Patently-O TidBits and Reader Poll #1

  • The USPTO recently released a new revision of the MPEP — 8th Edition, Revision 5. Does anyone have a mark-up of the changes?
  • Dan Ravicher continues to do interesting work at PubPat. There credo is that “wrongly issued patents and unsound patent policy harm the public.” Their new blog is called “Software Patent Watch.”
  • Professors Keith Aoki, James Boyle, and Jennifer Jenkins recently published their comic book “Bound by the Law.” It is available for free online here. Great work!
  • Cory Hojka points out an important distinction between infringement of a patent and infringement of a copyright here.
  • James DeLong remarks on Antitrust and IP here.
  • What lessons can we learn about informal and low budget representations?

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8 thoughts on “Patently-O TidBits and Reader Poll #1

  1. Red, regarding the comment about the MPEP being biased toward the PTO. Well, it is published by the PTO so there is an obvious reason for a slant toward supporting PTO policies. Further, since the vast majority of patent applications are prosecuted by attorneys and are not pro se, it makes some sense to give examiners easy access to legal precidents that support their positions. Attorneys, as opposed to examiners, typically are far more up to date on the current court opinions and it is not exactly uncommon for an attorney to send an examiner a document citing 10-20 court decisions that alledgly prove the examiner made an invalid rejection. Examiners, by and large, do not have the legal resources to argue such allegations made by the applicant’s attorney. Thus most examiners need something, read the MPEP, where they can go and readily lookup court cases that support positions typically held by the examiner/PTO.

  2. Regarding the chages to the the MPEP, is anyone aware of the more significant changes of which we should be aware? On a different note, has anyone else notice how the MPEP only cites cases that favor the PTO or cases that minimize other case law that work against the PTO? The MPEP certainly is not fair and balance between the PTO and inventors.

  3. The readership poll seems to be broken, at least for me, both in Firefox and Sharpreader (which uses the IE renderer.)

  4. “Cory Hojka points out an important distinction between infringement of a patent and infringement of a copyright”

    The difference could not be more easy to understand. If one is a person of letters, a musician, sculptor, etc. the importance of their “work” is easily understood by most, attorneys and judges included, and deserves instant protection from those “bad people” who want to make copies in order to make money. What happens if these bad people make too much money? Easy…threaten them with going to jail. But what about “authors” who may not understand the vagaries of law and inadvertantly fail to follow the rules? After all, they cannot be expected to know these rules; that would be unfair. Easy…make the rules self-executing so that their rights are virtually impossible to lose. In fact, let’s make these rights last a really, really long time because “authors” need all the help they can get.

    With “inventors” it is a different matter. Some of these people actually get grease under their fingernails. The law needs to treat them differently. Let’s make it hard. Make them prepare detailed documents that if deficient in any way curtail their rights. Let’s make them pay through the nose, mark their stuff, severely limit the time their rights last, make them keep paying into the future to keep their rights in force, and…if someone mean of heart decides to stick it to them by using their rights to make tons of $$$, let’s give this mean person a zillion ways to attack those rights to make them go away. If the use is really, really bad, then let’s declare their unauthorized use something that is a public service and reward the wrongdoer with the continued right to use the inventor’s work by telling them they can continue providing this important public service. And…lest it be overlooked, no wrongdoer should ever go to jail. That would be unfair. It’s not like they have taken any “artsy” stuff anyway; just the stuff made by a grease monkey.

    It never ceases to amaze me how two bodies of law can be birthed from the same constitutional womb, and yet be treated so differently. Yes, I know, “but the nature of the respective rights are different”. So what? Stealing is stealing, or so my parents taught me as a child. It seems they overlooked teaching me the lesson that some stealing is ok, and some stealing is not. That is a lesson I had to learn as an adult.

    My takeaway from all of this is that it is far better to attend cocktail parties with all of the beautiful people and prattle on about just how important your art really is than to be a person too busy to attend the party because that person is in his/her garage trying to make something people can actually use.

    On yes, one final point. Let’s make the ones with dirty fingernails have to deal with a group in the executive branch who makes them work real hard to prove they have done something useful.

    As for the cocktail set, let’s have them deal with the nice librarians who work for the legislative branch, Congress. This keeps things so much more civil and avoids unnecessary strife.

    Hope this makes things a bit more clear…

  5. The USPTO as usually has included the Blue Pages at the beginning — which is available as a seperate download — and the asterisks and arrows to indicate changes in the MPEP 8th ed., rev. 5.

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