Posts Tagged: "Capitol Hill"

Is It Time to Privatize the Patent Office?

Saying that Congress controls the Patent Office is something of a misstatement really. It would be far more accurate to say that Congress starves the Patent Office and is constantly demanding more and more with less and less. At a time when $1 trillion is spent like Monopoly money to put Trump like towers on Boardwalk and Park Place it is not only irresponsible, but down right embarrassing that our political leaders in Washington are starving our innovation agency while they hit the campaign trail with all the required high-tech, innovation and job growth platitudes that the evening news demands in 15 second intervals. There is plenty of blame to go around with respect to how we got into this state, but does anyone think we can realistically get out of this mess without thoughtful Congressional assistance? Then the real nightmare question becomes: Does anyone really think we will ever get thoughtful Congressional assistance?

Obviously Non-Obvious: Pay Congress from Surplus

This idea of revenue in exceeding revenue out is really not one that is in and of itself patentable though. Families and small businesses live with that reality every day of every week of every month of every year. So there will likely need to be some kind of a hook in whatever claims we write to make sure that we distinguish over the common sense prior art established by hard-working individuals who are the backbone of this Nation and who know that you simply cannot continue to spend more than you bring in. As our President is fond of saying — when you are in a hole you need to put down the shovel. That is common sense for individuals, families and small businesses, but seemingly incomprehensible when it comes to government — and that will be the patentability hook no doubt.

Bipartisan Group Of Senators Urge Action On Patent Reform

A bipartisan group of 25 Senators Wednesday sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) urging him to schedule a vote on the bipartisan Patent Reform Act. The legislation will make the first reforms to the nation’s patent laws in more than 55 years, and will update the patent system to improve patent quality and increase certainty among parties in litigation.

Todd Dickinson Interview Part 2: Patent Reform is Not Dead

In this second installment of my interview with current AIPLA Executive Director and former USPTO Director, Q. Todd Dickinson, we start out discussing pendency at the Patent Office. Dickinson tells me about the incentives he used to keep patent examiners as they matured into the level of experience where they are ready to really roll up their sleeves and become the work-horses that Office needs. We talk about the AIPLA position on the proposed Three Track Proposal now pending at the USPTO. We then moved into a very interesting discussion of patent reform, and a bombshell is dropped, at least in my opinion. I was surprised to hear Dickinson say that he does not think patent reform is dead for THIS legislative cycle. He says: “The clock’s running and, the plays have to be run a little faster,” but that he “can see a path forward once the Congress returns.” He goes on to point out that the American Inventors Protection Act was attached to an appropriations bill. Looking at what Congress has on its plate upon returning it looks like there are a lot of appropriations bills. Curious indeed!

President Obama Signs Bill to Provide USPTO Authority to Spend an Additional $129 Million of FY 2010 Fee Collections

On Tuesday, August 10, President Barack Obama signed into law P.L. 111-224 that gives the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) the authority to spend an additional $129 million of the fees the agency will collect in Fiscal Year (FY) 2010. Due to an improving economy and increased patent examination productivity, the agency projects it will collect nearly $200 million more than its FY 2010 appropriation of $1.887 billion.

Better Late Than Never: Major Media Tunes Into Patent Crisis

Straight from the “it’s about time” department comes breaking word that the so-called popular press are finally identifying the most under reported news story of this recession. The United States Patent and Trademark Office of foundering and it needs more money in order to do its job. Despite their lip service to innovation and job creation, politicians seem to year after year leave the Patent Office under funded and incapable of satisfying its purpose. But thankfully CBS did a 2 minute and 36 second segment on the crisis this past weekend!

Interview Exclusive: USPTO Director David Kappos

In this interview Kappos discusses with me his management style, his famously long hours, how he manages to inspire the Office to work harder than ever before, his efforts to get funding for the Office, how the USPTO can help innovators create new businesses and new jobs, and how to inspire young people to do public service. We also learn that he and Judge Rader share the same favorite movie (see Judge Rader Interview at the end), he likes Star Trek and Star Wars equally (an astute political answer no doubt) and the famous American inventor he would like to meet is a “Mount Rushmore” inventor.

Chief Judge Michel to Congress: Invest $1 Billion to Revive PTO

In this third installment things get interesting, perhaps even a bit explosive. The former Chief of the Federal Circuit pulls no punches and talks openly and honestly about Congress, laying the blame for the decline of the Patent Office squarely on the feet of Congress who has since 1992 siphoned off at least $750 million thanks to fee diversion. This has left the Patent Office short on resources to do what needs to be done. The Judge also makes the case for regional Patent Offices and getting involved in the patent reform debate so that a handful of companies can’t dominate the discussions to their sole benefit. He talks about perhaps setting up a think tank to promote a pro-patent and innovation agenda, and how it is a “travesty” that patent rights cannot be enforced in a relevant time frame through litigation because of backlogs in the federal court system. I think it is fair to say that Congress was in the cross-hairs during this segment of our interview and some of what Chief Judge Michel tells me was surprisingly forceful, direct and extremely critical. Having said that, I think practically everyone in the industry will agree with him. I know I sure do!

Judge Michel II: Public Nuisance #1 Proselytizing for Patents

In this installment we start out talking about Judge Michel’s work for Senator Arlen Specter and how today there seems to be a slow and steady decline in the checks and balances intended to be a part of the federal system. This lead us into talking about the Founding Fathers and how they viewed intellectual property, and patent in particular, as critically important. We discussed how the Patent Office used to be held in such esteem by the Founding Fathers and many generations, and how that seems to be a relic of the past. We also discussed how Judge Michel would like to become a public nuisance and troublemaker as he attempts to proselytize for the patent system and a more responsible federal government.

Wall Street Journal Profiles Medical Marijuana, but not Important USPTO Issues

Earlier today the Wall Street Journal gave front page space to a story relating to the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Widely regarded as one of the “papers of record” in the United States, one might expect that the Wall Street Journal had brought its considerable clout to an important issue plaguing our time, such as an horribly under funded Patent Office that is holding innovation hostage, costing America perhaps millions of jobs. NO! Don’t get me wrong, every tabloid should have front page news story about pot, medical marijuana and have an image of a VW bus over the tag “the Canny Bus,” as the Journal did earlier today. Call me crazy, but I expected more from the Wall Street Journal.

Renewed Congressional Interest for Funding the Patent Office

Truth be told, it would be enough for Congress to just (1) stop siphoning off money from the USPTO through fee diversion; (2) grant the USPTO fee setting authority; and (3) stand out of the way. So my message to Congress would be this: put the pocketbook down, slowly step back and raise your hands over your head so we can see them!

Ranting: Patent Hysteria Over Amazon Patenting Facebook

It is truly sad that massive anti-patent hysteria can be whipped up simply based on a single sentence in the Abstract of a patent. For crying out loud people, the Abstract is hardly considered to be a part of the patent application and has absolutely nothing to do with the exclusive rights granted. The claims are what defines the exclusive right, nothing else! But we will never get the anti-patent types to ever read a claim because there are just too difficult to understand and there are way too many details in the claim. WAKE UP! That is the point! The more details in the claim the more narrow the rights!

CAFC Judges Should Be Require to Examine Patent Applications

On Friday, May 28, 2010, USPTO Director David Kappos gave five suggestions for practitioners on the Director’s Forum (i.e., the Kappos blog). It would be wonderful if such things could occur in the prosecution of every case, but unfortunately the Federal Circuit has effectively prevented that from happening and forced upon the USPTO and the practicing patent bar a game of hide the ball, which benefits no one. With Congress not stepping up to the plate any time soon to do anything useful for the patent system there may be only one hope left; namely to get the CAFC judges to examine patent applications, sitting by designation, so they can better understand the mess they have created.

Kappos Takes Heat at House Hearing, Patent Reform Dead?

On Wednesday, May 5, 2010, David Kappos testified in front of the United States House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary. See Hearing Page and Kappos Prepared Remarks. Many issues were covered during the hearing, but there were a couple matters that jump out as quite important. Most significantly, it seems that once again the Senate patent reform bill may be running into some difficulty in the House of Representatives. Some in the House of Representatives seem interested in slowing down regarding the substantive changes embodied in the Senate bill, but seem willing to consider legislation less grandiose and focused solely on giving the Patent Office fee setting authority and perhaps the ability to retain its fees. This, however, lead to a heated exchange that has been misreported in some outlets, so lets set the record straight.

CAFC: Bad Actor Makes Bad Inequitable Conduct Law

Intent to deceive was admitted, if you can believe that, but as it turns out the prior art withheld, a prior sale, was not invalidating and would not have lead to an appropriate rejection by the Patent Office. Nevertheless, the prior sale of an earlier version of the invention in question was the closest prior art and the Federal Circuit, per Judge Prost, explained that materiality does not require that the the withheld prior art lead to a good rejection. So Judge Prost applied the Patent Office law relative to materiality as it existed prior to the 1992 revision of 37 CFR 1.56.