Patently-O Comment Wars

The Patently-O daily full-text e-mailer is a great resource, but it has one major problem — The e-mail readers miss the extensive commentary posted by other Patently-O readers.  Over the past year, Patently-O readers have transformed the site from a primarily one-way resource into a rich community. The growth of reader comments is shown below (Graph).

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Although only about 1/3 of the comments contain high-level useful commentary, this is still above-average for lawyerspeak. Like most readers, the comments also arrive primarily during business hours. (Graph).

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As might be expected, the majority of comments are written under pseudonyms. Of the top-ten most frequent commentators, it appears that only one uses his real name: Michael Slonecker — a patent attorney primarily retired from practice.  Malcolm Mooney, an anonymous and acerbic patent attorney is leading the pack with over 600 comments.  [Mooney is likely ascorbic as well]

When comments are posted, I receive an e-mail with your IP address. Based on those addresses, the majority of comments come from law firms, quickly followed by government agencies (US Courts, USPTO, FAA, etc.) and businesses.  There is also a large group of comments associated with more generic ISPs (Verizon, Comcast, AT&T, etc.).

Three comment related projects:

  1. Threading of comments so that you can more easily follow various posts.
  2. Ranking of comments (as on SlashDot) so that you can exclude low-ranking posts.
  3. A comment [RSS] feed. So that you can more easily follow the most recent comments. (Thanks to Adam Kessel for this idea)

Of course, I do all the programming and configuration for Patently-O — Let me know if you have easy solutions for any of these projects! dcrouch@gmail.com.

182 thoughts on “Patently-O Comment Wars

  1. MM wrote: “…or we can acknowledge –explicitly — the incontrovertible fact that there were and are other incentives for a person to invent. I choose the latter and if I offend some people by doing so, I respectfully submit that is not my problem”

    It is not your problem, indeed…

    You simply just don’t know what it means to devote several years of your life, late nights without pay, vacations not enjoyed, no praise or encouragement from anybody (other than your wife’s being constantly mad at you)… to finally come up with something worthy… which is called “invention” …just to have it immediately appropriated (illegaly before EBay and now almost legally after EBay) by the shameless MBA and lawyer types… for the greater good of humanity, of course…
    And you will never know…
    End of discussion.

  2. “I would argue that IN THE MAIN inventors require protection for their inventions if they are going to spend enormous amounts of time on them. This strikes me as a pretty unremarkable statement.”

    It is unremarkable. But the rhetorical question you asked (which I rhetorically “answered”) is quite different: “What incentive would Carlson have had to devote this extraordinary amount of time and effort to his invention, were it not for patents?”

    There was no strawman here. We can pretend that but for patents motivating indie inventor Carlson we wouldn’t have the xerox machine or we can acknowledge –explicitly — the incontrovertible fact that there were and are other incentives for a person to invent. I choose the latter and if I offend some people by doing so, I respectfully submit that is not my problem.

  3. Dear Erez Gur,

    I agree with you. When Max was writing about PSA, I posted positive comments thanking him for his posts. I wrote that I was happy to learn from his teachings.

    It is a shame though, that somewhere along the way he turned into the Patent Nazi. Perhaps he watched too many “Steinfeld” episodes on TV.
    It would be nice if he recanted and made amends – none of that “cheap grace” stuff.

    As Rodney asked, Can’t we all just get along?

  4. StepBack and SmallInventor

    I guess I did not my message across. I apologize that I hurt your feelings.

    I was trying to understand why so many contributors were getting irritated. I was hoping to isolate a core disagreement to discuss rationally without nastiness.

    It seems to me that many discussions revolve around the issue of how strong patents should be to achieve the desired goals of encouraging technological development.

    I belong to the “strong patent camp” and was trying to understand what the “weak patent camp” was saying. All I wanted to suggest was that the two camps agree on many things but do not agree as to how to handle the “non manufacturing patentee”.

    I personally am not suggesting that there should be a legal distinction between manufacturing and non-manufacturing entities, although I suspect that judges do make such a distinction.

    SmallInventor.
    I may be wrong on all points, and will be happy to hear how. Indeed inventors have technical skills but do all of them have marketing skills? The answer is that the average marketing skill of a marketing expert in a large corporation is probably higher than that of an average inventor. This is one reason corporations are more effective at getting products to market.

    StepBack
    a) The term “non manufacturing” was not pejorative but descriptive.

    b) Trust me, I have more important things to do than insult anonymous strangers through the internet.

    c) If you believe that we can advance our discussion by dividing the world into ten groups, do tell.

    Zeke, regarding your 11 June comment
    Your comments describe what I imagine people in the “weak patent camp” are worried about, and their worries are no less valid than ours. This is exceptionally true if “obvious” patents are issued and if one considers that many things are invented almost simultaneously. One can dismiss, denigrate, villify and insult the “weak patent camp”, but then why bother writing in a discussion group? I say this as a member of the “strong patent camp”.

    Just an ordinary Inventor:
    I agree with you that TSM was good but as MaxDrei likes to point out, so is the Problem-Solution Approach.

  5. Dear Mr. Holloway,

    The large number of quotes from people underestimating technological progress is arguably from those:
    (i) MOST skilled people in their respective arts,
    (ii) MOST educated people in their respective arts in our country, and
    (iii) MOST creative/inventive people in their respective arts in our country.

    If these most skilled, most educated and most creative/inventive people miss what is arguably “obvious” to even some casual observers, then what does that say about the difficulty in devising a test for “obviousness”?

    So far, only the CAFC has come up with a workable “Obviousness” test:
    Teaching, Suggestion, Motivation, because TSM is based on evidence!
    What the Supremes did in KSR merely mucked things up.

  6. Concerning the posting that began “These “quotes” have been floating around the Internet and have been posed before — they tend to support Step Back’s and Erez Gur’s comments,” and then listed a large number of quotes from people underestimating technological progress … an equally impressive list of quotes of people *over*estimating technological progress can be developed. Neither list proves anything, except that humans are quite bad at predicting the future.

  7. “No, it was “Tom” who overstated his case when he plainly suggested that patents are the ONLY incentive for people to spend time “inventing”.”

    Jesus, Malcolm, you must strike terror in the hearts of Strawmen, given how many you destroy. You’re constantly acting as though you’ve defeated points that have been made, when you’ve only managed to turn them into extreme assertions that nobody would need to argue in the first place.

    I certainly would not argue that ALL inventors in ALL situations require patents to invent. I would argue that IN THE MAIN inventors require protection for their inventions if they are going to spend enormous amounts of time on them. This strikes me as a pretty unremarkable statement.

    Why on earth would I be obliged to hold anything else? Isn’t that assertion sufficient to provide powerful support for allowing independent inventors to have patents? Why would the occasional exception make a difference here, if one is truly interested in promoting progress? Even if only half of all inventors needed patents for an incentive (far less than is true, I’m sure), wouldn’t there still be a very good argument that patents promoted progress, since we’d be losing perhaps half of all inventions?

    Likewise, your earlier argument that invention wouldn’t “stop”, but might only be “slowed” is of the same ilk. I don’t think anybody seriously believes that all invention would stop if patents went away, though one might in a moment of hyperbole say something that could be interpreted that way. Of what conceivable consequence is setting up that strawman only to destroy it? Isn’t it sufficient that throwing out patents for independent inventors would appreciably SLOW the “the progress of science and useful arts”, as the Constitution puts it? Why should anyone be obliged to argue anything stronger than that to shore up the case for patents for the independent inventor?

  8. Mooney, just shut up and listen to what real inventors have to say…
    Without patents no one would invent anything significant. Got it ?
    If you don’t believe me, my little patentless friend, just ask some other inventors.
    I mean, the REAL inventors with real inventions and *valid* issued US patents, not the likes of you or your crooked corporate clients

  9. MM,

    Sure, easy for you to Laugh. You’re use to being belittled. I’m only getting started (;o)

  10. “I assume you were simply overstating your case”

    *sigh*

    No, it was “Tom” who overstated his case when he plainly suggested that patents are the ONLY incentive for people to spend time “inventing”.

    That claim is false. Tom’s false claim — and that claim ONLY — is the claim I was responding to in my 1:14 pm comment. Inventors, because they are human beings like artists, occasionally act in ways that are not necessarily “rational” from a strict market-based perspective.

  11. Dr. Snowboard,
    Argumentum ad hominem attacks such as yours I can take.
    And, of course, you are god damn right, I do get riled up when it is suggested by some Dummkopf that:
    “… the demise of the “small independent non-manufacturing inventor” would have “an aggregate positive effect on the US economy.”
    And the Dummkopf goes to suggest that:
    “…vexatious litigants (including those asserting claims found to be invalid) get to go to prison…”
    What’s Dummkopf going to suggest next, a firing squad?

    Please note that I didn’t start out ranting against Dummkopf. I started out trying coax him into seeing that his remarks were in poor taste over here, unacceptable. But when he lied and denied what he had suggested, I decidedly kicked it up a notch or two.

    I will not stand by and have my profession belittled.

  12. “Small independent non-manufacturing inventor”

    Geez, I imagine this phrase began its life as “small inventor,” and people kept squeezing in adjectives to keep whatever pet argument alive.

    Small independent non-manufacturing inventors are not useful! But what about the Xerox guy? Ok…uh, small independent non-manufacturing lazy inventors are not useful!

    Has it ever occurred to anyone that — oh, hell, pick a number — 90% of patented technology never gets manufactured? Yes, that’s right, the great majority of glorious inventions never see the light of day despite the fact that they were invented by wonderful people working at fabulous corporations that manufacture loads of things. But remember, these corporations are better than small independent non-manufacturing inventors because these corporations are not small, are not independent, and, above all, these corporations manufacture stuff.

    The small inventor plants a patent like an IED and waits for a noble and innocent corporation to drive past. The worst part is many of the victims of small inventors were on their way to manufacture things to make the world a better place. And don’t let anyone tell you that small inventors are just like inventors who work at corporations. Inventors who work at corporations are selfless advancers of technology who would work for free if we let them. But the small inventor, well, this creature only wants to make a quick buck from a napkin sketch and then kick back and laugh as the world weeps in suffering for the next 20 years.

    Anyway, ya’ll keep adding adjectives and eventually maybe you’ll bump into someone worthy of vilification.

  13. MM wrote “Look, at some point upthread the claim was made that without small independent non-manufacturing inventors, innovation in America would grind to a halt. When that claim was challenged (for lack of evidentiary support, among other reasons), the goalpost was picked up and moved and suddenly the new claim is that without patents there would be no innovation. Then, when that claim is challenged, the goalpost is moved AGAIN and the new claim is that without patents innovation would be “slowed”.

    As for the latter claim, it’s not particularly interesting, especially when stated so vaguely.”

    Malcolm, if you’ll read my posts, none of my statements had to do with small independent non-manufacturing inventors. I was responding to your comments on Chester Carlson and you equating artists to inventors. I assume you were simply overstating your case, but rather than simply admit that, you keep taking issue with my posts.

    (1) Inventors on average create for different reasons than artists.

    (2) If Chester Carlson had not patented and marketed his ideas and found an investor in the Haloid company, copying technology would most likely not be where it is today.

    (3) Patents do incent the disclosure of ideas which feeds cross-pollination of ideas among inventors. The only areas where patents may arguably not assist in speeding up creation are rapidly changing technologies such as software.

  14. Actually, I don’t feel foolish. The tone of your comments suggests a desire to rant. Your background may suggest you are genuinely interested in this forum, your mode of argument suggests you just don’t get out of your trailer as often as you used to.
    I suggest you use your ‘god-given talent’ (yes, I did waste time reading the thread you so generously pointed me to) to invent something that is actually of use and of sufficient value to attract commercialisation before it’s developed by someone else.
    I’m out.

  15. Dr. Snowboard,

    You are right – you ought to be ashamed.

    Your comment, which makes no sense, was:
    “Clearly there is no ‘IP community’…
    Posted by: Dr Snowboard | Jun 08, 2007 at 05:45 AM”

    FYI, the fifth comment below your comment in “RECENT COMMENTS” describes my background. No don’t you feel foolish.

    More to the point, how, pray tell, do you feel about this comment?,
    “So, damages apportionment might lead to the demise of the “small independent non-manufacturing inventor working in high tech”? Is there any reason why anybody should be concerned about the loss of that particular species? Quite the opposite. If they were all to disappear, I can imagine it having an aggregate positive effect on the US economy. …”
    and about this comment?,
    “…vexatious litigants (including those asserting claims found to be invalid) get to go to prison…”

  16. “Dr. Snowboard,
    As was uttered in O’Brother, Where Art Thou?
    “That makes no sense.”
    It is obvious you have nothing to say. Give it a rest. You are not fooling anybody.

    Posted by: Just an ordinary inventor(TM) | Jun 08, 2007 at 06:10 AM ”

    Strict definitions of ‘community’
    A group of people having common interests: the scientific community; the international business community.
    b. A group viewed as forming a distinct segment of society: the gay community; the community of color.
    3.
    a. Similarity or identity: a community of interests.
    b. Sharing, participation, and fellowship.

    I was sarcastically referring to definition 3b. in response to the vehemence and stridency of your posts. I think you would do well to reread this thread from the beginning to consider if you have presented your ‘arguments’ in a fashion that is likely to convince anyone of your point of view. Frankly, you appear to be a ‘troll’ of the highest order and I’m ashamed I can’t resist baiting you out from underneath your bridge.

  17. “I only have so much time in the day, and I would rather be spending it reading constructive comments as opposed to reading word games.”

    Could you give an example of one of these “word games” which trouble you so?

  18. “I pss in MaxDrei’s face”

    “humor helps me avoid uncomfortable tension”

    So, how long have you been off your medication?

  19. Dear pds,
    I find my work extremely stressful — humor helps me avoid uncomfortable tension and perhaps ulcers.

    But I understand and truly appreciate your level of focused dedication to you profession.

    I think it is different for inventors than it is for legal practitioners.

  20. MM,
    Thank you — I agree, and I take some comfort in your opinion, that readers aren’t about to pay much mind to MaxDrei’s hateful rhetoric. Still, I find it so offensive that I just can’t stand by and not take issue with his suggestion that, e.g.,

    “litigants (including those asserting claims found to be invalid) get to go to prison”.

    I will say one thing he’s got going for him, he’s got the skin of a pachyderm (no offense to pachyderms) – I pss in MaxDrei’s face and he responds as if it is gentle falling rain, and he then dances around and denies he said anything offensive in the first place. But you are most likely spot on – he fools no one.

    Maybe I should be more sympathetic – nah, he has earned my insults. What will MaxDrei come up with next, that attorneys who represent litigants with claims found to be invalid get to go to prison with the inventor?

  21. Jaoi (TM):

    If I want humor, I can find many more quality outlets for humor than this blog.

    I read this blog for insight on patent law and the practice of patent law. As with other message boards/blogs I read, one must separate the wheat from the chaff. I have (on other boards) also referred to the noise-to-signal ratio. To me, someone who posts too much chaff (noise) and not enough wheat (signal) is someone that I would prefer not to read.

    Unfortunately, my experience (again, including other boards) is that the most prolific posters typically are the ones that deserved to be ignored.

    I only have so much time in the day, and I would rather be spending it reading constructive comments as opposed to reading word games.

    MM free

  22. “dangerous hate-monger”

    Perhaps if Orrin Hatch was reading MaxDrei’s comments on the Senate floor, I’d be mildly concerned.

    As it stands, I think the threat posed by MaxDrei and his rhetoric is pretty minimal. I definitely hadn’t detected this “Master Plan” you refer to. Does it involve more vacation time? If so, I am interested in learning more.

  23. MM,
    I meant to ask,
    Do you really really think MaxDrei’s comment advocating the demise of “that particular species” i.e, America’s independent inventors, so as to have an “aggregate positive effect on the US economy.”?
    was disparaging only “in even the slightest way”?

    Note, I was even nice to dickhead MaxDrei before he began to advocate the demise of others having a positive effect on the US economy.

  24. MM,
    Do you really really think MaxDrei’s comment advocating the demise of “that particular species” i.e, America’s independent inventors, so as to have an “aggregate positive effect on the US economy.”?

    Do you really really support MaxDrei’s Master Plan, i.e., “…vexatious litigants (including those asserting claims found to be invalid) get to go to prison”?

    Now there is nothing funny about MaxDrei – he’s a hypocritical dangerous hate-monger in sheep’s clothes.

    MM, I had the impression that you were serious, smart, strong & sensible enough to take my little ribbing above. Was I wrong about that? If I offended you, I didn’t mean to — please excuse. While some don’t appreciate your brand of comment, others, like me, would join your fan club and ignore comments that you make with tongue in cheek and fingers crossed to liven up the thread. I like to befriend everyone, no matter what their opinions are, as long as they don’t make comments that disgust other people.

  25. “I have no idea what you are trying to say here.”

    Yeah, and you’re not the only one, Lionel. But that’s not my fault. Sorry.

    Look, at some point upthread the claim was made that without small independent non-manufacturing inventors, innovation in America would grind to a halt. When that claim was challenged (for lack of evidentiary support, among other reasons), the goalpost was picked up and moved and suddenly the new claim is that without patents there would be no innovation. Then, when that claim is challenged, the goalpost is moved AGAIN and the new claim is that without patents innovation would be “slowed”.

    As for the latter claim, it’s not particularly interesting, especially when stated so vaguely.

    The most important lesson is that, as MaxDrei pointed out, there are folks who comment here who are really really sensitive and who, if they sense that their agenda is being disparaged in even the slightest way, let loose with their poorly aimed rhetorical popguns. Some of these folks are so sensitive, in fact, that they beg for a machine to assist them in keeping troublesome thoughts away from their sensitive eyeballs.

  26. Dear pds:
    You may remember my comment to you on May 21, 2007:

    “While I whole-heartedly agree with your endorsement of a strong patent system, I’d suggest one minor clarification:
    The preamble to the “patent clause,” Article I, Section 8, Clause 8, reads: “The Congress shall have Power …”, so that taken together you have:
    “The Congress shall have Power … To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;”
    What some people miss, including the Supremes in eBay, is that, if Congress does decide to secure patents as it has done, there is no option regarding “the exclusive Rights” – whether by ordinary injunction or otherwise, exclusive means exclusive, period.”

    I’ve been commenting about eBay often and I am preparing yet another eBay comment to post in the next day or two.

    Anyway, here is my 2 cents for Sunday afternoon:
    I don’t mean to be offensive to anyone that doesn’t deserve being offended, but I’d like to make an observation based on working with many great attorneys, mostly great patent attorneys, over the past 40 years: Attorneys don’t laugh enough, and they almost never laugh loudly enough. My advice to attorneys and other IP professionals is to laugh, laugh often and laugh like no one is in ear shot. Laughing is good for the mind and the heart, and for what else ails you too. And watch Boston Legal and Monk (the modern day Columbo but funnier) as often as possible. You’ll thank me later.

    Apparently not everyone finds MM funny — some do, me for one, but he certainly can be argumentative, abrasive and obtuse at times. Live and let live, and use the scroll bar liberally. But try to find humor wherever possible for your health’s sake. I like to think of MM as Patently-O’s cartoons, comparable, for example, to the cartoons in the New Yorker or Reader’s Digest — cartoons you thumb through to find for their humor before you start reading the articles.

    Please comment more frequently — your comments rank among the best in my book.

  27. “Just as I sign documents submitted to agencies and the courts using my actual name, I believe that any opinion posted to a professional blog should reflect likewise.”

    Normally, I wouldn’t have a problem with your statement. However, my job is to speak for my clients, but there are instances in which my opinion (on this board) may not necessarily reflect my client’s public opinion. For this reason, I prefer to remain anonymous to retain my freedom to opine as to what I believe (and not as to what my client believes).

    Besides, who wants to be in the position 5 years from now, when the patent you prosecuted is in litigation, and the other side pull up a post from this board in which you espoused the very same legal position that the other side is espousing (and opposite to your client’s position)?

    Is it likely to happen? No
    Could it happen? Yes

  28. I’m impressed that I made the top-10 (albeit in the last spot) … I guess this means that I should be posting more. Heck, just on this thread alone, I’ve fell behind anywhere between 10-15 posts to the top posters.

    Anyway … I’ve mentioned this before, and I’ll mention it again. The #1 tool that I would like to see this blog employ is an ignore feature.

    Just on 2 posters alone I would be able to eliminate 10% of the posts and about 75% of the posts I prefer not to read. My guess is that if many people did the same, many of the replies to these 10% of the posts would be also eliminated, which in the end, I suspect, would probably reduce the number of posts I have to read by about 20%.

    This would be a great invention … I wonder if it is obvious???

    MM free

  29. These “quotes” have been floating around the Internet and have been posed before — they tend to support Step Back’s and Erez Gur’s comments:

    “If I had thought about it, I wouldn’t have done the experiment. The literature was full of examples that said you can’t do this,” – - Spencer Silver on the work that led to the unique adhesives for 3-M “Post-It” Notepads.

    “Everything that can be invented has been invented,” — Charles H. Duell, Commissioner, US Office of Patents, 1899.

    “Man will never reach the moon regardless of all future scientific advances.” — Dr. Lee DeForest, “Father of Radio & Grandfather of Television.”

    “The bomb will never go off. I speak as an expert in explosives.” — Admiral William Leahy, US Atomic Bomb Project.

    “There is no likelihood man can ever tap the power of the atom.” — Robert Millikan, Nobel Prize in Physics, 1923.

    “Computers in the future may weigh no more than 1.5 tons.” — Popular Mechanics, forecasting the relentless march of science, 1949.

    “I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.” — Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943.

    “I have traveled the length and breadth of this country and talked with the best people, and I can assure you that data processing is a fad that won’t last out the year.” — The editor in charge of business books for Prentice Hall, 1957.

    “But what is it good for?” — Engineer at the Advanced Computing Systems Division of IBM, 1968, commenting on the microchip.

    “640K ought to be enough for anybody.” — Bill Gates, 1981

    “This ‘telephone’ has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us,” — Western Union internal memo, 1876.

    “The wireless music box has no imaginable commercial value. Who would pay for a message sent to nobody in particular?” — David Sarnoff’s associates in response to his urgings for investment in the radio in the 1920s.

    “The concept is interesting and well-formed, but in order to earn better than a ‘C,’ the idea must be feasible,” — A Yale University management professor in response to Fred Smith’s paper proposing reliable overnight delivery service. (Smith went on to found Federal Express Corp.)

    “I’m just glad it’ll be Clark Gable who’s falling on his face and not Gary Cooper,” — Gary Cooper on his decision not to take the leading role in “Gone With The Wind.”

    “A cookie store is a bad idea. Besides, the market research reports say America likes crispy cookies, not soft and chewy cookies like you make,” — Response to Debbi Fields’ idea of starting Mrs. Fields’ Cookies.

    “We don’t like their sound, and guitar music is on the way out,” — Decca Recording Co. rejecting the Beatles, 1962.

    “Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible,” — Lord Kelvin, president, Royal Society, 1895.

    “Drill for oil? You mean drill into the ground to try and find oil? You’re crazy,” — Drillers who Edwin L. Drake tried to enlist to his project to drill for oil in 1859.

    “Stocks have reached what looks like a permanently high plateau.” — Irving Fisher, Professor of Economics, Yale University, 1929.

    “Airplanes are interesting toys but of no military value,” — Marechal Ferdinand Foch, Professor of Strategy, Ecole Superieure de Guerre, France.

    “The super computer is technologically impossible. It would take all of the water that flows over Niagara Falls to cool the heat generated by the number of vacuum tubes required.” — Professor of Electrical Engineering, New York University.

    “I don’t know what use any one could find for a machine that would make copies of documents. It certainly couldn’t be a feasible business by itself.” — the head of IBM, refusing to back the idea, forcing the inventor to found Xerox.

    “Louis Pasteur’s theory of germs is ridiculous fiction.” — Pierre Pachet, Professor of Physiology at Toulouse, 1872.

    “The abdomen, the chest, and the brain will forever be shut from the intrusion of the wise and humane surgeon,” — Sir John Eric Ericksen, British surgeon, appointed Surgeon-Extraordinary to Queen Victoria 1873.

    And last but not least…

    “There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home.” — Ken Olson, president, chairman and founder of Digital Equipment Corp., 1977.

    So much for the “Wise Minds”…..

  30. P.S.

    In view of the above, you might understand why I find the closing rhetoric in the Supreme Court’s holding in KSR v. Telelfex such a hoot:

    ” *We* build and create by bringing to the tangible and palpable reality around us new works *based on instinct*, *simple logic*, ordinary inferences, extraordinary ideas, and sometimes even genius. These advances, once part of *our* shared knowledge, define a new threshold from which innovation starts once more. And as progress beginning from *[ever] higher levels* of achievement is *expected* in the *normal* course, the results of *ordinary* innovation are not the subject of exclusive rights under the patent laws. Were it otherwise patents *might stifle*, rather than promote, the progress of useful arts.”

    [emphasis added]

    Who is this “we” that possesses “our shared knowledge”? The Supremes do not “manufacture” anything. They merely produce pure rhetoric unsupported by any evidence. They do not “share” in the technical knowledge that is known to persons skilled in the various technical arts. I forgive them because they know not what they do. However, I expect much better from those who comment here at Patently-O and therefore are supposedly personally involved and skilled in the patenting arts. Before you criticize real inventors for their achievements, try inventing something of your own, something that actually works and is novel and you are ready to present to the world even if the world will mock you for it:

    1. You want to do what? Photocopy stuff with a $100,000 machine when carbon paper costs 1 cent apiece? You are insane.

    2. You want to do what? Process words on a $10,000 “computing” machine when mechanical typewriters cost $100 apiece? You are insane.

    3. You want to do what? Manufacture small squares of paper with a defective glue on one side when paper and good glue are already out there for dirt cheap? You are insane.

    4. ___ Add your favorite here

  31. Erez Gur,

    Like SmallInventor, I vote that you are misguided on numerous fronts (although you probably mean well and do not see your comments as messaging what they message to other folk).

    First off, we do not “all” agree.

    As for myself, I divide the world into 10 groups. (Those who count in binary and those who don’t.)

    Secondly, it makes no legal sense to divide the class of inventors into “manufacturing” and “non-manufacturing”. You should realize that 99% of inventors are “non-manufacturing”. Even those who work for large corporations are 99% “non-manufacturing”. They simply hand off their designs to other departments in the corporation. Those other parts of the corporate animal may elect to “manufacture” the invention in-house, or more likely now a days, to “offshore” the whole process.

    Obviously your use of the pejorative label “non-manufacturing” is a euphemism for the “have-nots” versus the “haves” as SmallInventor correctly senses but knows not how to articulate in the form of confrontational rhetoric.

    One of the skills that most inventors (and patent prosecuting attorneys) lack is the ability to spot raw rhetoric and then respond to it.

    In the case of your post immediately above, the main rhetorical tool is one I like to refer to as “herding the sheep”. The subconscious undercurrent of your argumentation is this: Either you’re part of the mainstream or you are an outcast. Sorry, I am not a member of either of your two flocks of head nodding sheep. We do not “all” agree. That’s what makes some of us human. Having been on all sides of the table (patent practitioner, employee of a large corporation, independent inventor) I echo what SmallInventor says. You know not what you speak of because apparently you have not personally experienced it. Getting an invention to market is hell even if you work inside a large corporation and 1000 times more so if you are an independent who can’t get a toe in through the door.

  32. Erez Gur, you are just wrong on so meny points

    Believe me, small independent inventors have skills (I mean technical skills), what they don;t have is money, And money is everything in America today.
    Some people would argue that it should be easy to raise VC money if you have a good patent. Have you ever tried ? For one thing, VCs couln’t care less about your invention, all they care about is money return, in other words, a good business plan.
    Unfortunately, in many areas of tech (e.g. semiconductors, cell phone industry) it’s just nearly impossible for an outsider, even a well-financed one, to get in: the large incumbents will do anything to prevent this from happening, to the point of taking big losses just to drive the outsider out

    So many of those so-called “trolls” (including myself) never had a slight chance to get into production mode in those mature industies.

    And innovation will NOT occur at the same rate without patents
    In pharma industry it will mosty definitely stop – no one wants to develop drugs so that any generics manufacturer can copy it and sell for pennies
    Innovation will only occur in those fields where trade secret protection is possible.
    In other fields innovation will most definitely stop for lack of incentive.
    Patents provide incentive to invent if no trade secret protection is possible
    Take tool industry, for example. Once you take any tool apart you can reproduce it for pennies on a dollar. Who would want to invent new tools in the absense of patent protection ? The large existing manufacturers and retail chains ? Home Depot ?
    Just give me a break…

  33. Above, I expressed my opinions about MaxDrei. For example, I opined above that:
    “MaxDrei lives to grossly denigrate American inventors;
    MaxDrei lives to criticize our patent system; and,
    MaxDrei lives by the rules: LIE, DENY and COUNTER-ACCUSATIONS
    MaxDrei, you have thus far revealed yourself to be a blight in the IP community.”

    Lest we forget about MaxDrei’s extreme anti-inventor agenda, I’d like to supplement my thoughts on this thread with the comment I posted earlier this morning on the May 25, 2007 thread titled: “Patent Reform 2007: Apportionment of Damages” (here is the link):
    link to patentlyo.com
    From that earlier thread, here is my supplemental comment about MaxDrei’s agenda:

    MaxDrei’s proposed Solution: PRISON for American inventors! Incredible!
    MaxDrei wrote this (directly above):
    “…vexatious litigants (including those asserting claims found to be invalid) get to go to prison…”
    MaxDrei’s comment directly above seems to follow-up a prior comment also in this thread above (“Posted by: MaxDrei | May 28, 2007 at 09:38 AM ):
    “So, damages apportionment might lead to the demise of the “small independent non-manufacturing inventor working in high tech”? Is there any reason why anybody should be concerned about the loss of that particular species? Quite the opposite. If they were all to disappear, I can imagine it having an aggregate positive effect on the US economy. …”
    MaxDrei now has a prescription for his master plan:
    “…the demise of the “small independent non-manufacturing inventor…”
    i.e.,
    “…vexatious litigants (including those asserting claims found to be invalid) get to go to prison…”
    MaxDrei,
    Do you not realize how agonizing such remarks are? Have you no conscience?
    Your “Solution” reeks — you know exactly what I mean.

  34. Despite what Dr.Snowboard says, it seems we are actually approaching a consensus. Everyone agrees that innovation will occur without patents, the problem is that there will be little disclosure and we’ll return to the age of the guilds. The only real argument is how strong patents held by non-manufacturing entitites should be.

    We all agree that turning an idea described in a patent to a marketable product is not a simple task and requires many skills that most inventors (and people in general) don’t have. Since inventors are usually passionately in love with their invention or (justifiably) greedy, their patents act as a brake on innovation.

    So we divide into two groups:

    Group 1 believes that non-manufacturing inventors rarely do anything useful with their invention and often act as “trolls”. This is exceptionally irritating when we consider that so many inventions are independently invented by a number of people within a year of each other. This group maintains that since, in absolute numbers, non-manufacturing inventors so rarely develop inventions into useful products, as a matter of policy we should weaken the rights of the non-manufacturing entities for the greater good.

    Group 2 (of which I am member) believes that as a matter of policy we should give a non-manufacturing inventor an exclusive right for as long as he/she wants to pay (up to the maximum of 21 years, pharma excepted) to give a chance to “make it big” and set up a manufacturing facility. We believe that society has to offer up the bait of pots of gold so that the creative people will take risks, knowing that they will most likely fail miserably.

    I would summarize by saying that it seems that although Group 1 is probably more practical, Group 2 is more in tune with the apple pie / John Wayne / Superman / American spirit thing.

  35. “Malcolm also replied to me here “”in the technological arts, you place no value on speeding things up? Most people do.”

    Screeeeeeech. Put the goalpost back.”

    I have no idea what you are trying to say here.

  36. Malcolm wrote in response to my quoted bit here “”You appeared to be suggesting that in the absence of patents, inventors would still invent for the reasons that artists do. I was highlighting the flaw in your logic.”

    There is no “flaw” in my logic. People would still invent without patents, just as people did before patents. And people will still make art without copyright, just like people did before copyright. And did you know you can dedicate your art to the public and void copyright? Yup. It’s all true.”

    The flaw in your logic is that while inventions would occur without a patent system, they would occur less and be shared less without one. Do you disagree with that thesis? I believe fewer inventions that are shared less frequently is a negative.

    Further, while an artist can certainly dedicate a work to the public, they have to affirmatively do so. If the author takes no steps, they are protected by copyright.

  37. Dr. Snowboard,
    As was uttered in O’Brother, Where Art Thou?
    “That makes no sense.”
    It is obvious you have nothing to say. Give it a rest. You are not fooling anybody.

  38. Malcolm, really, how dense are you?

    As I said, the story of the development of xerography was one in which AT EVERY STEP, the existence of patent protection was absolutely key to its continuation.

    I simply repeat: a crucial part of the story of the development of xerography was its original invention by independent inventor Chester Carlson. He conceived the idea in 1938, but didn’t persuade any larger entity to adopt it until 1944 — 8 years later, after it had been greatly progressed, through Carlson’s considerable efforts, to a point that its viability was vastly better established than when he first conceived it. Again, even after 8 years of such development, it was STILL a hard sell. How many companies would have chosen to sink 8 years of effort into such a venture, especially given that even at that stage it was still very far from a mature product? As an individual inventor, such an investment of effort could make sense, because the personal payoff could be great, and because one could convince oneself that the idea had merit. But how many companies would allow a researcher to spend that amount of time on such a highly speculative project, which literally, in fact, took 21 years to bring to fruition? Have you ever worked for a technology company and tried to persuade them to pursue an idea that is that far out?

    Really, is this point just too hard for you to get? Or just too inconvenient for your rather crackpot ideology?

    If you can’t come up with any kind of alternative scenario in which xerography could have come to fruition WITHOUT the existence of a patent to cover the initial, most speculative work done by Carlson, then you have nothing to support your view.

    Not, of course, that that is going to stop you from typing as if you do.

  39. I think the “small inventors” in this thread have done a good job of showing why they’re unemployable.

  40. “Do you honestly think that awarding patents to those universities can be harmful for the US economy and technological progress in US ?”

    It depends on the patents, of course.

    But I do not recall suggesting that awarding patents to small inventors or small universities or large universities was, per se, “harmful” to anything. So I’m not sure why are you asking my “honest” answer to your question unless you want to change the topic.

  41. Malcolm,

    just forget about us, small non-manufactoring inventors, for a second.

    Let’s take another example – US research universities like Stanford, for example.
    Do you honestly think that awarding patents to those universities can be harmful for the US economy and technological progress in US ?
    After all, they are patent trolls, just like the rest of us, small non-manufactories inventors, only bigger… None of them makes any products you can buy at Best Buy.
    BTW, all products sold at Best Buy are made in China, which makes the entire argument about domestic producing and non-producing entities look kind of ridiculous

    My daughter’s old IPod has it all written on its back side:
    “Proudly designed in California by Apple. Made in China.”

  42. “You can certainly advocate the Soviet system over the capitalist system”

    No thanks. I will point out, however, that your statement falls into the category of weak arguments known as “the false dichotomy.”

    “How long, in the absence of patents, might it have taken some other set of individuals, institutions, and companies to develop that long change of ideas and improvements which resulted in the fully functioning technology of the 419?”

    The goalpost keeps moving. The original claim was along the lines that giving patents to small independent non-manufacturing inventors was somehow necessary for innovation to occur. I think that claim has been debunked.

    That doesn’t mean that I’m “anti-patent.” It doesn’t mean that I’m opposed to awarding patents to independent non-manufacturing inventors (on the contrary!).

    It just means that I don’t believe that awarding patents to small independent non-manufacturing inventors is necessary for innovation to occur. I don’t believe that claim because the claim is false, and obviously so.

  43. Meant to say that the 914 was introduced in 1959 — 21 years after Carlson’s original conception of the idea.

  44. Malcolm, you said “Progress happens. Patents may help to speed things up but they are not a necessary ingredient. Neither is copyright.”

    As an artist you know that you create (whether your music or your visual art) because of the burning need to express something to the world, although I’ve heard of some artists who are eager to earn lots of money, for example Madonna, Elton John, Bruce Willis and the creators of “Pull My Finger Fred”.

    Apparently inventors are a less altruistic lot: all the inventors I have met want to turn their ideas into money.

    That said, you are right: progress happens even without independent inventors who have dreams of getting really rich. For instance, the Soviet Union functioned like a giant corporation where inventors were richly rewarded with warm handshakes and extra rations of gruel.

    You can certainly advocate the Soviet system over the capitalist system of rewarding inventors who have the creativity, drive, guts and maybe stupidity to leave a real job, take a loan and try to make something of their wild ideas. But first, be sure that you want to live in a place like the Soviet Union.

    Max:
    I do not know the stories of Dyson, Hickman and Haberman and whether they started as industrialists who later invented stuff, or rather started as “small independent non-manufacturing inventors” and succeeded. That is why I mentioned Amplazter. More recently, Geoff Hatton of Peterborough (UK) was reported as having invented a revolutionary “flying saucer” unmanned aircraft. To quote the Daily Mail “The age of the British amateur inventor toiling away in his humble garden shed lives on”.

  45. “LOL. I suppose “but for” Darwin, we’d all still be wondering how Noah fit all those animals on the ark. Progress happens. Patents may help to speed things up but they are not a necessary ingredient. Neither is copyright.”

    You know, you really should read the history of the development of xerography to get a sense of just how much patents did to promote the development of the xerox copier.

    To begin with, it took Carlson many years to develop the underlying technology from his first conception in 1938 — time he would have been quite unlikely to spend if he had no protection for those ideas. When he got a patent on the idea, and was in a protected position in could he could promote the idea, it still took him many further years to get anyone to see the potential in it and further develop it. Battelle Institute was the first, in 1944, but even after spending a good deal on development, Battelle likewise found it hard to find a manufacturer of a potential product who would properly promote it. Finally, a small company, Haloid, took a gamble (where Kodak had said no), and spent more time and money to improve the product. The first big commercial success was not until the introduction of the 914 by the then named Xerox Corporation.

    Now it’s pretty obvious that virtually none of this high risk investment and activity would have taken place without some very real protection of the underlying ideas at every step along the way. Carlson would not have spent his time and energy. Battelle would not have signed on if it couldn’t protect its own investment. Haloid would not have invested its resources without such protection.

    In short, this was a 21 year process of development that owed all its real protection and investment viability to patents. How long, in the absence of patents, might it have taken some other set of individuals, institutions, and companies to develop that long change of ideas and improvements which resulted in the fully functioning technology of the 419? I’m not even sure who would ever have had a reason to take such a tremendous gamble on such a long term process of development. Without fundamental protection of the ideas, the risk of failure, already great, would have rendered the investment in the ideas utterly irrational. It’s quite plausible that patents brought about xerography literally decades before it might otherwise have been developed.

    And what did the technology do for us? Really, the least consequential fact is how it improved the fortunes of Xerox. The far greater consequence was its impact on the easy communication of myriad forms of information, and the great efficiencies it introduced — which, of course, was precisely why it was so tremendously popular as a technology.

    Now, maybe this sort of impact means little to you, Malcolm, but to most of us, it’s exactly the sort of story that makes patents seem like an absolutely indispensable component of a innovative and productive economy.

  46. Jaglowski

    “If reader participation and contribution is important, then the sooner that this blog is moved to a Slashdot-like system with registration and moderation the better.”

    Yeah, because everyone knows that the Truly Serious and Important blogs use registration and moderation to ensure that only the Serious and Important Ideas are aired.

    Without registration, wow could Mr. Jaglowski possibly be assured that everyone is reading all the important and serious things that he has to say if common folks are allowed to be sarcastic? The thought of it! Why, it’s enough to dislodge one’s monocle.

  47. “in the technological arts, you place no value on speeding things up? Most people do.”

    Screeeeeeech. Put the goalpost back.

    “Without Carlson, the copying industry would be significantly behind where it is now.”

    Of course I won’t ask you to prove this strange statement because you can’t.

    “You appeared to be suggesting that in the absence of patents, inventors would still invent for the reasons that artists do. I was highlighting the flaw in your logic.”

    There is no “flaw” in my logic. People would still invent without patents, just as people did before patents. And people will still make art without copyright, just like people did before copyright. And did you know you can dedicate your art to the public and void copyright? Yup. It’s all true.

    Does this mean I have an anti-patent agenda? Nope. Maybe a little bit of an anti-”whining small inventor” agenda, but trust me I don’t spend much time promoting that.

  48. MaxDrei,

    Are you digging even deeper?, making yet more gris for the mill? I.e., does your comment above mean that, contemporaneously speaking, what you said (copy below) only goes for the U.S.A?

    “So, damages apportionment might lead to the demise of the ‘small independent non-manufacturing inventor working in high tech’? Is there any reason why anybody should be concerned about the loss of that particular species? Quite the opposite. If they were all to disappear, I can imagine it having an aggregate positive effect on the US economy….”

  49. UK independent inventors, (contemporary figures that is, not historical distant memories) with business acumen, who have risked their own money to create new product lines for today, include Hickman, Dyson, Haberman. It wasn’t so many years ago that cyclone vacuum cleaner inventor and manufacturer James Dyson was venting his negative view of the patent system. Now he has his own Chief Patents Counsel, advises Government, and is a sought-after client for people like me. I believe all three inventors have a positive view of patent attorneys. None of these three UK inventors falls in the category of “small independent non-manufacturing inventor working in high tech” (that has provoked so much ire above) because each had more than “an idea”. Each had a convincing (low tech) working prototype.

  50. Malcolm wrote “That’s nice. What about artists who reject copyright?”

    Their works are protected from creation. They need to register a copyright to use federal courts to enforce their copyrights, but all the same, they do not reject copyright.

    “Or who simply care less. But who still make art.

    You know: most artists.”

    I agree, but this statement has little to do with inventors.

    “”Without Carlson’s invention, and his development and promotion of the idea, how would Haloid or anyone else have developed xerography?”

    LOL. I suppose “but for” Darwin, we’d all still be wondering how Noah fit all those animals on the ark.”

    No one was looking to do what Carlson was doing when he did it. Would someone else have come along with a similar idea eventually – probably. However, Carlson invented it and worked his ass off to get a company to invest in it. Without Carlson, the copying industry would be significantly behind where it is now.

    “Progress happens. Patents may help to speed things up but they are not a necessary ingredient. Neither is copyright.”

    True, I could argue against a patent system as well as the next guy. But in the technological arts, you place no value on speeding things up? Most people do.

  51. The comments on this otherwise professional blog are becoming extraordinarily banal, as vividly evidenced by a supermajority of the comment chain above. If reader participation and contribution is important, then the sooner that this blog is moved to a Slashdot-like system with registration and moderation the better. At this point I rarely read the comments because the intellectual return on investment only continues to decline.

  52. Malcolm Mooney wrote “Are you comparing inventors to artists?”

    Are you saying that but for small independent inventors we wouldn’t be able to make copies of images on paper?”

    No. And I am not sure how you read that into what I wrote. I was perplexed by your seemingly nonsequitor response.

    You appeared to be suggesting that in the absence of patents, inventors would still invent for the reasons that artists do. I was highlighting the flaw in your logic.

    Now if you intended something else by your vague response, please enlighten me.

  53. “And of what possible significance is that to the point I’m making? Without Carlson’s invention, and his development and promotion of the idea, how would Haloid or anyone else have developed xerography?”

    You mis-characterized the history of the matter. I sought to correct it. I have no argument with Carlson’s achievement but you should acknowledge that Carlson did not create a viable product – it took Haloid’s money and engineering resources to turn the idea into a product.

    BTW, I am not anti-patent as a general proposition.

  54. “Artists have copyright protection to their works that extends 75 years past their deaths.”

    That’s nice. What about artists who reject copyright? Or who simply care less. But who still make art.

    You know: most artists.

    “Without Carlson’s invention, and his development and promotion of the idea, how would Haloid or anyone else have developed xerography?”

    LOL. I suppose “but for” Darwin, we’d all still be wondering how Noah fit all those animals on the ark.

    Progress happens. Patents may help to speed things up but they are not a necessary ingredient. Neither is copyright.

  55. A billion artists are rolling over in their graves.

    Shallow as usual, Malcolm.

    Artists have copyright protection to their works that extends 75 years past their deaths. If they ever do hit it big, no one should be able to rob them of a monetary payoff. In any case, even without a monetary payoff, no one will be able to deny that the work of art was the artist’s.

    But if an inventor discloses an idea without a patent on it, what does he get? Typically, not even the slightest credit — in fact the company who stole his idea will find a million ways to deny that the idea was really his. And of course there will be hordes of people like you and Joe Smith who will claim that it was obvious to begin with, or it really was someone else’s idea, or that it was a useless idea as presented by the inventor. Not only will the inventor NOT get any money, he won’t even be allowed any pride of invention, if you and Joe Smith were to have your way.

    And how many genuinely creative inventors would do it simply for pride? Look at the paucity of invention in Open Source if you want to see how little true innovation takes place when all you get is a pat on the back.

  56. Carlson was not looking for someone who would “manufacture” his invention. He was looking for someone who would invest their money and skills in turning his idea into a product. Carlson may have had the initial ideas but it was Haloid (Xerox) who turned it into a successful product.

    And of what possible significance is that to the point I’m making? Without Carlson’s invention, and his development and promotion of the idea, how would Haloid or anyone else have developed xerography? Why would Carlson have spent his time on the invention? Why would anyone have invested in his idea, if it could be easily stolen by others when proven successful?

    And of what possible import is the distinction you’re making between Carlson’s finding someone to “manufacture” his invention, and finding someone who will invest in a company to “turn his idea into a product”?

    Can you anti-patent people ever approach an argument honestly?

  57. “Are you comparing inventors to artists?”

    Are you saying that but for small independent inventors we wouldn’t be able to make copies of images on paper?

  58. Malocolm Mooney quoted and wrote “”What incentive would Carlson have had to devote this extraordinary amount of time and effort to his invention, were it not for patents?”

    A billion artists are rolling over in their graves.”

    Are you comparing inventors to artists? I admit that some inventions almost certainly came from a technologists’ intellectual curiousity, but many are driven by financial reasons including selling products and sometimes licensing their ideas. Chester Carlson was always interested ion licensing his idea and was one of the reasons he obtained a patent.

  59. “You are SOO ignorant that it would be simply a waste of my time to discuss anything with you”

    OK. I accept your offer. Don’t reply to my posts in the future and I won’t reply to yours.

  60. “What incentive would Carlson have had to devote this extraordinary amount of time and effort to his invention, were it not for patents?”

    A billion artists are rolling over in their graves.

  61. Little lemonade Joe,
    You are SOO ignorant that it would be simply a waste of my time to discuss anything with you
    Read the books, Joe, stop posting ignorant garbage here…

  62. “I guess I’d like to know how MaxDrei would respond to the example of Chester Carlson, who developed xerography for over 10 years before he was able to find a company who would manufacture his invention.

    What incentive would Carlson have had to devote this extraordinary amount of time and effort to his invention, were it not for patents?”

    Carlson was not looking for someone who would “manufacture” his invention. He was looking for someone who would invest their money and skills in turning his idea into a product. Carlson may have had the initial ideas but it was Haloid (Xerox) who turned it into a successful product.

  63. I guess I’d like to know how MaxDrei would respond to the example of Chester Carlson, who developed xerography for over 10 years before he was able to find a company who would manufacture his invention.

    What incentive would Carlson have had to devote this extraordinary amount of time and effort to his invention, were it not for patents?

    This is the thing for which the anti-patent crowd can never given any real account: incentive for innovation. Somehow, they imagine that, magically, innovation just keeps happening, even if people have absolutely no reason in the world to believe, and every reason not to believe, that there will be any payoff from their efforts.

    But while there may be magic in the minds of the MaxDrei’s of the world, there is no magic in the real world.

  64. MaxDrei wrote:
    “To posit that the US economy might, in aggregate, be better off without the “small independent non-manufacturing inventor working in high tech”

    Max, with all due respect, this is the most laughable sentence one can possibly find on Patently-O…
    Are you implying that an inventor who can’t or doesn’t want to be a manufacturer but simply comes up with some great new tech invention and wants to be paid for the effort via royalty route is a THREAT to US economy ???????
    Is Dean Kamen a threat to US economy ? Is Brent Townshend a threat to US economy ?
    Is Stanford university a threat to US economy ?
    You really are no different than little lemonade Joe who’s been brainwashed by the constant anti-patent drumbeat in the paid up mass media.

    Now, Max, a question for you and little lemonade Joe: what percentage of tech inventions come from non-manufatoring inventors (including US universities) vs. big incumbent tech manufacturers ?
    A second question: what is the percentage of royalties collected by those non-manufactoring inventors vs. royalties collected by big incumbent industry players (e.g. IBM)
    Answer these questions, Max, and you’ll see how riduculous you sound

  65. MaxDrei,

    You are pitiful! To say you are sorry, and then go straight on to deny ever denigrating the independent American inventing profession, is disingenuous to say the least. You fool nobody. Your only plausible defense could be that you are uneducated and don’t understand what denigrating means. You are not that stupid, but you are mean spirited and stubborn.

    According to our customs over here MaxDrei, you did not fess-up, recant or make amends. In fact, you came darn close to adding salt to the wound.

    Here is your most off-putting contribution:
    “So, damages apportionment might lead to the demise of the ‘small independent non-manufacturing inventor working in high tech’? Is there any reason why anybody should be concerned about the loss of that particular species? Quite the opposite. If they were all to disappear, I can imagine it having an aggregate positive effect on the US economy….”

    Then, you have the unmitigated gall to write:
    “Erez I agree that implying the independent non-manufacturing inventor ‘should’ not exist is indeed most strange. Who was it who did that then? Not me. In this thread (don’t youz agree Erez?) there are one or two hard-done-by people quick to take offence, and quick to read into observations stuff that isn’t there. It makes such people feel good, I guess, to debouch another rant onto Dennis’s pages. There are lots of passive readers hoping we can deliver thought-provoking (better not call it ‘provocative’) and uplifting stuff. Let’s all try to do that.”

    “Not me” my ass. LIE, DENY and COUNTER-ACCUSATIONS — that is the shoe that fits you to a T.

    If you want to attack me personally, go right ahead, have at it — I can take it and I’ll defend myself accordingly.

    But when you denigrate the independent American inventing profession en masse, comprising such American inventors as Lincoln, Franklin, Bell, Edison, the Wright brothers, Curtiss, Farnsworth and Amplatz, I for one won’t have it.

    No MaxDrei, you cannot psst in our American faces while telling us it was the gentle falling rain!

  66. (TM)
    Typical lawyerspeak fron Max- he just danced around his previous quote about inventors in the lower 13. Make him fess up to it, TM. Hey Max, King George is a creep.

  67. JOI(TM), I am sorry that my recent words are upsetting you. You write that my contributions are “off-putting”. But that’s nothing unusual, is it, for the small inventor? For the record:

    Yes, I do criticise the US patent system (I remember writing that it was “the worst” for private inventors).

    No, I do not tell lies.

    No, I do not denigrate the private inventor. (To posit that the US economy might, in aggregate, be better off without the “small independent non-manufacturing inventor working in high tech” doesn’t denigrate anybody. I don’t denigrate smokers when I say, just before taking a deep drag on my Marlboro, that healthcare costs might be lower if there were no smokers)

    You quote MM’s “wise” words. I am happy that you like his contributions. I do too. I agree with the quote. I will try harder, to “lighten up”.

  68. Re: Joe Smith.

    Above, on Jun 05, 2007 at 05:47 PM, Joe Smith wrote to MaxDrei and said:
    “MaxDrei
    I just want to say that I appreciate the clarity, thoughtfulness, relevance and maturity of your posts.”

    And, on Jun 06, 2007 at 05:34 PM Joe Smith wrote:

    “ ‘For instance, what do you say of Kurt Amplatzer?’

    “MaxDrei may want to answer for himself but my answer is:

    “That he is not an ‘independent non-manufacturing inventor’. [sic]”

    Hey Joe, would you like to jump in again and defend MaxDrei?
    Or will you let MaxDrei muck it up himself yet again?

    Incidentally Joe,

    According to the USPTO website, when Dr. Kurt Amplatz filed his earliest patent applications, he had no co-inventors, and Dr. Amplatz’s inventions were not initially assigned to any entity — they were his own independent inventions. After Dr. Amplatz completed his medical training, as an Independent American Inventor, he invented medical devices and later started two medical device manufactories.

    Joe, now don’t you feel a bit like a dummy butt hole for vainly trying to defend MaxDrei, aka “a blight in the IP community,” and mucking it up?

  69. MaxDrei (aka “a blight in the IP community”),

    Under Patently-O’s Friday, May 25th article titled
    “Patent Reform 2007: Apportionment of Damages,” on Monday May 28, 2007 at 09:38 AM, MaxDrei wrote the following:

    “So, damages apportionment might lead to the demise of the “small independent non-manufacturing inventor working in high tech”? Is there any reason why anybody should be concerned about the loss of that particular species? Quite the opposite. If they were all to disappear, I can imagine it having an aggregate positive effect on the US economy….”

    Today, just above, MaxDrei wrote:
    “Erez I agree that implying the independent non-manufacturing inventor “should” not exist is indeed most strange. Who was it who did that then? NOT ME [emphasis added]. In this thread (don’t youz agree Erez?) there are one or two hard-done-by people quick to take offence, and quick to read into observations stuff that isn’t there. It makes such people feel good, I guess, to debouch another rant onto Dennis’s pages. There are lots of passive readers hoping we can deliver thought-provoking (better not call it “provocative”) and uplifting stuff. Let’s all try to do that.”

    Incredible! MaxDrei, you insist on continuing your outrageous insult specifically directed to American inventors as you dig yourself deeper and deeper into you own brand of extremely tasteless abuse.

    In this thread on Jun 05, 2007 at 02:50 PM you wrote:
    “… As for Nuff Said, who can’t tell the difference between being verbally provocative and verbally offensive, MaxDrei wasn’t ‘advocating’ anything, just aiming to keep the debate running. But, as we say in Germany, ‘If the shoe fits….slip it on’. You just slipped it on, I guess.”

    VERBALLY PROVOCATIVE my ass — MaxDrei, you are the type to psst in our American faces while telling us it was the gentle falling rain!

    Here in the USA we have something different to say about where your fine fitting shoe ought to be, but I’ll leave you wondering about where that sun-don’t-shine location is lest I also be considered a lowlife scoundrel.

    After your “Verbally provocative” comment, on Jun 05, 2007 at 04:30 PM I wrote:

    “MaxDrei, please answer the question:
    Do you stand by your comment made on May 28, 2007 at 09:38 AM? …
    Is ‘the loss of that particular species’ i.e., ‘independent non-manufacturing inventor’, what you meant to advocate?”

    On Jun 05, 2007 at 04:42 PM you answered me with this weasel-worded crap:

    “Joi, if I understand you aright, you have two questions:
    1) Do I “stand by” my comment? My answer: Yes
    2) Do I “mean to advocate” something? My answer: No”

    On Jun 05, 2007 at 05:34 PM I wrote:

    “MaxDrei,
    Poppycock obfuscation.

    “Do you not realize how off-putting such an untoward collective aspersion is to America’s self-employed self-respecting inventors?

    “Do you not have enough moral fiber to simply stand up and say, yes, I misspoke — please excuse my crass, humiliating, insensitive and thoughtless remarks!?

    “Silly me — I used to think you had some redeeming personal qualities.

    “MaxDrei, you have fully earned the abuse you’ve been getting, and then some.”

    *-*-*-*-*

    If I, Just an ordinary inventor, offended any readers what don’t deserve offending, please forgive, but this mean-spirited MaxDrei bloke crossed the line in my book, and I repeatedly tried gently and discreetly (initially) to help him back to civility but, as all can see –
    MaxDrei lives to grossly denigrate American inventors;
    MaxDrei lives to criticize our patent system; and,
    MaxDrei lives by the rules: LIE, DENY and COUNTER-ACCUSATIONS

    MaxDrei, you have thus far revealed yourself to be a blight in the IP community.

    This is the last time I’ll ask you politely to fess-up, recant and make sorely warranted amends to the American IP community.

    Then maybe we “Can … lighten it up just a tad” and clear the air, as MM so wisely suggested. Then maybe we can discontinue these “Patently-O Comment Wars.”

    MaxDrei, you don’t really want to hear me when I’m nasty, do you?

    PS: Great INDEPENDENT AMERICAN INVENTORS, comprising Lincoln, Franklin, Bell, Edison, the Wright brothers, Curtiss, Farnsworth, etcetera, etcetera, often go on to lead our great Nation’s economy and government. (Note: This observation regarding “Great American Inventors” is also suitable for other Patently-O threads).

  70. Erez I agree that implying the independent non-manufacturing inventor “should” not exist is indeed most strange. Who was it who did that then? Not me. In this thread (don’t youz agree Erez?) there are one or two hard-done-by people quick to take offence, and quick to read into observations stuff that isn’t there. It makes such people feel good, I guess, to debouch another rant onto Dennis’s pages. There are lots of passive readers hoping we can deliver thought-provoking (better not call it “provocative”) and uplifting stuff. Let’s all try to do that.

  71. Quoth the ‘small inventor’:

    “Luke, dude, just give us a break…”

    Is that the royal we?

    “I don’t remember a single patent case of any significance for the high-tech industry in Europe.. Do you ?”

    I am at a loss to know what this is trying to say. Do you mean to say something along the lines of “I don’t remember any patents coming out of Europe that have had any notable effect on tech-tech industry”? Because what you’ve written could be answered with something like “Sure, any number of *US* patents have huge effects on high-tech industry in Europe by stopping them selling thing is the US”…, which hardly seems to square with the thrust of the rest of your comments.

    “One of two possibilities: nothing new comes out of old Europe (read it like this: any truly creative person eventually moves to America)”

    Yeah right. Smart people only live, or want to live in America [sic], and the inhabitants of the rest of the world are just a waste of carbon.

    “or patents in Europe are just a matter of public policy, not a property right…
    Probably both of the above…”

    Yes, patents ARE a matter of public policy in Europe. Just as they are in the US. Have you read the relevant portion of the US constituion recently? Take a look – you will see that “right” and public policy are not exclusive, they are on the contrary one and the same. The IP clause is unique in being the only place in the entire document that “right” is mentioned, and also unique in not only stating the aim of the provision – “To promote the progress of science”, it also states the *way* in which this will be done – to whit “by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries”. So giving a “right” of inventors to their discoveries is a pure matter of public policy – to further the progress of science. The is nothing mystical about the “right” involved.

    Cheers, Luke

  72. “For instance, what do you say of Kurt Amplatzer?”

    MaxDrei may want to answer for himself but my answer is:

    That he is not an “independent non-manufacturing inventor”.

  73. MaxDrei:
    Implying that “independent non-manufacturing inventor” should not exist is very strange. For instance, what do you say of Kurt Amplatzer? Do you think that humanity would have been better off if he never received patents?

    Luke:
    you are so correct

    Small Inventor:
    What would you say about US7219837 invented by some Dutch guy?

  74. Luke, dude, just give us a break…

    I don’t remember a single patent case of any significance for the high-tech industry in Europe.. Do you ?
    One of two possibilities: nothing new comes out of old Europe (read it like this: any truly creative person eventually moves to America) or patents in Europe are just a matter of public policy, not a property right…
    Probably both of the above…

  75. Gavis Mushnik said

    “Max, We don’t give a rat’s ass about your wonderful EPO system. It’s not relevent to us blokes over here in the lower 13( as in colonies). Shut up already, Max”.

    At the risk of rising to what might well be obvious trolling, a truly inane comment.

    Not all readers of this blog are from the little old US of A. Even if they were, it would be of little importance, because patent systems from outside the US are of great importance to many inside the US. And even if they were not of great importance, they should still be studied to see if anything can be learnt fom them to improve the US patent system. Or do you believe the US system is perfection itself, and thus beyond the ken of human improvement?

    Regards, Luke

  76. “The last 15 comments or so are good support for the idea of getting rid of anonymous comments.”

    Think of this thread as flypaper. If it weren’t for this thread, we might be meditating in the Tribunal thread. Hal Wegner’s head could explode and we’d never find out his reaction to the enactment of the new continuation rules.

  77. The last 15 comments or so are good support for the idea of getting rid of anonymous comments.

  78. Ommmmmm — Ommmmmm — & Ah men, and now it is broaching 3 hrs past 9 to 5… I’ll apply for my philusphoer unemployment in the morning. Nuff said fur now…

  79. “Now what now?
    Can you break the ice?”

    Let’s just join hands and meditate for a while.

  80. Malcolm, so I lightened up, and everyone clammed up.
    Did I fcrew up?
    Now what now?
    Can you break the ice?

  81. Malcolm, I’m just trying to catch up to 624+ edifying, funny, not funny, maddening, nothing, et al. posts everyone has been talking about of late. I got laid off from Saturday Night Live but I have to keep trying to be funny or else my unemployment runs out (ala “History of the World, Part I” Mel Brooks, who doubles as a standyup Philusipher)

  82. (;-) (Commenting is much harder now that those crazy letters are back.)

  83. The continuing saga of “Patently-O Comment Wars”:

    And now, enter, stage left, 119 minutes after the official cocktail ESTime:

    Mischievous Malcolm Mooney the Mad Moderator (no offense — I’m not mad at you).

  84. Can we lighten it up just a tad?

    [grabs jasmine-scented air freshener and sprays furiously]

  85. Joe,
    One, of course, appreciates what one is.

    Your comments never did make much sense. You are in a miserable dead-end job and you merely want to share your misery. No wonder you don’t like inventing, inventors or have anything positive to contribute to the IP community in general with your comments. You comments reek of sour grapes:

    link to en.wikipedia.org

    To add to that, now, you are a “collaborator.”

    As “Guess Who?” wrote to Verisimilidude:
    “Why don’t you ask Joe Smith? You and he are cut from the same cloth, cry babies stuck in unrewarding corporate engineering jobs. You’ve sold your soul for a weekly pay check and $100 for your invention, and, oh yes, a plaque. Get over it. Buy a Friday night six-pack, suck it up and make the best of life you can, but please don’t disparage the innovation of others for taking the path less traveled and trying to promote progress.”

    Joe, as I said to you before, my suggestion is that you say less, read more, and try to understand reality rather than look for every opportunity to foist your naïve negative opinions on others. I think I speak for the majority when I say; we’d like to see you develop a healthier IP attitude – you’ll be happier and live longer, and you’ll thank me later. Take two Aspirina and find a good shrink in the morning — I’m sure your employer’s health coverage covers it even if you’d didn’t invent anything.

  86. MaxDrei

    I just want to say that I appreciate the clarity, thoughtfulness, relevance and maturity of your posts.

  87. MaxDrei,
    Poppycock obfuscation.

    Do you not realize how off-putting such an untoward collective aspersion is to America’s self-employed self-respecting inventors?

    Do you not have enough moral fiber to simply stand up and say, yes, I misspoke — please excuse my crass, humiliating, insensitive and thoughtless remarks!?

    Silly me — I used to think you had some redeeming personal qualities.

    MaxDrei, you have fully earned the abuse you’ve been getting, and then some.

  88. Joi, if I understand you aright, you have two questions:
    1) Do I “stand by” my comment? My answer: Yes
    2) Do I “mean to advocate” something? My answer: No

  89. MaxDrei, please answer the question:
    Do you stand by your comment made on May 28, 2007 at 09:38 AM? On that date you wrote:

    “So, damages apportionment might lead to the demise of the “small independent non-manufacturing inventor working in high tech”? Is there any reason why anybody should be concerned about the loss of that particular species? Quite the opposite. If they were all to disappear, I can imagine it having an aggregate positive effect on the US economy.”

    Is “the loss of that particular species” i.e., “independent non-manufacturing inventor”, what you meant to advocate?

  90. Er, who’s “we” Gravis? You and who else, pray? Most of my work is for clients of US nationality, and judging by my bank balance they certainly do give a whole lot of rats’ arses for advice about patent law outside of the homeland. But(sighs) they’re mostly those amoral patent attorney firms, and those wicked corporate patent departments. Are you saying that those who write patent applications for a living have no business being in this blog. Are they to vacate, and leave it to the ranters? And, Lionel Hutz, please don’t write the nonsense that “anyone” would agree with you. I, for one, wouldn’t.

  91. Max,

    We don’t give a rat’s ass about your wonderful EPO system. It’s not relevent to us blokes over here in the lower 13( as in colonies). Shut up already, Max.

  92. Malcolm,

    You’re in denial or you’re being disingenuous. I was not engaging in hyperbole (or much, maybe only 47% of your posts contain such attacks). I include sarcastic responses and snidely disregarding someone else’s statements as implied ad hominem attacks. Anyone who reviews your posts over the last two months would agree.

    This is all I have to say. I don’t want to get into anything resembling a flame war, and perhaps I should not have said anything on the subject, but I could not believe Maxdrei’s comment.

  93. So: “Sometimes MaxDrei sounds just like Malcolm Mooney” ????
    Another great laugh. How I just love this site. And thanks Dennis for re-installing the anti-robot cut-out. Keeps the spam out. As for Nuff Said, who can’t tell the difference between being verbally provocative and verbally offensive, MaxDrei wasn’t “advocating” anything, just aiming to keep the debate running. But, as we say in Germany, “If the shoe fits….slip it on”. You just slipped it on, I guess.

  94. “most of his posts contain explicit or implied ad hominem attacks”

    Now that’s simply not true.

    Here’s an interesting question: if I were to “imply” in my response that Lionel was being dishonest (as opposed to merely confused or careless), would that be an “ad hominem attack”?

  95. Greg Aharonian has some really insightful comments on his mailing list, but (1) he has that weird fixation on copyright/patent convergence, (2) he can occasionally fly off the handle about some apparently obvious patent where he has not really studied the claims and the claims are not in fact obvious, and (3) like Mooney he sometimes dilutes his insight with snide remarks.

  96. Max Drei wrote “I am bemused by the hatemail directed at Malcolm Mooney. He seems to me full of good old English dry wit, and all the better for it, these days.”

    I was not going to post on the content (or lack thereof) of Malcolm’s posts, but I have to respond to this.

    You’re pulling my leg with the above aren’t you? No offense to Malcolm, but I heard wittier comments than his in Tenth grade English, and I am American.

    I generally do not have a problem with Malcolm, but he does lessen the signal to noise ratio on this site with his “I think I’m clever” comments. If he were actually funny, I might be OK with it. Further, most of his posts contain explicit or implied ad hominem attacks and then he has the gall to chastise others for doing the same to him.

    Basically, he’s kind of a dick, not in the Triumph way, but in the Bill O’Reilly way.

    Some of his comments are insightful, and I wish thiose were a greater proportion of his posts. Sometimes he demonstrates a lack of familiarity with patent prosecution, which makes me think he is either a litigator or an academic.

  97. Re my quip that Aharonian = Dennis’ sock puppet, of course that was a joke. I did see Greg speak at Boalt Hall once and he used a four letter word for doodie in front of a Federal Judge. I remember bracing myself for the collapse of civilization but, strangely enough, even the 87 year old granny in the front row managed not to faint.

  98. I’ve never met Greg Aharonian but with all due respect he predates Patently-O by many years. He was posting when I was a patent puppy and that’s a long time ago.

  99. I believe the personal attacks are unnecessary and degrade the value and tone of this blog. They tend to move the discussion completely off topic and deteriorate into “oh yeah, well you are so dumb…”

    That said, Patently-O has excellent posts and mostly excellent discussions that I find very useful despite the minor annoyances noted above.

    And, Greg Aharonian is very real – he spoke at a local IP meeting a few years ago. Perhaps Dennis could ask him to do a guest post if there is interest. He spoke before a lot of the proposed rule changes and actual changes the USPTO asserts were implemented to increase quality – might be interesting to hear if he believes these are/could be effective.

  100. Malcolm Mooney leads the pack with 625 comments.

    Kind of like “Vi@gra and other erection medications lead the pack in total volume of spam.”

    I’d have started a Patent Lawyer Bulletin Board a while back, but, as I’ve mentioned previously, I’d prefer to retire as soon as possible, rather than continue to ride . . .

  101. Sometimes MaxDrei sounds exactly like Malcolm Mooney…
    Well, you never know who is who on the Internet these days.
    Maybe they are the same person ?

    On the other topic, most of patent attorneys here are not advocates of invention -they just make a good living filing papers for their corporate masters..

    They couldn’t care less about the constitutionality of the EBay decision and the future of invention in America

  102. I for one am not bemused:

    Statistically speaking, I find remarkable the intensity and frequency of interest expressed regarding Malcolm’s comments contrasted with the lack of intensity and frequency of either serious or humorous comment concerning in the 25 word observation above with this introduction,
    Put simply in 25 words:

    The Supremes’ eBay ruling reserves a patent’s “exclusive Right” for big businesses while denying a patent’s grant of “the exclusive Right” to independent non-manufacturing inventors.

    Also, I have a question for MaxDrei:
    Do you stand by your comment made on May 28, 2007 at 09:38 AM ?

    MaxDrei on that date wrote:
    “So, damages apportionment might lead to the demise of the “small independent non-manufacturing inventor working in high tech”? Is there any reason why anybody should be concerned about the loss of that particular species? Quite the opposite. If they were all to disappear, I can imagine it having an aggregate positive effect on the US economy.”

    The Supreme’s severely limit patent Rights for independent non-manufacturing inventors and MaxDrei advocates “the loss of that particular species.”

    MaxDrei, I find the offensiveness in what you wrote remarkable.
    Is “the loss of that particular species” i.e., “independent non-manufacturing inventor”, what you meant to advocate?

    I will reserve further comment at this time lest is say something offensive.

  103. I am bemused by the hatemail directed at Malcolm Mooney. He seems to me full of good old English dry wit, and all the better for it, these days. But then, I’m from Europe so I wouldn’t understand American ideas of what’s rude and what’s polite. Maybe it’s because he seems so English that so many dislike his offerings so much. Professional jealousy perhaps? Some of his detractors, on the other hand, are downright offensive. If he stops posting, this site is going to lose much of its fizz, and I can’t understand why anybody should think otherwise. BTW Aharonian is surely real. He runs his own almost daily internet newsletter and is always on about the quality of his searching service offer.

  104. “Another well known guy is Greg Aharonian, but unfortunately he doesn’t post here”

    Maybe Greg Aharonian is another one of Dennis’ sock puppets.

  105. Mr. Slonecker,

    I agree that that there are some solid, “professional” comments on this site.

    What I meant to say is that I think it’s silly to evaluate every single blog comment made by a lawyer according to the rules of professional responsibility or something similar.

    I’m also anxiously awaiting the Supreme Court’s decision in Zoltek.

  106. Anonymous,

    While I am quite sure “that calling blog comments a professional activity is pretty silly” is a widely held view, I have noted comments made on this site have found their way into several journal articles. If nothing else, it seems to indicate that the site is viewed by some as fertile ground for helpful (and perhaps even insightful) information.

    By the way, the reasons for anonymity are readily understood. That having been said, I do believe it is important when behind a wall of anonymity to not fall prey to the temptation of engaging in personal conduct that falls outside the bounds of respectful debate.

    As an aside, I understand that the SCOTUS will be considering this Friday the cert petition filed by the patentee in Zoltek v. United States, and that its decision will be announced in its Orders list next Monday. While the case arose in the relatively arcane world of government contracts, I can think of few issues more fundamental than the status of patents (and by implication copyrights) as “property”.

  107. “Every so often this site hosts a fairly high-level debate in the comments, and I think that the frequent commenters on this site should try not to stand in the way of that sort of thing.”

    Maybe Dennis should have some sort of symbol that he can place above certain posts which indicate that only serious people are allowed to comment on those topics. Suitable symbols might include a Golden Crown, a fancy looking diploma or an ornately carved pipe.

  108. I second the “parody” call. Mooney’s posts are inane, but no more so than those of many other posters, anonymous and otherwise.

    In resopnse to Mr. Slonecker and others, I prefer to post anonymously because I have questions, unvarnished thoughts, and ideas I like to bounce off of other people who may have something intelligent to say in response, but I’d prefer not to have an easily accessible, permanent record tying my name to every half-baked thought I’ve ever had. I appreciate Mr. Slonecker’s reasons for signing his name to his comments, but for myself I’d prefer not to put my professional reputation on the line every time I have a dumb question. I try to resist the temptation to say other sorts of things (e.g. personal attacks) that most people only say when they don’t expect to be held accountable for saying them.

    As regards professionalism, I think that calling blog comments a professional activity is pretty silly. This is a great site, Dennis is certainly very “professional” in maintaining it, and he can properly call his work “professional.” Some well-regarded practitioners (I’ve noticed this on other blogs as well) post on sites like these as part of their practice of keeping current and thinking about things like this. But one of the great things about the internet is that if you want, you can check your law license at the door and tell people what you really think about cases and proposed legislation without having to worry about what your clients or your supervisors think, so long as you don’t commit libel, breach your client’s confidences, or do something similar.

    That said, I think that some of the comments on this site are ill-advised. Some commenters post ad hominems (I’ve been guilty of this), spam, off-topic rants, etc. Others comment extensively about the merits of judges and cases without actually reading the cases. Others contribute to the degeneration of comment threads into baseless debates about whether corporations or “garage inventors” do more for the economy. These aren’t “unethical” practices, or grounds for complaints to the ABA, or a bad thing for the profession, in my view. Rather, they’re just transgressions of internet norms. As such, they’re properly policed by (1) other commenters ignoring these types of posts, (2) other commenters criticizing these types of posts, or (3) Dennis deleting or warning the worst offenders. Every so often this site hosts a fairly high-level debate in the comments, and I think that the frequent commenters on this site should try not to stand in the way of that sort of thing.

  109. “In 1999 to 2001?, I remember there was one guy who dominated each Internet patent discussion, no matter where it took place. For example, at link to lists.washlaw.edu
    I think it was someone named something like Ron Bailey.”

    It must be Ronald Riley – a well known figure in the patent world.

    link to web.mit.edu
    http://www.piausa.org

    Another well known guy is Greg Aharonian, but unfortunately he doesn’t post here

  110. “Some recurring themes in these canons are that attorneys should be temperate and dignified in professional conduct (see NYS EC 1-5), and that attorneys should avoid condescension toward, and treat other lawyers with dignity and respect (see NYS EC 1-7).”

    Yes I know the legal profession has such canons and expectations. They sometimes serve to stifle legitimate debate. In particular, I think they serve to protect Judges from criticism from lawyers who are the people best placed to comment on a Judge’s competence. In my area, a judge can be criticized for speeding or getting drunk or swearing but not for making a bone dumb decision that costs someone a hundred million dollars. A little more sunshine would be a good thing for the Judiciary.

  111. “eating Spanish clementines”

    Obscure literary reference? Maybe I don’t want to know …

  112. “… it nevertheless contaminates any professionalism the blog may have with unprofessional conduct.”

    Okay, I call parody. And I fell for it.

    “Mooney’s is the type of conduct that I have not observed in ANY other patent attorney when interacting with another patent attorney in a public forum.”

    Just so the record is clear, I comment on other forums where attorneys are rampant and we actually use very very naughty words in our comments on a regular basis. So, let us all weep and clutch our pearls as we contemplate what that portends for the future of American jurisprudence, not to mention the futures of impressionable young children who may be reading those comments.

  113. What if Malcom Mooney were Dennis Crouch’s alter ego, superhero style that is. This would explain the large number of postings…the Internet makes it possible!

  114. Joe Smith–

    Dennis did indeed state in the original comment that both Michael Slonecker and “Malcolm Mooney” are in fact patent attorneys. I can only believe, especially insofar as Mr. Slonecker is concerned, that Dennis somehow knows that the posts are coming from the actual Michael Slonecker, or else Dennis would not be so irresponsible as to attribute in this public forum the comments to the actual Mr. Slonecker.

    The same sort of logic applies in any other case where Dennis has identified the post as coming in fact from an attorney–Lemley, Wegner, etc..

    I still believe that Mooney’s posts evidence a problem for the profession. If he is indeed an attorney, as Dennis has indicated, then he is subject to the canons and rules of ethics of whatever jurisdictions he practices before. Some recurring themes in these canons are that attorneys should be temperate and dignified in professional conduct (see NYS EC 1-5), and that attorneys should avoid condescension toward, and treat other lawyers with dignity and respect (see NYS EC 1-7). This all has to do with maintaining respect for the legal system, of which lawyers are an integral part. And it is especially pertinent in a forum such as this blog, to which members of the public are invited to, among other things, view interactions among and between patent attorneys.

    By these standards, much of Mooney’s conduct on this blog has been unprofessional. Assuming that Mooney conducts his professional activities in an appropriate manner, his/her conduct on this board would tend to indicate to me that Mooney regards his/her contributing to this blog as an unprofessional activity. Although such a characterization would not in my opinion be easily be supported, given that it is verified that Dennis and others here are in fact patent attorneys, it nevertheless contaminates any professionalism the blog may have with unprofessional conduct. That is what brings the blog down and limits its utility as a forum for professional discussion and expression.

    By the way, Mooney’s is the type of conduct that I have not observed in ANY other patent attorney when interacting with another patent attorney in a public forum.

  115. While trying to my best whose on first impression – I note that me has not always been, well, “me.”

  116. “Dennis himself is a patent attorney, and has vouched for the bona fides of others contributing to this blog as being patent attorneys and even employees or officers of the patent office itself”

    Dennis does not vouch for any of us and bears no responsibility for what we post. We are however all Dennis’ guests here and I try to keep that in mind.

  117. Top Twenty-Five Patently-O Comment Posters:

    Count “Name”
    624 Malcolm Mooney
    186 MaxDrei
    183 Joe Smith
    161 stepback
    148 Michael L. Slonecker
    135 SF
    135 CaveMan
    121 anonymous
    106 me
    102 pds
    88 anon
    74 Lionel Hutz
    70 small guy
    69 metoo
    66 Fredric Goldstein
    65 Mark Perdue
    65 Alun Palmer
    62 Tom Kulaga
    62 softwarevisualization
    61 Alan McDonald
    59 Gideon
    54 johng
    52 Tom
    50 small inventor
    45 Paul Cole

    As of June 1, there have been 1701 separte names used and 7000+ comments. The top-25 names represent 41% of all comments.

  118. (1) The blogging software made some change that now allows more spam. I’m working on correcting that problem.
    (2) I see that I mistakenly typed ASS insted of RSS — I deny any Freudian implications. (I also called Mooney Ascorbic and at the same time enjoy eating Spanish clementines.)

  119. “But I believe that, unfortunately for this forum, contributions like some of Mooney’s do serve to lessen the appropriateness of the forum, and thereby restrict the dialogue that occurs herein.”

    Some of us can only dream of being as “appropriate” as you, Peter. We can only imagine the brilliance that would pour out of your keyboard if your “dialogue” wasn’t “restricted” by the presence of those common people who lack your immeasurable gravity.

  120. “Just as I sign documents submitted to agencies and the courts using my actual name, I believe that any opinion posted to a professional blog should reflect likewise.”

    I encourage anyone who believes the above quote to continue using his/her “real name.” I respectfully submit that such a belief does not reflect the reality of the internets and information-sharing in 2007.

    In the real world, the most successful blogs thrive on two things: (1) a steady supply of interesting posts from a thoughtful blog owner, and (2) a flow of information from commenters that is as free as possible while prohibiting spam.

    But if you want to read an endless stream of “opinions” written by non-anonymous legal “professionals,” I don’t recommend reading the comments section of a blog.

    As for the format of the threads, I strongly prefer the current format unless and until the comments regularly exceed 200 per thread. I think there is very little to be gained by introducing sub-threading at present. And ranking of comments has always seemed to me merely an invitation for the most petty to indulge themselves.

    That said, I recognize that Dennis is probably itching to try the latest technology …

  121. Nuff said–

    These concerns are some of the reasons why I am judicious with public comments in general, and try to limit my comments on this blog to only a few particular areas.

    However, since Dennis himself is a patent attorney, and has vouched for the bona fides of others contributing to this blog as being patent attorneys and even employees or officers of the patent office itself, I consider this forum to arguably be one that has the potential to promote genuine professional development (along with CLE’s, roundtables, and IP-law association meetings, etc.).

    As such, comments made by commenters on this board would be given some latitude when considering the need for full and frank discussion among members of the profession, in an appropriate forum, to advance the development of the profession.

    Of course, client interests should always be protected, which precludes some disclosures. But that doesn’t mean that there is no room left for genuine and worthwhile discussion.

    And YES, I am just as paranoid as anybody else out there, because I often see myself using people’s own statements against them.

    I also don’t believe for a second that the origin of a comment is reasonably protected by this site, or any other blog for that matter. If it were serious enough, the anonymity code to which Dennis adheres would no doubt fall like a house of cards–it would just cost a bit more.

    And as far as offering an opinion goes on this site, opinions get offered all the time. Consider that if you are a practitioner, you likely belong to one or more professional IP association, and that that association likely prepares and submits things like comments on proposed rules and amicus briefs. In some cases, if you don’t specifically opt out, you are in–that is, your name is effectively on the document, and you have effectively endorsed its contents–comments, conclusions, and opinions included.

    I know that this is an oversimplification, but I think the point that this blog can provide an appropriate forum for discussion among and between attorneys, inventors, the general public, and PTO employees/officers, is valid.

    As a final thought, that is one reason why I don’t like posts like many of Mooney’s–because they tend to cast doubt on the appropriateness of the forum. I have toyed with the idea of setting up a blog that was restricted to those individuals with a registration number and to those posts originating from the PTO, or some other such combination. It would have its advantages–but this type of forum also has its advantages. But I believe that, unfortunately for this forum, contributions like some of Mooney’s do serve to lessen the appropriateness of the forum, and thereby restrict the dialogue that occurs herein.

  122. It was interesting to see how quickly the spam links showed up after Dennis turned off the whatchamacallit.

    I would be interested in seeing the list of the top ten posters. (No need to offer an opinion on the quality of the posts.)

  123. I also wonder about the disappearance of the alphanumeric combination, and if posts like the recent one made by “pavlonactigs” are in fact submitted by machine, or otherwise the product of a mass distribution.

  124. Of course, I suspect some contributors may be involved in ongoing patent litigation. Attorneys in general advise clients to say nothing, lest ye put thy foot in thy proverbial mouth, and never, never put anything in writing. To have one’s comments scrutinized by counsel at $360 or so an hour could quickly become prohibitive. Moreover, who ever heard of a patent attorney doing anything until the last minute? So, anonymity it is, with the trust that anonymous comments will remain so. As they used to say during WWII (or was that WWI?) loose lips sick ships.

  125. I am quite surprised that my above comment was added without having to enter the alphanumeric combination that has always been a requirement. Have the procedures for posting to the site been changed?

  126. Just as I sign documents submitted to agencies and the courts using my actual name, I believe that any opinion posted to a professional blog should reflect likewise. It has two effects that I think are positive in any discussion among professionals. First, it puts a tight rein on anyone with proclivities for engaging in personal, ad hominen responses. Second, it forces one to proffer thoughtful opinions that he/she is prepared to defend.

    I stand behind whatever I may offer, but am always open to entertaining new ideas that I may have failed to consider. I learned a long time ago that the amount of time one has practiced should never be relied upon as determinative of whether or not the practitioner is correct on the law and its nuances. Countless times I have been forced to reconsider my positions based upon input from relative neophytes, and countless times my positions have changed based upon their input.

    As for Mr. Mooney, his (or her) opinions can be quite insightful when accompanied with an explanation of the basis for such opinions. Of course, cordial and respectful discussion is a necessity for any professional blog.

  127. “Mooney could be but one of a number of noms-de-plume used by Dennis himself.”

    [cue up Beethoven's Fifth Symphony]

  128. I second the suggestion for a separate Malcolm Mooney thread. His/her comments are increasingly obfuscatory, childish, and argumentative. The valuable content contributed by Mooney is in my opinion vastly outweighed by the burden placed on the reader to both divine that content, and to navigate around the personally-directed comments made by, and responding to, Mooney.

    And I have never found Mooney’s comments to be funny in any way, just tedious–a kind of infantile and unsophisticated humor, if there is any at all.

    But for all we readers know, Mooney could be but one of a number of noms-de-plume used by Dennis himself. Although I highly doubt it–but if so, he’s done a pretty good job of creating an alter-ego.

    I also use my real name, and I am curious to hear reasons from other practitioners regarding their use of pseudonyms. I can think of a bunch of reasons myself, but I also find what I think are better ways of satisfying the underlying concerns.

    My main personal concern with blogging is that it is difficult to make a cogent post having any real depth, because that would be the end product of a lot of time writing and editing. It would take as much time as preparing an opinion, court briefs, a statement of claim or response, etc.. And few people I know have much time to devote to a non-paying activity like blogging.

    Having said that, I do find some of the discussion helpful, and can only hope that my meager contributions have been helpful to others.

  129. This SCOTUS has a rather interesting manner of interpreting US Constitution:
    they always side with the big business on any issue…
    Take a look at the Kelo vs. New London decision, for example…
    It has generated much outrage all over America.
    Some people even tried to evict one of the SCOTUS judges form his own house in the wake of this decision…
    At least those judges own homes so they can understand how it feels to be kicked out of your own house.
    But unfortunately SCOTUS judges don’t have patents in their name, so they cannot possibly understand the feelings of small patent holders, as well as the long-term consequences of such decisions

  130. As long as the Fed. Circuit continues to produce opinions like Liebel and Dippin Dots, practitioners will need a forum to vent their frustrations.

    I would bet that the number of submitted comments is directly proportional to the absurdity of each case’s reasoning. That being the case, I predict that this blog has a very bright future.

    Of all the proposed improvements, the “threading” feature would be most useful for me.

    Also, a user-specific /IGNORE function would make the blog much more readable for me.

  131. I also use my real name, but perhaps I’m not in the top ten.

    I tend to agree with “Just an ordinary Inventor”. I also doubt the constitutionality of the eBay case.

    As for the format here, I don’t think that there are so many comments that it is a problem (yet). I can see the merit of a separate Malcolm Mooney thread, though!

  132. Its unfortunate that quantity has eclipsed quality in regard to posts and that Mooney is being encouraged…

  133. This is a great blog. Since I practice solo in the middle of nowhere, it gives me the chance to learn about changes/additions/deletions/revisions to the law. Not much patent coverage on CNN Headline News.

    It would be helpful to me to have a category for prosecution Q&A’s or updates on changes to office practice. Nothing controversial — just the changes that flow through without much explanation or advice. In the last few years, for example, the following has happened:

    1. Petitions disppeared from the patent application filing. How come?
    2. Designation of Power of Attorney disappeared from the PTO Declaration form and a separate form is now provided. How come?
    3. Big changes were made to the format of Appeal Briefs. I had to read a zillion pages of the Federal Register. Maybe someone could post the Dummies Guide to Appeal Briefs.
    4. The drawing standards seem to have been relaxed. Are the text size limits still enforced and the catercorner targets still required? I’ve been using reference numerals that are less than .125″ without objection.
    5. Am I the only one still filing by mail? Where can I learn to file online without having to fly to New York for a 2 day seminar?

    I can get my Word questions, Autocad questions and wireless networking questions answered at various online message boards and discussion groups. Why not one for explaining to me how I file a response to a restriction requirement or a supplemental IDS online ?

    Thanks in advance from one of your regular readers with a Reg. # under 30K. BTW, I use my real name.

  134. “Three comment related projects:

    . . .

    A comment ASS feed. So that you can more easily follow the most recent comments. (Thanks to Adam Kessel for this idea)”

    Is this a typo? I sometimes think of Malcolm Mooney’s stream of comments as a “comment ASS feed,” but I can’t imagine why anyone would want to follow it more easily.

  135. Alan McDonald,

    “There is nothing unconstitutional in not using a power available.”
    Yes, you are absolutely right about that.

    But Congress DID exercise that Power, and we do have patents consistent with the Constitutional provision therefor.

    Alan, I take it you agree with the meaning of “the exclusive Right” as explained above.

    The remainder of your Comment begs the Constitutional points I made above, namely:
    “However, STATUTES CANNOT AMEND THE CONSTITUTION — THAT IS THE PLAIN UNAMBIGUOUS MEANINGS OF ARTICLE V* & ARTICLE VI, CLAUSE 2** OF THE CONSTITUTION.”

    * The Constitution can only be amended in accord with ARTICLE V:

    “The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress; Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses in the Ninth Section of the first Article; and that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.”

    ** According to the SUPREMACY CLAUSE, no statute shall beg the Constitution, ARTICLE VI … Clause 2:

    “This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.”

    (On a personal note: Going back to a case started in 1978 in my usual role as Plaintiff, the pre-trial issues in my second federal intellectual property lawsuit turned on federal supremacy versus New York State law; it became a Landmark case)

  136. “Congress shall have the power to…”

    Just because it can does not mean is has to.

    There is nothing unconstitutional in not using a power available.

    If Congress passes an amendment to 35 USC to require injunctions if infringement is found, the Supremes would look at that law and find that Congress had the power to do so and enforce the injunction. But such a law does not exist and the Supremes interpreted current law as making injunctions optional, which Congress had every right to do.

  137. In closing for this evening:

    The Supremes in their eBay decision, and defenders of the eBay decision, cite mere statutes for their authority.

    However, STATUTES CANNOT AMEND THE CONSTITUTION — THAT IS THE PLAIN UNAMBIGUOUS MEANINGS OF ARTICLE V & ARTICLE VI, CLAUSE 2 OF THE CONSTITUTION.

    For the above reasons and elsewhere, it is plain to see that the eBay ruling is a corruption of the Constitution.

  138. ABSTRACT

    Put simply in 25 words:

    The Supremes’ eBay ruling reserves a patent’s “exclusive Right” for big businesses while denying a patent’s grant of “the exclusive Right” to independent non-manufacturing inventors.

    Joe, No trout you:

    I am sorry to hear that you’ve closed you mind to discussion.
    Perhaps Constitutional analysis it is beyond your interest.

    However, three Clauses of Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution contain specific, enumerated limits, as you call them, “absolutist positions.” The limits in these three Clauses have never been amended.

    The limit in Clause 17 is: “100”:
    The limit in Clause 12 is: “two”;
    The limit in Clause 8 is: “one”;

    It has never even been suggested that the Framers of the Constitution meant for these three specific limits to be interpreted in any way other than naturally (also ala Phillips v AWH), by the numbers; and so, historically, until the eBay ruling, they have been interpreted literally.

    Clause 17: “The Congress shall have Power …
    “To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the Acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, …” (emphasis added).
    Washington, D.C. is 68 sq. miles; “ten Miles square” = 10 x 10 = 100 sq. miles.

    Clause 12: “The Congress shall have Power …
    “To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years”.
    Congress’s military appropriations have not exceeded two years.

    Clause 8: “The Congress shall have Power …
    “To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;”
    The “exclusive Right” means the Right to exclude all but “one,” the inventor. (Congress by statute gave inventors the further right to formally assign their patents.)
    (According to Merriam-Webster, the adjective “exclusive” means:
    1 a : excluding or having power to exclude b : limiting or limited to possession, control, or use by a single individual or group.)

    The Exclusive Right But Only for a Limited Time:
    According to the Constitution and Congress’ constitutional patent statutes pursuant thereof, in a court proceeding, wherein a patent has been (i) upheld as valid and (ii) held infringed, absent the grant of a license from the patent owner, and absent exceptional circumstances such as health concerns, military defense concerns and the like, the right to exclude others from making, using or selling the invention has been secured via a patent injunction. A patent was and is meant to be a limited monopoly.

    However, the exclusive Right is secured only for a limited time. The Framers gave Congress the Power to control exclusive Rights by giving it discretion to determine the length of time for the Inventor to enjoy the exclusive Right of the patent injunction. And the Framers gave Congress the Power to grant different kinds of patents, e.g., Design patents.

    Thus, by determining the length of the “limited Times,” and the nature of patents, Congress can control the effect a patent has on promoting Progress. There is no ambiguity in the meaning of “exclusive”; the patent owner is the only one with the Right to make, use or sell his invention for a limited amount of time which is to be determined by Congress.

    The Exclusive Right is a Settled Expectation:
    Historically, every patentee’s exclusive Right to his invention, via a patent injunction, has been a well “settled expectation.” The USSC’s MercExchange v eBay decision lacks authority to change this. Connolly v. Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. 457 U.S 1, 222, 106 S.Ct. 1018, 89 L.Ed.2d l66 (1986) held that:

    “… legislation readjusting rights and burdens is not unlawful solely because it upsets otherwise settled expectations.”

    The eBay decision is not “unlawful solely because it upsets” many inventors’ settled expectation of “the exclusive Right to their…Discoveries.” However, the eBay ruling lacks any prerequisite Amendment for authority to alter the Constitution which unequivocally provides for an Inventor to have the exclusive Right to his invention.

    From its inception, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, CAFC, interpreted the patent injunction issue correctly — the CAFC’s position was/is solidly founded in the Constitution. All fair-minded patent professionals would agree that there are problems with our patent system. However, most shudder at this topsy-turvy turn of eBay events.

    The Supremes’ Merc v eBay ruling is a corruption of our Constitution. The Supremacy Clause in the Constitution mandates that it should not stand.

    Put simply in 25 words:

    The Supremes’ eBay ruling reserves a patent’s “exclusive Right” for big businesses while denying a patent’s grant of “the exclusive Right” to independent non-manufacturing inventors.

    * * * * *

  139. “Perhaps you can’t weigh in on what I allege are the un-Constitutional eBay issues.”

    I had chosen not to. My wife likes to remind me that I am not a trout and I do not need to rise to every bait.

    That said, I disagree with your analysis:
    1. The constitution is permissive in authorizing patent protection. Your position is that if there is a patent law then it must provide for an injunction in every case of infringement. It is dangerous to take absolutist positions since the result may be that Congress, faced with an “either or” choice, decides that there should be no patent law at all.
    2. Property rights are expressly protected in the constitution and yet the exercise of those rights has been limited by legislation (think zoning) and those limits are constitutionally valid.
    3. Real property rights are protected and yet the courts will refuse to grant an injunction against encroachment where the cost to the Defendant of the injunction would far outweigh any loss to the Plaintiff. The eBay decision is in that nature.

    Injunctions are ultimately discretionary. In patent law injunctions are sometimes used to obtain bargaining leverage out of all proportion to the values of the patents in question and injunctions become an instrument of extortion. There is nothing in the Constitution which requires that the courts become a knowing instrument of extortion.

    In the eBay decision, the Court was obviously concerned about the quality of the patent and that concern ( in my view ) colored the rest of the decision. Similarly, the Teleflex decision has to be seen in light of the specific patent in question.

    You and I disagree on this issue and I do not plan on replying to any further posts you make on the subject.

  140. Joe,
    Yes, I can see from your comment that you are historically educated. I’d never have guessed (no offense).

    Perhaps you can’t weigh in on what I allege are the un-Constitutional eBay issues.

  141. Dennis

    Where boards provide a mechanism so that users can rate the comments posted what tends to happen is that people tend to rate comments based on whether they agree with the comment or not. My personal view is that a rating system is not worthwhile.

    One feature which I would like to see is the ability to quote the specific portion of a prior comment that I am responding to. The Netflixprize forum has a really nice implementation:
    link to netflixprize.com

    In the meantime, I’ll have to content myself with:

    Just an ordinary inventor said:

    “Talk about patent wars, is any body familiar with the court battles lasting decades between Orville and Wilbur Wright v. Glenn Hammond Curtiss v. Orville and Wilbur Wright … ? Now that was a war.”

    Quite so. And the result of that “war” was that leadership in the development of aircraft moved from the United States to France. The patent system may have accelerated the Wright’s inventions but then it slowed down everyone else’s follow-on work.

  142. How do you rank comments? That doesn’t sound like a job for software, and surely you personally don’t have the time to check each post. I always assumed that everything submitted got posted (with the exception of nasty or obscene material – that can be screened automatically, right?).

  143. Can you make it so that responses to responses appear indented under the responses they respond to?
    Some responses garner so many responses and re-responses they perhaps deserve to be elevated to same posting level as the post that prompted the discussion, especially when the new “thread” of comments (say, the dying out of North American bees) seems to have little to do with the topic of the initial post (“reasonable royalty” for soybean replanting activity that violates license and infringes patent).
    I know this is your blog and therefor it probably seems most sensible to you that you yourself should make all the “top-level” posts. But when your readers decide to discuss a topic that perhaps you yourself might find less interesting than the topic of the original post, could you not find some way to accommodate them?

  144. Could it be that the Crouch popularity comes from the knowledge that what one takes the trouble to contribute will appear? There are plenty other IP blogs, but none of them carries much comment, and those I have written to tell me that my comment will appear after moderation. But then it doesn’t appear. Cynical me supposes that the law firms that sponsor the other sites want the comments, but not to share them with anybody else. So they hold them back from publication. Either that or my comments are not worth publishing. So, I will continue to contribute to Dennis, but not the others. Three cheers for Dennis Crouch, I say.

  145. Talk about patent wars, is any body familiar with the court battles lasting decades between Orville and Wilbur Wright v. Glenn Hammond Curtiss v. Orville and Wilbur Wright … ? Now that was a war.

  146. 1. I like Mischievous Malcolm Mooney for his witty sense of humor. You have to be bright to be that funny. I give MMM an A for entertainment value. It is better not to take things too serious.

    2. Oops, Correction: Science Officer Spock.

    3. Yes, I think so, but inadvertently so. Many of my patent attorneys attended Harvard but I was not so lucky. However, I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express some time ago (;-) (and there was a Hooters around the corner).

  147. 1. Well, speaking of “Mooney” and patents, my first job in the patent field was in 1965 as a summer law clerk at Wolf Hubbard Voit & Osann in Chicago. Much of it was spent summarizing transcripts in the “oil-extended rubber” litigation involving General Tire. The big deal was the discovery during World War II that “high-Mooney” tire rubber could be made by hyperpolymerizing synthetic rubber and then “extending” it by mixing in petroleum oil. “Mooney” is a scale measuring viscosity of the elastomeric composition, and for tires, the higher the better.

    2. When did Mr. Spock get promoted to Captain?

    3. And speaking of the “Noble Patent Prize” would that be a riff on the awards of the “Ig Nobel Prizes” by the journal Annals of Improbable Research – sorta a Harvard Lampoon of science journals?

  148. Incidentally, for those who are out of the IP loop: “patent trolls” are generally defined in the community as — failed patent attorneys who acquire others’ patents on the cheap and then try to assert them. PATENT TROLLS ARE NOT INVENTORS. Inventors pursue profit from their own patents.

  149. Dennis, I’m a fan, but before you spend lots of effort adding features, would you please put a simple spelling check in your content generation flow? Many posts look like they’ve not been proofread even once, and the typos are distracting. (I assume that since you’ve included instructions on how to cite Patently-O with various posts, you care about the editorial product.)

    [[DDC: I do need some proofreaders . . .]]

  150. Joe, just get out, dude !

    Have you ever seen a patent troll going after a non-money-generating activity, like blogging on the internet ?
    Unless a troll has his own patent blog why would he go after Patently-O ?
    And if he does have a patent blog of his own, then he is NOT a troll after all…
    Don’t you agree, little lemonade Joe ?

    “Patent troll” is a myphical non-existent creature invented by big BSA thiefs to scare little ignorant folks like you.

  151. Dennis,
    As Captain Spock would have said: Fascinating.
    Do you know what accounts for the leap in the number of comments post-January 07?
    How many comments are represented by each graph line on the comment chart?

    Talk about promoting the Progress of Science –
    what Patents do for “We the People,”
    Patently-O does for the IP community.

    If there was a Noble Patent Prize, you be the winner.
    Thank you for your invaluable contribution to the IP community at large.

    PS: Are commenters also held blameless for their comments?

  152. Enforceable Browserwrap Agreement: I should remind you that by continuing to read this blog, you agree to hold me (personally) and Patently-O blameless for any patent infringement regardless of intent or cause.

  153. “Of course, I do all the programming and configuration for Patently-O”

    Do a patent search first to see if there are patents out there covering all of the obvious ways to solve these standard problems. It would be too ironic if one of the patent trolls out there wound up seeking an injunction against patentlyo for reinventing the wheel.

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