition. It makes no difference if you’re a man or a woman – these are the requirements, and you chose not to fulfill them for 21 years. There’s nothing wrong with that, but don’t try to turn this into a gender issue when it isn’t.

  22. anony-ted December 15, 2020 11:02 am

    I have to agree with @Mike S here and others. I’m surprised to see such vitriol on this website about an issue that is, frankly, all too real and all too disappointing for the whole legal industry. And with too little quantifiable evidence to back up the assertions that the letter is “utter nonsense.”

    I also strongly agree with @Gerund. 61.8% of all patents filed in 2019 were “software-related.” Yet, most patent attorneys with STEM degrees have probably taken 2 or fewer programming courses in their entire educational career (and it shows in some of the claims I’ve read recently). Hence, the ethics argument falls on deaf ears for me. Having a STEM degree seems like a remarkably weak indicator of the problem-solving ability that it takes to learn about new technology and determine how to claim it as an invention.

  23. Gene Quinn December 15, 2020 11:16 am

    Katie @14…

    You are simply wrong. Classes at a community college do, in fact, qualify one to sit for the patent bar exam. It happens all the time. I know many dozens of practicing patent attorneys who have qualified with community college classes. That you didn’t choose the right path or the right classes doesn’t mean that community college classes will not suffice. The requirement is that classes qualify for a 4 year degree on the Category A list. It appears as if you picked an option that required a lab in sequential semesters and then didn’t take a lab in sequential semesters. That means you didn’t follow the requirements and were not qualified under that option. That is precisely why most who go the community college route take 24 credit hours of physics. It is the shortest path and there are no lab requirements.

  24. Gene Quinn December 15, 2020 11:21 am

    Michael @10…

    My article did not say anything about whether the profession is dominated by white men. Did you read the article?

    Is the answer to the fact that the profession is dominated by white men to allow philosophy majors to become patent practitioners, as suggested at comment #9? That is ridiculous. Clearly, a government agency that is responsible for making sure innovations are described properly so they can be issued protections cannot allow every philosophy major to become a patent practitioner. There has to be some standard that applies.

    Is 24 credit hours of physics at a community college sexist?

    As I explain in the article, if you care to read it, the problem is not an output problem, but rather an input problem. You and others who are complaining that the USPTO should essentially dumb down the scientific and technical requirements so more women can quality aren’t offering a solution that would make more women technically competent to qualify. Offer a solution that will address the problem.

  25. B Woke December 15, 2020 11:27 am

    Why not just do away with all state bars too? We can make up some buzzword like “law school insecurity” and attack anyone that disagrees as “privileged”.

    Meanwhile, after we all get the warm and fuzzies on how woke we are, the ill equipped people will not get real jobs and then we can just shame large companies and firms to hire them anyway.

    Wait…where have I seen this before????!

  26. Gene Quinn December 15, 2020 11:35 am

    Everyone…

    It seems this article has created a lot of animosity by some who haven’t actually read the article.

    The question here is not whether there are more men who are patent practitioners, but whether lowering the technical requirements is the solution. Once someone becomes a patent practitioner they can represent anyone for any matter. So, allowing a philosophy major to become a patent practitioner is really a very bad idea, and that should be self evident. That there is one or even a handful of philosophy majors who may be capable of understanding technology and science enough cannot be a rationale to lower the bar for everyone— male and female— or to come out with a specific “female only” discriminatory rule. Again, this should be self evident. This is particularly true when there is an easy path that qualifies anyone who is interested— 24 credit hours of physics from a community college. If you really want to be a patent practitioner you can be a patent practitioner, period. I know many dozens of individuals who have followed the 24 credit hours in physics option.

    Furthermore, as I explain, and as I’ve previously written about and we’ve had panels discussing, there is a serious problem with not having enough young girls pursuing STEM careers. I wrote about that again here, but no one seems interested in addressing that very real problem. Instead, everyone seems to want to lower criteria to reach some artificial quota rather than addressing the real problem and helping future generations of young girls. That strikes me as pathetic. So, before you look at me as the problem you need to look in the mirror. I’m trying to have a discussion about STEM and too often we see what we see in this article which is equality of outcome rather than equality of opportunity. We need equality of opportunity for young girls at pivotal times in their development to help them see STEM as an option. That is the overarching solution— the details are much harder which is why no one wants to talk about it.

  27. anonymous(1) December 15, 2020 11:35 am

    Perhaps the issue is Gene’s framing and apparent bias. Nowhere in Ms. Hannon’s article does she mention “lowering the bar” – that is solely Gene’s spin, and colors his analysis. That may be why Gene does not link to Ms. Hannon’s article.

    @Nancy Braman – congratulations on your success. Does expanding the number of degrees that could qualify for the patent bar take away from your accomplishments? I do not believe so.

    @John White – It seems that you are on the same page as Ms. Hannon. She proposes expanding the list of qualifying degrees as well. I would also recommend Gene take your advice to keep the insults off the keyboard, based on his other writing (e.g., it’s not hard to find evidence of Gene calling people an “idiot” or “idiotic” or telling a commenter to “crawl back under a rock”).

    @Gene Quinn (comment 6) – I don’t quite understand your vehement opposition to computer science degree holders practicing patent law. Is it that some sciences are better than others? If these computer science majors do not have the requisite knowledge, wouldn’t the market weed them out? For what it’s worth, I take personal interest – I have a bachelor’s in computer science (qualified under Category B), and neither clients nor supervisors have ever commented that I lack “the knowledge of computer technology.” And what about the other degrees she proposes to add to the list of “qualified” majors – is it your opinion that a person with a degree in robotics should not practice patent law?

    Also, just a question: has the line of argument “[T]he article is wrong. What I wrote is correct.” ever persuaded anybody? I don’t believe that’s ever worked before an examiner/PTAB judge/district court judge/Federal Circuit judge; curious to see if you’ve had success with it.

    @EK – I agree that it is a shame IPWatchdog is not open to the topic. It does a disservice to the community to try and close off to others a rewarding career.

    @Michael Edward McCabe, Jr. – To add to your thoughtful analysis, it is perhaps noteworthy that two of the passionate defenders of the status quo (John White and Gene Quinn) are white males, who do indeed dominate the profession.

    @Krista S. Jacobsen – agreed on all of your points.

    To quote Kuill, I have spoken.

  28. B December 15, 2020 11:51 am

    @ anonymous “If you feel so strongly about this claim, shouldn’t you have some evidence to back it up? Ms. Hannon’s paper appears to be well-researched with citations and examples; your opinion piece statement with no support does not persuasively confront it.”

    Have you ever taken the patent bar? If you had, you’d realize how insane the idea of bias in that exam is. The MPEP doesn’t care what color you are, and the USPTO’s requirements are sex-neutral.

    @ EK “However, in truth, I have found philosophy uniquely suited to patent work, the underlying proof of claims requirement is identical.”

    I have a minor in philosophy. I find that it’s quite useless except to debate philosophy majors about non-technical issues and mocking the Federal Circuit in public writings. My EE degree, on the other hand, served me well as both an engineer and a patent attorney.

    @ Michal Edward McCabe “Frankly, Gene, and will all due respect, Ms. Hannon raises serious and thoughtful issues. I found her article not to be “utter nonsense” at all. Every patent firm I have worked at has been utterly dominated by white men.”

    Could advocation be an issue of choices? Offshore oil drilling and computer coding tend to be “utterly dominated” by men. Nursing is “utterly dominated” by women, and I’ve never met a male dental hygienist in my life. Is the dearth of male dental hygienist really a problem?

    That said, I found Ms. Hannon’s writings to be typical of the postmodernist garbage that patriarchal institutional bias is the nefarious culprit of all wrongs. STEM degrees are likely the biggest issue resulting in a low female representation in the patent bar. However, the solution to this non-problem is to encourage more young women to earn STEM degrees, not lower the patent bar. I know many women patent attorneys who earned their number same as you and I did. Not one ever complained about the patriarchy.

  29. Krista S. Jacobsen December 15, 2020 12:02 pm

    Gene, you keep saying that Ms. Hannon proposed to “lower the technical requirements.” That is incorrect. She pointed out that various degrees that are excluded from Category A do not seem to be any less “technical” than degrees that are included. Expanding Category A to include these degrees, which happen to draw a lot of women, would not lower the technical requirements, which is what you seem to be saying.

    And you also seem to suggest that Ms. Hannon ignored the pipeline problem (which, by the way, has been a problem for the entire ~30 years of my career and has gotten, if anything, worse as time has passed). She did not. She acknowledged it and then stated that solving the pipeline problem (which nobody has been able to do so far) is outside the scope of the paper.

    Finally, I personally think it is worth considering whether there is anything that could be done on the back end, such as the solutions Ms. Hannon proposed, that might have an impact on what you characterize as the “input problem.” If young women in high school or early in their college careers see only male patent attorneys, why would they want to become patent attorneys? (Yes, yes, you’re all VERY attractive and definitely not misogynistic or harassing and of course are always ideal colleagues. Still, most of us women like to have at least a few other women around.) Perhaps having more women patent attorneys out there in the world would encourage more young women to pursue a career as a patent attorney, or STEM fields generally. (As they say, if you don’t see it, you don’t know you can be it.)

    I do not doubt that you have good intentions here, but your views are informed by your experience as a white male in a profession that is dominated by white men. It might be helpful to think about how your views might be different if, at every phase of your education and career, you were a member of a vastly underrepresented group. Think what it would have been like to have been the only white male in a class or a law firm of 30 women. Or to have been the only man attending a meeting of 50 people.

  30. B December 15, 2020 12:04 pm

    @ Mike S “Really disappointing, but par for the course for a white guy who wants to preserve his privilege.”

    Good point. Let us eliminate ALL requirements to take the patent bar, and eliminate the patent bar exam. Let’s also eliminate the state bar exams, the requirement of a law degree/training to be a “patent lawyer,” an undergraduate degree, and even do away with basic literacy.

    Only then will we abolish White privilege.

    /sarc

  31. B December 15, 2020 12:24 pm

    @ Krista S. Jacobsen “Ms. Hannon noted, multiple times, that some of the proposed solutions would help everyone, but that they would also increase the number of women in the patent bar, which she considers to be a worthy goal in and of itself.”

    Most respectfully, what Gene appears to contest (and I agree) is not that increasing the number of women in the patent bar is or is not “a worthy goal in and of itself,” but whether lowing the requirement to the bar is an appropriate the method of doing it.

    All that said, the rest of your statement above outlines a good reason to raise the patent bar, not lower it. You also make a great case for continuing legal/patent education to maintain a number.

    “But it is disingenuous to pretend that these criteria . . . do not exclude from the patent bar many people, a large percentage of whom are women, who are otherwise qualified.”

    What’s a “large percentage?” Be specific.

  32. MaxDrei December 15, 2020 1:05 pm

    I read the alarm, incredulity and amusement that my undergraduate degree in “Metallurgy and the Science of Materials” is not Category A for the USPTO. This because I know of no better degree as preparation for a career as a patent attorney in private practice. The A List is a silly anachronism, isn’t it?

    I read with incredulity and alarm what the written examination for qualification to practice before the USPTO entails. Here in Europe, the “Legal Paper” is one of four Papers one must pass. The other three are i) claim drafting ii) prosecution amendment skills and iii) the skills needed to oppose a granted patent. Although my degree in a hard physical science is from Oxbridge, I found the exams to qualify as a Chartered Patent Attorney the first ones in my life to examine whether one has enough talent to succeed in the profession, that is, to secure for one’s clients the full scope of protection to which they are entitled. Not every Oxford graduate is blessed with the talent that patent attorneys need, to serve their clients adequately. Drafting an optimal claim is the pinnacle of our skills. So why, in the USA, is this capability not tested before candidates are given a certificate and let loose on the public. Do brain surgeons qualify by sitting and passing a single Paper consisting of a hundred multiple choice questions? I hope not.

    We are privileged to serve in the world’s most exciting profession. The public is entitled to expect that our processes of examination and qualification are fit for purpose.

    Here in Europe, chemists don’t do engineering cases, and engineers don’t do chem/bio cases. Outside chem/bio, you can practise without a relevant PhD but in chem/bio, these days, no client is comfortable with anything less than a specialist PhD by way of academic preparation for this profession.

    There might not be many female law firm partners in Europe but I suspect that in Germany and the UK there are by now more female chem/bio patent attorneys than males. And in trademark law there are way more women than men. Discrimination, I doubt it. Biology and work/life balance choices? Sure.

  33. Michael Edward McCabe, Jr. December 15, 2020 1:10 pm

    Yes, I read Ms. Hannon’s article and I read yours. I stand by my comments.

    I’ve worked in some of the largest patent firms in the world. The gender bias is real. It exists. It is not going away.

    I was very surprised to learn computer science is not a pre-approved automatically qualifying science background. Why not? Because “software is not patentable” you say.

    I think thousands of applicants would disagree. My engineering degree from 35 years ago doesn’t help me in the least in understanding 2020 technology.

    Frankly I’d have expected your rant- and that is what it is a rant- on Parler. Not IP watchdog.

    But it sounds like you are doubling down on your opinion. I wish you good luck with that! Great way to grow your business and quite an advancement in the knowledge base of the bar.

    Lastly your “ethics” hook is laughable. Tech moves in many different directions. What was cutting edge 20 years ago is no longer. New techs evolve. The bar needs to be flexible in understanding the needs of applicants and who can best fulfill those needs.

    The disparity in numbers is real. They’ve not changed in my 30 years at the Bar. Still the same b.s. excuses I’m hearing from your article that I heard in 1990. Old news.

    I do hope people will read your article and discuss it. You’ve hit on an issue that people are afraid to talk about. Look at the commentators: people are even fearful of responding in their own names. Why do you suppose that is?

    If you don’t think this patent profession of mine is not filled with institutional bias, then we are obviously looking at different data.

    You are not a social scientist. Stick to what you know. You don’t know what you are talking about, clearly, when it comes to bias in the legal profession. And that is a real problem because you have a lot of readers and a platform that could be used to promote change rather than a platform to sell your CLEs.

    But don’t you ever claim that it is unethical to consider changes to the qualifications for patent bar membership. With respect, you’ve got no idea what you are talking about.

    To all female and other marginalized groups who are in represented in the Patent Bar, I urge you to read Ms. Hannon’s article. It is terrific, uplifting and timely.

  34. Michael E. McCabe, Jr. December 15, 2020 1:14 pm

    Did you really just equate women lawyers to Philosophy majors? The hole you keeping digging yourself in is getting deeper. Some people might even perceive your comments as “utterly” misogynistic “nonsense”.

  35. jeff Sheldon December 15, 2020 1:14 pm

    ood stuff. When I was president of the State Bar of California IP section I was asked why we did not have moare women. In that era most members were patent attornys.
    I

    I advised then State Bar there was no discrimination; analysis should be based on women in our section rather than women in the total bar. The lack of women going into science at the age of 18 was the main underlying problem.

    Not so much more an issue now with all the women in copright and trademark law.

  36. Michael McCabe December 15, 2020 1:19 pm

    P.S. it’s women, not “girls.” I have a daughter and I’ll be damned if I’m going to let you or anyone else refer to her as “girl”. It is 2020 Gene. Your back in the 70s. Time to reset your clock.

  37. B December 15, 2020 1:23 pm

    Michael Edward McCabe “I’ve worked in some of the largest patent firms in the world. The gender bias is real. It exists. It is not going away.”

    I’ve worked at a few large firms myself. I’m not impressed. Never once saw a single woman hindered by gender bias.

    “I was very surprised to learn computer science is not a pre-approved automatically qualifying science background. Why not? Because “software is not patentable” you say.”

    I’m pretty sure Gene said no such thing. Re-read

    “Did you really just equate women lawyers to Philosophy majors? . . . .”

    Reading comprehension isn’t your forte

  38. Anon December 15, 2020 1:29 pm

    People need to check their activist-privilege and realize that the anti-white, anti-male sentiments paint you as the transgressors to your own “identity politics” cancelation proceedings.

  39. B December 15, 2020 1:42 pm

    @ Anon “People need to check their activist-privilege and realize that the anti-white, anti-male sentiments paint you as the transgressors to your own “identity politics” cancelation proceedings.”

    clap . . . clap . . . clap . . . clap . . . clap . . . (golf clap)

    I am happy to stand behind anyone who can make a reasoned and objective showing of race or sex discrimination. I’m happy to help them fight that fight. However, to paint outcomes as the product of “the stark unconscious bias against women” (Hannon’s words) is outright stupid. Point to specific actions, not what is supposedly in people’s heads.

  40. Mitch G. December 15, 2020 1:52 pm

    I agree with some of the above comments that Philosophy or other degrees could provide the needed background to do patent drafting and prosecution work, and that depending on when those degrees were earned that it could have been a gender discrimination issue.

    But with how hard my college pushed to get women into STEM, and with the changes in broader culture, I also agree that the issue makes more sense as one of potential qualification changes broadly, and seems less like a specific gender issue now.

    Incidentally . . .

    Gene’s comments against Computer Science degrees made me realize that all my advisors had told me I was Patent Bar eligible, but I hadn’t looked myself yet. Turns out the accreditation site lists my degree under a separate entry for my school. Well that sent me on a half-hour panic attack looking into the 24 hours of credits I might suddenly need to fulfill before I sign up for the test next month.

  41. B December 15, 2020 2:22 pm

    Michael Edward McCabe: “You are not a social scientist. Stick to what you know. You don’t know what you are talking about, clearly, when it comes to bias in the legal profession.”

    Please, describe your expertise about “bias in the legal profession.” Where did you get your sociology degree? What scholarly papers have you wrote on gender bias in law firms?

  42. B December 15, 2020 2:35 pm

    Michael E. McCabe: “P.S. it’s women, not “girls.” I have a daughter and I’ll be damned if I’m going to let you or anyone else refer to her as “girl”.”

    Dude, I have two daughters – 18 and 15. They’re still girls. At 30 and 27 they’ll be “women,” but for now “girls” is acceptable if not totally appropriate.

    Nix the virtue signaling. It’s boorish.

  43. Brendan Dowling December 15, 2020 2:49 pm

    @Gene and others

    Respectfully, you’re wrong about computer science. Computer science is not about “code” [*], but about data structures, algorithms, and complex systems. In addition to courses that teach data structures and algorithms, a typical undergraduate computer science curriculum includes at least a year of physics; two years of mathematics including calculus, linear algebra, and differential equations; and at least one course in computer architecture, often taught by the electrical engineering department. Electives typically include computer networks, databases, operating systems, and machine learning. Such training in complex methods and systems is a suitable background for patent prosecution work in software-related or computer-related inventions, all of which are characterized as methods or machines, not “code”.

    Second, the USPTO does recognize computer science degrees as meeting the scientific and technical training requirement, so long as they meet the additional requirement: “Acceptable Computer Science degrees must be accredited by the Computer Science Accreditation Commission (CSAC) of the Computing Sciences Accreditation Board (CSAB), or by the Computing Accreditation Commission (CAC) of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET), on or before the date the degree was awarded.” USPTO OED General Requirements Bulletin October 2020 https://www.uspto.gov/sites/default/files/documents/OED_GRB.pdf

    [*] Edsger Dijkstra famously said, “Computer Science is no more about computers than astronomy is about telescopes.”

  44. Gene Quinn December 15, 2020 2:52 pm

    Michael @34…

    You ask whether I equated women with Philosophy majors, and the answer is yes because EK @ comment 9 said her degree in philosophy should not be an impediment to qualifying for the patent bar.

    So, please make your best argument that philosophy majors should qualify to become patent practitioners.

    And please identify which of the major law firms you’ve worked for would entertain hiring a patent practitioner with an undergraduate degree in philosophy?

  45. Krista S. Jacobsen December 15, 2020 2:56 pm

    @B said, “I’ve worked at a few large firms myself. I’m not impressed. Never once saw a single woman hindered by gender bias.”

    Well, I never once saw a man use a urinal at any of my workplaces, but I am pretty sure it happened.

    I am going to go out on a limb and assume from your comments that you are male. And I would guess that you, being male, were not exactly on the lookout for gender bias, nor were you present for all of the conversations or meetings where women were asked to reserve the meeting room, make sure there would be coffee, take notes, etc. (I have been asked to do all of these things, even though men with fewer qualifications could also have done them just as easily.)

    And although I cannot say for sure, because you’ve chosen to go by an initial here rather than your name, you probably weren’t there in 2010 or 2011 when the lead partner on the very large case at the white-shoe firm where I worked, upon finding out that one of the members of the client’s team flying in for the meeting was a woman with a reputation for being assertive, told me that my role at the meeting would be to “take her shopping” while everyone else discussed the case.

    With all respect that is due to you, you are not in a position to comment on whether women have experienced gender bias, whether at a law firm or elsewhere. That you did not personally participate in it or see it (or, more likely, recognize it) does not mean it did not happen or that it does not continue to happen in 2020. It did, and it does.

  46. Gene Quinn December 15, 2020 2:58 pm

    Michael @ 36…

    I’m sorry that you don’t like me referring to young girls as girls. That, however, is not my problem. Look in the mirror if you think it is inappropriate to call a female who is in grade school a girl, because that is when this problem raises its head and you and others seem to be uninterested in discussing the REAL issue.

    A word here or there by a teacher to a young girl (or if you prefer a young female) makes a great difference. Encouragement or discouragement. But you are more concerned about playing the role of language police and intentionally missing the point. Well done! And you and others wonder why no one wants to have a serious conversation about these issues.

  47. Pro Say December 15, 2020 3:01 pm

    While acknowledging that there are multiple issues afoot (as the varied preceding comments make clear); any notion that the patent bar requirements are inherently discriminatory — to any group / sex — is no different than Trump’s baseless, evidence-void assertion that the election was rigged / fraudulent.

    There is indeed no proof in the pudding.

    As an aside, the European requirements that Max noted seems like a logical, reasonable, worthwhile addition to the U.S. bar exam:

    “The other three are i) claim drafting ii) prosecution amendment skills and iii) the skills needed to oppose a granted patent. [To determine] whether one has enough talent to succeed in the profession, that is, to secure for one’s clients the full scope of protection to which they are entitled.”

  48. Gene Quinn December 15, 2020 3:11 pm

    To those who think Hannon’s suggestions make sense…

    How many have advised new entrants to the profession who only have a B.S. in biology, or only a B.S. in chemistry, or for the few with pharmacy degrees who do otherwise qualify under category B? Those with these degrees, whether male or female struggle to get prosecution jobs, and that is just a fact. Hannon suggests nursing majors should be allowed to qualify, but if someone with a hard science B.S. struggles or a pharmacy degrees struggles, how easy would it be for someone with a nursing degree to actually find a job? How about those with math degrees, most of whom in my experience don’t believe any software should be patented because software is just math?

    Hannon also suggests that psychology majors be allowed to qualify for the patent bar. How many of you are at firms that would hire someone with a psychology degree, or nursing degree? If you are at a large firm in the life science sector you know your firm prefers (and may only hire) those with a PhD.

    Allowing for those with non-technical degrees is, in my opinion, a disservice to the industry and very dangerous for inventors. At a time when more and more is expected in terms of technical disclosure those who have weak technical backgrounds are not qualified. We all talk about the poor drafting of applications as it is, would application writing improve with a lowering of the bar and allowing philosophy majors, psychology majors, nurses and others into the patent bar?

  49. Katie December 15, 2020 3:11 pm

    @ Gene Quinn,

    Thank you for your response, but I don’t believe you understood what I said. For category B, it says “24 hrs physics (only physics courses for physics majors will be admitted)”

    you said “classes at community college do, in fact, qualify one to sit for the patent bar exam.” I never said that community college classes don’t qualify. You’re right they do, because this is the route I chose. However, you simply cannot take a cc class that doesn’t apply to that major (see above for quote from patent bar eligibility requirements). For example, if the college community class equates to “chemistry for everyone”, this is not a class that would count towards your patent bar eligibility since it only counts as a gen ed and not a chemistry class “for chemistry majors” (see patent bar eligibility reg. option B).

    Also, I know you misunderstood me when you said “It appears as if you picked an option that required a lab in sequential semesters and then didn’t take a lab in sequential semesters.”

    Sequential means “chem ONE then chem TWO”. you actually don’t need to take these in that order in order to qualify. I don’t understand how you can just tell me I’m simply wrong when I literally called the office and spoke to someone who walked me through this. I asked if I could take any physics classes and they said “no it can only be physics classes that would count towards a physics degree.” Furthermore, I clarified my statement saying “at least not in NE Ohio.” There aren’t any cc physics degree at Tri-C, Lakeland, Stark County. Again, you can’t take astronomy and that count towards your 24 physics courses to be patent bar eligible. I actually spoke with someone at the office, so to say I am simply wrong, is actually wrong.

  50. Gene Quinn December 15, 2020 3:23 pm

    Katie @48…

    Any physics course that will qualify toward a degree on the Category A list will count toward the credits required for the 24 credit hours in physics requirement.

    What you said earlier was and remains wrong. You said: “No, sorry, these types of credits cannot be earned at a community college.”

    That is flat wrong. Community colleges do offer classes that count toward degrees on the Category A list. In fact, in many respects that is precisely the purpose of a Community College. Go to the CC for 2 years and then enter a 4 year school with only 2 years remaining.

    Many patent attorneys have taken courses at community colleges and have been allowed to take the exam and enter the profession. You are not interpreting what OED told you properly. I’m shocked that OED even told you anything. They rarely answer any questions.

  51. Katie December 15, 2020 3:34 pm

    @ Gene Quinn,

    Again, you are misrepresenting what I said. You are correct that I said “No, sorry, these types of credits cannot be earned at a community college.” but I followed up twice now with proper context of that statement. I was one of those people. I did as many Community College courses that I could in NE Ohio, but they didn’t offer enough to become patent bar eligible, thus forcing me to go to a 4 year institution. I already know that Community College classes do offer classes that count toward degrees in Category A. HOWEVER, the problem is they don’t offer 24 credit hours for physics and no where near the 30 hours for chemistry.

  52. Curious December 15, 2020 3:41 pm

    Before I commented on this article, I decided to read Ms. Hannon’s paper.

    Section II of her article is entitled “IDENTIFYING OBSTACLES FOR FEMALE APPLICANTS TO THE PATENT BAR.” It would have been more accurately entitled, “IDENTIFYING OBSTACLES FOR APPLICANTS WITH DEGREES THAT DON’T EXACTLY MATCH THE USPTO’S REQUIREMENTS.”

    She writes “The requirements heavily favor degrees and coursework in hard sciences, such as chemistry, physics, and engineering, which are the sciences in which women are statistically less likely to participate.” So the important question is this: Are these requirements because (i) the USPTO thinks that having a degree in the “hard sciences” is important or (ii) because the USPTO thinks this is a way to exclude more woman? If the answer is (i), then the requirements are valid. If the answer is (ii), then the requirements are not valid. This is the most important question to be answered, and it is one that Ms. Hannon’s paper does a poor job of addressing.

    She writes “While submission of such evidence for many women may never actually threaten their eligibility, and may merely be a cumbersome exercise in data gathering, there remain many instances in which submission of this additional evidence may be insufficient and preclude eligibility.” I do not see how this is relevant. Both men and woman alike who fall under Category B have the same requirement for an additional submission.

    She also writes: “The USPTO additionally and explicitly excludes certain STEM-adjacent degrees, such as “Biological Sciences,” from Category A eligibility. Applicants with such a degree must satisfy the requirements of either Category B or Category C. The rationale behind excluding a degree in “Biological Sciences,” yet recognizing a degree in “Biology” is unclear, particularly in view of many undergraduate degree programs tending to equate the two degrees.” The reasoning is that a degree in biology is really close to the edge in terms of usability at the USPTO, and in the past (as I have seen) some programs using similar phrasing to convey, for example, an expression of “biology-lite.” For example, I’ve seen undergraduate degrees described as an “Engineering Technology” degree. Again, from experience, this degree seems more relevant to someone who wants to be a technician as opposed to being a full-fledged engineer.

    This point aside, the author cherry picks several examples where certain college programs have (seemingly) more rigorous requirements for Category B worthy degrees than other college programs have for Category A worthy degrees. Assuming all of this to be true, my point is this: (i) anyone who has a Category B degree and meets the requirements are still capable of sitting for the Patent Bar, and (ii) what is the relevance of any of this to the underrepresentation of women in the patent law?

    Her proposed “Solution One” is “Expanding Category A Eligibility.” She specifically writes: “Relaxing the stringent requirements of Category A to embrace more STEM-adjacent degrees – both those within traditional STEM programs (e.g., mathematics, biological sciences, psychology, biomechanical engineers, robotics, etc.) and those that are tangential to STEM (e.g., nursing, pharmacy, etc.) – will not only diversify patent bar membership in terms of gender, but will also diversify the expertise of the patent bar, which will ultimately result in improved services to inventors.” This is where Ms. Hannon’s train really goes off the tracks. I’ve got no problem with biomechanical engineers or someone who has a degree in robotics (does that really exist?). However, I cannot see how someone with a degree in psychology, nursing, or even pharmacy is going to be of use to an inventor who wants to get a patent. Using one definition, psychology is the scientific study of the mind and behavior. What practical relevance would that training be to an inventor? It is ludicrous. Her mentioning of “mathematics” leaves me to believe that perhaps Ms. Hannon has a poor understanding of the current state of the law regarding 35 USC 101.

    Her proposed “Solution Two” is “remove the additional hurdles required of applicants having computer science degrees from unaccredited institutions, and to remove arbitrary requirements (e.g., sequence/timing of courses, grade requirements, etc.) for scientific coursework.” In other words, let’s just make it less rigorous. While we are at it, let’s make the patent bar exam easier and reduce the score necessarily to pass a bar exam. Seriously, this is what her article is mostly about – just making it easier for EVERYBODY – not just woman.

    Her proposed “Solution Three” is introducing an apprentice model. It already exists. It is called get a job as a patent examiner and then become a patent agent afterwards. From my experience, the USPTO corp of examiners is likely far more diversified than engineering as a whole. I could write a lot as to why her particular suggestions regarding apprenticeship is a waste of time, but I don’t have the time to waste.

    She writes: “None of the proposed modifications would significantly affect patent quality.” That is utter BS. If some nursing major-cum-patent agent hangs a shingle and tries to write a patent application for a garage inventor that walks through the door on his improvement to a lawn mower, the results is very likely to be an utter disaster. I would expect that even the most junior, qualified, patent agent to be able to handle such a (likely) very simple technology. I have no expectations that someone with a nursing, psychology, or pharmacy degree would be able to so competently.

    Her article could be summarized as such: “we need to make the requirements for the patent bar easier because that means [x] class of individuals are more likely to become patent agents.” In this instance, the [x] class is woman, but the article could have easier been rewritten to substitute in any underrepresented class for [x]. The percentage of woman in patent law is a direct reflection of the woman in engineering (or the hard sciences) – it has nothing to do with the USPTO or its requirements. It is as simple as that.

    I have little doubt that if the USPTO didn’t ask for an applicant’s gender/sex and anonymized the first and last names to those making the judgements as to qualification, that the percentage of woman become patent agents/attorneys would not change one bit. In my 20+ years practicing before the USPTO, I have never experienced (or been aware of) even a single sexist act by the USPTO regarding the female inventors I have represented or the female patent attorneys I have worked with. I have long criticized the USPTO for many things, but never for being sexist in anything that I’m aware of.

    I was raised by a woman who was an unabashed feminist and achieved considerable success in her chosen field. I have no tolerance for sexist attitudes. However, I have no tolerance for those that misuse real grievances.

  53. Gene Quinn December 15, 2020 3:54 pm

    Katie @50…

    You obviously will believe what you want to believe. It is just important for others to know that what you are saying is not correct. I know MANY dozens of people who have successfully taken 24 credit hours of physics at a community college and qualified to take the patent bar exam and are now patent attorneys. So, your blanket and absolute statements are what are wrong and continue to be wrong.

    There are indeed Community Colleges where 24 credit hours of physics can be taken.

  54. Barney Molldrem` December 15, 2020 4:03 pm

    I am amused how much of a snowball fight this discussion has turned into (I suppose Gene is an easy target), but a lot of it has been neither instructive nor helpful. Maybe i can interject something.
    Besides my physics major courses plus math, chem and bio, I also took a course or two in the Philosophy department, plus an English course in non-fiction writing, without either of these I would not have been at all succesful in writing up appications and amendments.

    The Philosophy courses, Logic and Philosophy in Literature (we focused on Brothers Karamazov and Moby Dick [in particular the chapter “Whiteness of the Whale”), were really about how thought is constructed, and this helped me learn to think, which is a useful talent every once in a while. So I learned how to analyze a subject and understand it enough that it started to make sense. The writing course of course was to take a subject, put the facts down on paper, and write and rewrite until it expressed what it was I needed to say. How can any patent attorney not find those skills useful. Ethics is also a topic in the Philosophy department, and a sine qua non for law practice.

    There is more that you need for this job than just the STEM things, so those are a threshold; but there maybe should be some other subjects also on the list. Regardless of the person’s gender.

  55. _redac_ted_ December 15, 2020 4:33 pm

    Article: “I’ll point out simply that what gets patented — if anything — is the invention represented in the architecture and system design. Time and time again, I’m confronted with the reality that many with computer science degrees do not even make basic flowcharts or create schematics before they start writing code.”

    (1) Please go to Google Patents and search: “first notification” if you believe that is a truthful statement. Software interactivity alone is ABSOLUTELY patentable and patented every gosh darn day. DDR is literally in the MPEP.

    (2) Talk to a software engineer at ANY major tech company and ask them if they make a frickin’ flowchart or other visual diagram every time they discover a bug in production code. That whole section of this article sounds out of touch with what’s happening in the field. ABET “accreditation” is frankly a topic reserved for egotistical dinner conversations, not software engineer talent evaluations in 2020.

  56. B December 15, 2020 6:25 pm

    @ Krista S. Jacobsen “Well, I never once saw a man use a urinal at any of my workplaces, but I am pretty sure it happened.”

    Wow, how many logical fallacies can I count there!

    “I am going to go out on a limb and assume from your comments that you are male.:

    Assuming my gender? How gauche! I’m offended. You’re a bad and insensitive person as is evidenced by my outrage.

    “And I would guess that you, being male, were not exactly on the lookout for gender bias, . . .”

    No, I’ve seen gender bias. Just not against women. In fact, they tended to get a lot of preference.

    “nor were you present for all of the conversations or meetings where women were asked to reserve the meeting room, make sure there would be coffee, take notes, etc. . . . ”

    I’ve done 100% of all those things. Even made the coffee, bought the brie, and made sure 10 different types of ice cream was in the freezer. Hell, for one event I smoked a pork shoulder: 14 hours, all hickory.

    Another time I was counseling overseas clients on the best cowboy hat to buy. Stetson, Justin, Resistol, or other? How much beaver should be in the felt? is a 4.5″ brim too much (ans: no)? etc.

    Is that shopping?

    Client relations is a lot of bending over and smiling.

    “. . . one of the members of the client’s team flying in for the meeting was a woman with a reputation for being assertive, told me that my role at the meeting would be to “take her shopping” while everyone else discussed the case.”

    Can’t comment about what I haven’t seen, but they obviously trusted you to keep “the problem” occupied. One might even say that this nefarious white shoe firm was bending over to accommodate women. Me, I’d have told the partner to hand over the firm credit card and not to flinch at the Neiman Marcus bill.

    I’ve taken clients hiking in the Shenandoah, horseback riding, to a host of wineries and distilleries, and a lot more. No better way for clients to remember you so long as you still provide great legal services.

    Just FYI, I peeked at your CV an see you’re telecom and have a SEP background, which automatically endears you to me.

  57. B December 15, 2020 6:28 pm

    @ Curious “Ms. Hannon has a poor understanding of the current state of the law regarding 35 USC 101.”

    She could be a CAFC judge

  58. Gene Quinn December 15, 2020 6:50 pm

    _redac_ted_ @55

    (1) The software code is not patented. God help you if you haven’t learned that yet.

    (2) You take what I write about the definitive need for flowcharts and so hollow it out to something absurd. Why do you do that? Need to make yourself feel big and important? In any event, fixing a bug is one thing, which can often be done with a few key strokes. Writing code from scratch is another. Perhaps you will understand that the first time someone comes to you and you ask for any documentation they have and they say it is well documented in the millions of lines of code they’ve written. Brilliant, and you want to pay a patent attorney to read through millions of lines of code? No thanks, even if you had the money to pay me (which you don’t) I wouldn’t.

  59. Peter Corcoran December 15, 2020 6:51 pm

    Leave it to Mazie Hirono, Thom Tillis, and Chris Coons to make minimum scientific requirements a sexist political football. The three of them together couldn’t decipher a basic chemical formula more complex than H2O.

  60. B December 15, 2020 7:02 pm

    @ Gene “In fact, in many respects that is precisely the purpose of a Community College. Go to the CC for 2 years and then enter a 4 year school with only 2 years remaining.”

    European friends of mine have told me that the community college system in the U.S. is genius. A pulse, late nights, and a few thousand dollars can get your start to bigger and better. It is an engine of economic mobility that Europe should adopt.

  61. Gene Quinn December 15, 2020 7:05 pm

    Brendan @43…

    If what you say is correct, I’ll stand corrected about computer science curriculum today.

    What I will point out is that the Office works on a rather binary system. They don’t want to have to investigate what is acceptable to be on the category A list. So if there is divergence between and among universities and colleges as to what a “computer science” degree is then it wouldn’t be something they’d have on Category A. Aside from the math courses (which don’t count for anyone as I understand it) what you describe sounds rather more technical than computer science programs in the past.

  62. Gene Quinn December 15, 2020 7:15 pm

    B @60…

    I agree. In Virginia there is also a special “deal” for students. If you go to a Community College in Virginia and you are able to maintain a B average and never get lower than a B in any subject (2 separate requirements) then you are guaranteed admission to a Virginia state 4 year school. So, you save 2 years tuition and room and board getting credits and if you do well you can get into a very good or even great school at in state VA tuition. It is a great model that enables upward mobility. I’m a BIG fan!

  63. Easwaran December 15, 2020 9:25 pm

    Gene @7: you missed the point of my quote @3, which was to illustrate that facially equal rules are not necessarily equal in reality, and instead they can have disparate impacts on different segments of society. When disparate impacts appear, there is a moral obligation for the administrators of the rules to examine and understand whether the rules are justified as-is or should be changed. It may be, as suggested in the article in question here, that the rules can be changed and remain facially equal, while also being more equitable.

    But let me try making the point with an analogy. Imagine that the baseball Hall of Fame inducts pitchers and most fielders but has a long-standing policy (which today exists for unknown reasons lost to history) that catchers do not qualify for enshrinement by default, but rather are only allowed to be considered if they play 20 MLB games at another position to prove that they are capable of playing one of the “real” positions; after all, if you’re just catching balls, you don’t really understand “baseball,” and thus cannot be a Hall of Famer.

    If a group that is underrepresented in the Hall is also much more likely than average to play catcher, someone might argue that the rules appear to be skewing the makeup of the Hall of Fame. That person might then suggest that one way to fix things would be to open up eligibility to catchers qua catchers (thus allowing consideration of many fantastic catchers in the underrepresented group).

    There are a few ways we can expect Hall voters to respond.

    A first Hall of Fame voter might contend that is inappropriate to “lower the bar” to enshrinement for members of the underrepresented group just because they lack the wherewithal to be a real fielder. This voter may strenuously assert that doing so would be “a mistake of epic proportions.” He might even argue “it’s not just a mistake; it is unethical!” and “why can’t those guys just play first base for a few games anyway?”

    A second Hall of Fame voter might argue that perhaps being a great catcher is not so trivial a thing, and maybe the Hall voters should reconsider their “no-catchers” rule.

    Doesn’t that first guy sound silly?

  64. Brendan Dowling December 15, 2020 10:16 pm

    Gene @61

    What I described is (or was) typical for computer science programs at engineering schools that are a part of large universities. There may indeed be significant differences compared to computer science programs at other schools, which is probably why the OED requires that computer science programs be accredited.

  65. Curious December 15, 2020 10:51 pm

    There is more that you need for this job than just the STEM things, so those are a threshold; but there maybe should be some other subjects also on the list.
    I agree that there are certainly non-STEM things that are extremely useful to being a good patent attorney (or patent agent). However, I liken it to a prospective basketball player who has a feathery jump shot from 25ft out. That jump shot could be worth millions in the NBA, but does no good if shooter is slow and 5’5″. I don’t care how good the jump shot, short and slow don’t make it to the NBA.

    Being a competent patent practitioner requires one to be adept at both learning and understanding technology that you’ve never seen before. It is hard to do and why many patent attorneys just don’t cut it. A partner at my old firm told me that 50% of their new patent attorneys are gone in a year — they just cannot handle it.

    There needs to be a line drawn somewhere as to who is eligible to sit for the patent bar and who isn’t. No matter where that line is drawn, it is going to permit some incapable people to sit for the patent bar and it is going to deny some capable people from sitting for the patent bar. In my opinion, that line should be drawn such that the vast majority of those being eligible to take the patent bar should be able to handle a substantial majority of the different technologies a particular person might encounter in their career.

    By lowering the criteria to take the patent bar, you are going to get instances where you have a lot of people being eligible to take the bar who aren’t capable of handling a substantial portion of the work that might come their way. The purpose of the qualifications for the patent bar isn’t to exclude the unqualified — the purpose of these qualifications is to ensure that an inventor who seeks to employ someone with the title of “patent agent” or “patent attorney” (along with the accompanying registration) provided by the USPTO can rely upon those qualifications to have a reasonable expectation that they will get quality representation.

    It is really, really difficult to make a living in this profession if you have a very small area of competence. In that situation, a practitioner (looking to make a living) is going to stretch himself or herself beyond their capability and inventor is going to pay for that incompetence. Personally, there are certain technologies I won’t touch (e.g., most chemistry, all biotech, and hardcore electrical engineering). However, I can do just about everything else and that is a BIG list. By reducing the standard to take the patent bar, you’ll have more and more people who won’t be qualified to handle a lot of the different technologies and these same people (if they cannot find enough work in the niche technology they may happen to understand) are going to be forced to overextend themselves into practices areas they shouldn’t be in, and the result of that poor representation is going to harm both inventors and the reputation of the profession as a whole.

  66. Anon December 15, 2020 11:12 pm

    What an awful article. Gene Quinn writes a bunch of sexist nonsense in an obvious effort to continue to be able to extort people into paying ridiculous prices for his unnecessary patent bar exam course.

    Anyone who has practiced in the field knows the patent bar requirements are not correlated to what is necessary to practice in the field (particularly for those that wish to litigate rather than prosecute patents).

    Mr. Quinn, it’s great that you have managed to profit heavily from the current status of the patent bar exam and I applaud your ingenuity. But to continue to support a system that holds people back, rather than allowing for advancement is shameful. To call for measures that impede rather than promote diversity is shameful. The fact that Senator Tillis supports this should be sign enough that this will not hurt innovation or the practice of patent law.

    Mr. Quinn should think more about how to make the field of IP law a better more inclusive place, rather than transparently attempt to profit more than he already has off the broken status quo.

  67. Anon December 16, 2020 7:54 am

    It should be apparent — but worth noting — that the “Anon” at 67 is not the usual poster “Anon.”

    It is wrong on so many levels and it is clear that the writer is not a practitioner. Perhaps a bitter patent bar under-achiever who paid for a course and still did not pass, coupled with a penchant for misunderstanding why diversity might be valuable in its own right (hint: diversity just for diversity is nothing more than the ISMs being sought to be combatted — that’s only Activist Privilege in play).

  68. donewithit December 16, 2020 8:56 am

    Gene, I pointed you to a simple google search to show that one query can yield over 45,000 patent applications related to software interactivity, not architecture. I was critiquing your comment about Computer Science not being a relevant degree for the patent bar. Your response was:

    “(1) The software code is not patented. God help you if you haven’t learned that yet.”

    So how exactly did you read my initial comment as saying that software code is patentable? Your comment was unresponsive and nothing more than pejorative and demeaning. I’m all for controversial discussions about patent-related topics, but this is just a bunch of mudslinging.

  69. AAA JJ December 16, 2020 8:56 am

    If this post and ensuing conversation reveals anything it is the fierce determination of some to maintain the status quo.

  70. Katie December 16, 2020 9:36 am

    Genn Quinn @53

    With all due respect, you are obviously not reading what I actually wrote. I limited my “blanket statement”, as you said, to “NE Ohio” (please, for the love of God, just look above to what I said). So no, my statements have never been absolute or blanket. I am happy you know so many people who have gone to just community colleges and completed the required 24 credits.
    I think others who are reading this know what you and myself are trying to say. We are arguing different things at this point. You can say I’m wrong all you want with my absolute statements, but again, it was never absolute. (please see above for specific references to colleges where you can’t get those 24 cr hours). Have a wonderful rest of your day. I enjoyed the discourse.

  71. Xtian December 16, 2020 10:02 am

    @Easwaran 64 – did the player know that catchers aren’t eligible for the hall of fame when he (assuming male baseball league) decided to train to become a catcher? If the player’s desire was to get into the hall of fame, wouldn’t you think that he would have chosen a position that is eligible for that hall of fame? So to answer your last question – No, the first guy doesn’t sound silly.

    Not sure where I heard this quote from, but is seems apropos: As with marathon runs and lengths of toilet paper, there has to be standards to measure up to.

  72. Anon December 16, 2020 11:15 am

    If that is your take away, AAA JJ, then you are part of the Activist Privilege problem.

  73. B December 16, 2020 11:55 am

    @ AAA JJ “If this post and ensuing conversation reveals anything it is the fierce determination of some to maintain the status quo.”

    Or its a fierce determination to maintain sex and race neutral standards while not lowering the bar because someone arbitrarily declared there was “unconscious bias” at work.

    There is a reason why “unconscious bias” has never successfully been used in a court of law to prove discrimination.

  74. AAA JJ December 16, 2020 1:01 pm

    “There is a reason why ‘unconscious bias’ has never successfully been used in a court of law to prove discrimination.”

    That’s nice. I wasn’t aware Ms. Hannon had filed a lawsuit.

  75. ipguy December 16, 2020 3:59 pm

    These comments prove the old maxim:
    “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.”
    -Daniel Patrick Moynihan

  76. Anon December 17, 2020 1:30 am

    As a woman I assert that lowering the PTO standards to accommodate more women is simply insulting to women. How ironic that those who (righty) insist that women are at least equal to men in intelligence and capability also argue that women, poor little dears, need all kinds of extra help.
    A woman doesn’t have to be raised by engineers and grow up enamored with mathematics to become a patent practitioner. She just needs to be interested and pay attention as information becomes available. I personally did not take even a single high school science class and hardly knew there was such a creature as a patent attorney until well into college. Yet here I am now, a happy and productive patent attorney and an inventor with issued patents.
    The point being that people, women and men, follow their interests. Women who like science and technology will find it. Making STEM subjects available surely helps. But no amount of STEM force feeding will make scientists, technologists, or patent practitioners of women who are simply not interested.
    Progressive like to pretend that there “should” be an equal number of women and men in any given field. But the real issue is that women and men should have an equal chance to succeed in a given field on the basis of their interest and talent.
    So let’s work on front end equal opportunity and protect the integrity and effectiveness of the patent process by keep the qualifying standards high.

  77. B December 18, 2020 12:41 am

    @ AAA JJJ “That’s nice. I wasn’t aware Ms. Hannon had filed a lawsuit.”

    Pretty sure no one said that, skippy

  78. AAA JJ December 18, 2020 7:13 am

    So what was your point, skippy?

  79. Anon December 18, 2020 10:26 am

    The statement

    There is a reason why “unconscious bias” has never successfully been used in a court of law to prove discrimination.

    may easily be seen to make the point that the entire notion of “unconscious bias” is hooha.

    That you, AAA JJ, as an attorney pretend to be blithely unaware of the point in the context of the comment involving legal matters only shows you to be purposefully obtuse.

    Not surprising though, given your prior comments on a PC related matter.

    You really do need to check yourself and that Activist Privilege thing that you have going on.

  80. AAA JJ December 18, 2020 12:31 pm

    “The statement…may easily be seen to make the point that the entire notion of ‘unconscious bias’ is hooha.”

    That was his point? He didn’t make it very well. That’s probably why B lost that case he ranted on and on about. If his “point” was “the entire notion of unconscious bias is ‘hooha'” then he should have just said that.

    So the “entire notion” of unconscious bias is “hooha”?

    Unconscious bias is real. Every person has biases that impact their opinions and decisions that they don’t realize affect their thinking. That you would claim it doesn’t exist, or that somehow you don’t have any unconscious biases, demonstrates rather well that it is you who is deliberately obtuse.

  81. Anon December 18, 2020 6:28 pm

    It’s an oxymoronic ploy of identify politics with its base in neo-liberalism.

    Is is hooha.

    One should be careful to recognize unconscious influence and bias — especially of the sort of bias that is the subject of political correctness (and especially if you want to NOT invoke such things as ‘thought police’).

  82. Anon December 19, 2020 11:21 am

    egads – writing on a cellphone has its limitations..

    “Is is hooha.” => “It is hooha.”

    “One should be careful to recognize unconscious influence and bias”

    =>

    “One should be careful to recognize the difference between unconscious influence and bias”

    I would also add that the PC notion here is that even under conditions of someone’s purposeful and contemplative critical thinking, those afflicted with Activist Privilege seek to discount the viewpoints of others that do not align with their desired ends. ALL of this is covered under the writings attacking Neo-Liberalism (and why the ploy of identity politics is a losing game).

  83. B December 19, 2020 3:48 pm

    @AAA JJ “ So what was your point, skippy?”

    If you didn’t catch the point the first time, repetition won’t help, and your red herrings are just that

  84. B December 19, 2020 4:05 pm

    @Anon “ may easily be seen to make the point that the entire notion of “unconscious bias” is hooha.”

    AAAJJ knows what I meant. However, lacking any real response, AAAJJ prefers to deliberately distort in a vapid manner, then claim victory.

    Sound like someone we know, MMmmmmm?

  85. B December 19, 2020 4:11 pm

    @AAA JJ “ Unconscious bias is real.”

    If so, post a single court case where someone has claimed unconscious evidence bias and won in that theory.

    If you can’t, maybe it’s a total bs theory championed by knuckleheads who need a scapegoat for their life’s failures.

  86. AAA JJ December 19, 2020 9:11 pm

    So unconscious bias only exists if somebody has won a court case?

    No wonder you got your arse handed to you in court after whining on this site for months.

  87. Anon December 20, 2020 9:51 am

    AAA JJ,

    You continue to ploy “unconscious bias” without regard to the difference between what bias actually means and the dangers of engaging in identity politics.

    What B has or does not have handed to him in a court has nothing to do with the point at hand.

    You trying to make this personal (to B) is the epitome of ad hominem.

    Please stop embarrassing yourself.

  88. B December 20, 2020 6:42 pm

    @ AAAJJ “So unconscious bias only exists if somebody has won a court case?”

    Absolutely. Knuckleheads have been promoting this idiotic theory for decades. Anyone in the “social sciences” (an oxymoronic term) can write a paper claiming its existence, and a hoard of PC peers will sign on.

    However, if there were reliable scientific backing, then someone somewhere in the last fifty years would have successfully sued on the theory using the testimony of some forensic expert with accompanying evidence.

    Until that happens, “unconscious bias” is flimsy junk science.

    “No wonder you got your arse handed to you in court after whining on this site for months.”

    If that’s your best shot, then you’ve lost the argument.

    @ Anon “You trying to make this personal (to B) is the epitome of ad hominem.”

    Unfortunately, AAA JJ chose not to converse on the merits. Sad, but sometimes it’s easier to play the termagant.

    All that in mind, you, I, and everyone else knows there are 3 winners on the 101 lottery and about 300,000 losers, and CAFC often acts corruptly on 101. For instance, after reading the Chamberlain record and talking to Chamberlain’s counsel, I came to the conclusion that the Chamberlain counsel were absolutely brilliant and acted flawlessly. Unfortunately, there is little one can do when three CAFC judges lie about the factual record and their own caselaw, and the rest of the CAFC is to cowardly to call out their fellow judges on rehearing.

    That said, I’m not done with Villena yet. I’ll have two more filings in the next few months.

    Win or lose, I intend on making a big noise.

  89. Anon December 20, 2020 8:37 pm

    Unfortunately, AAA JJ chose not to converse on the merits.

    Not the first time that I have seen this.

    Sadly, every time he wanders outside of patent law (and dips into the Liberal Left agenda items), he ends up in the same place.

    He does not appear to even recognize his own limitations, and thus, I can pretty much guarantee that he will NOT engage on any merits here.

  90. Anon December 20, 2020 9:28 pm

    … a certain article

    https://law.unh.edu/sites/default/files/media/2020/12/2-the_inventive_concept_test_for_patent_eligibility_contravenes_congressional_intent.pdf

    pays a certain level of respect to a certain “B”

  91. B December 20, 2020 10:28 pm

    @Anon “ pays a certain level of respect to a certain “B””

    Thank you so much, Anon.

    Seriously.

  92. AAA JJ December 21, 2020 8:08 am

    “Anyone in the ‘social sciences’ (an oxymoronic term)…”

    What an ignorant statement.

  93. Anon December 21, 2020 10:34 am

    AAA JJ,

    You have zero room to talk.

  94. B December 21, 2020 11:57 am

    @ Anon — Based on the quotes Halaby used, I’m the Randy Savage of patent law. Note: a lot of other patent attorneys have contacted me on my trash talk of the courts.

    @ AAA JJ — Give it up, skippy. I’m far from alone on this thought. FWIW, I’ve turned down writing three perpetual motion machine patents from people with psych and sociology degrees.

    https://blogs.acu.edu/cornerstonef13/2013/09/09/are-the-social-sciences-really-science/

    https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/cross-check/is-social-science-an-oxymoron-will-that-ever-change/

    https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/literally-psyched/humanities-arent-a-science-stop-treating-them-like-one/

    https://www.socjobrumors.com/topic/why-are-there-a-lot-of-dummies-in-sociology

  95. Anon December 22, 2020 8:11 am

    Further B, the Liberal Left and its pseudo-science intrusions into ‘thought control’ (aka thought police), identity politics, and Neo-Liberalism have devastated the actual worth of rigorous academia (that of teaching critical thinking).

    This has not been an overnight devastation either, but has been going on for decades now.

    Academia long ago trained itself to NOT be a meritocracy, but instead ‘reward’ those seeking academic careers highest to those who can merely ‘take up the mantle’ of the liberal causes.

    Sadly, this even extends to law school, as I still remember way back when in one particular class, a friend and I did our own experiment with one class that featured an essay component. collectively, we both agreed that mine was the far superior essay, while his inferior one lauded a position known to be desired by the professor (yes, mine was one in which the weaknesses of that desired viewpoint were critically examined). A+ versus B — and no rubric shared.

  96. AAA JJ December 22, 2020 11:11 am

    “…I’m far from alone on this thought. ”

    True. There’s about 74M of you. Fortunately there are about 81M other rational people.

  97. Barney Molldrem` December 22, 2020 11:25 am

    This discussion seems to have degenerated into sniping, and no longer has much relevance to the question of what are the proper academic credentials to sit for the patent agent exam. I would respectfully request Gene to close this discussion soon. A lot of the comments seem to miss the Holiday spirit also, especially the part about goodwill towards other human beings.

  98. Anon December 22, 2020 9:59 pm

    AAA JJ

    Way to mindlessly polarize this into “R” and “D”

    I am a “D” and you are as mindless as any “R” that you would seek to put down.

    The world simply does not fit into those pre-conceived boxes of yours.

  99. B December 22, 2020 10:03 pm

    @ AAA JJ “True. There’s about 74M of you. Fortunately there are about 81M other rational people.”

    When discussing issues, such as the one before us, I try to avoid references to politics for a number of reasons. Mostly because the idea of determining whether or not a thing is true or not based on public consensus is not only a classic logical flaw, but a flaw worthy of severe mockery.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e0HGEZXTy8Y

    Obviously, our understanding of the scientific method differs.

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