Patently-O Bits and Bytes No. 28

  • Stupid_Recognition_SoftwareHuman Tricks: A reader attempting to use PAIR’s bitterly awful reCAPTCHA software had a little trouble getting through. Can anyone figure out this example? 
  • A new site: www.inventorresource.co.uk.
  • APRIL 18 in CHICAGO: Northwestern’s Journal of Law & Technology is hosting a one-day symposium on the Future of Intellectual Property. FREE.
  • Law Jobs: According to a WSJ article, the lateral law firm market is slow. Bucking the trend: Patent Jobs. “There are anomalies, including demand for hard-core IP – the patent jobs for the engineering types.” [WSJ Blog] [Patently-O Law Jobs]

48 thoughts on “Patently-O Bits and Bytes No. 28

  1. My answer to LL’s question, from a former examiner’s perspective: C. Marshall Dann. He added one hour to the Office-wide examiner expectancy (Hours per balanced disposal). Most everything else that the self-selecting PTO management for at least the last three decades has pushed has been primarily directed to squeezing out production and shortening pendency. Of course, most of these efforts have been dismal failures, but they make for easier “management” of the examining corps (you don’t need much of a working brain to declare an examiner with 92% production “Unsatisfactory”, or to give the other with 113% a bonus).

  2. Welcome to government doofus style – Dudas to the patent bar: “you’ve been punked”

  3. “Dudas said he suspects one reason is that some companies are using the U.S. patent system to ‘close out’ competitors in the race to innovate.”

    well “duuuuh!” With statements like this the word clueless comes to mind.

    I suspect some companies use the telephone for communication, but that’s just my guess. I also suspect that millions of commuters are using the highways to drive to their offices and riding the subways so as to get places.

    “Better to be thought a fool, then to open your mouth and remove all doubt.” -Samuel Clemmens (aka Mark Twain).

  4. It’s remarkable that, according to the EE times article link to eetimes.com , the Director of the US patent office is genuinely opposed to the concept patents. Consider the following excerpts:

    “Dudas said…quality is suffering as corporations and individuals increasingly seek to turn intellectual property into a legal asset rather than a means to technology innovation.”

    “Dudas said he suspects one reason is that some companies are using the U.S. patent system to ‘close out’ competitors in the race to innovate.”

    Patents are a legal asset. The primary reason they exist is to allow inventors to legally ‘close out’ the competition (and hence encourage full disclosure of inventions and protect high risk / high reward investments in innovation and commercial development)

    Are these truly the sentiments of the director? Was anyone else at the meeting?

  5. Posted by: e#6k | Apr 18, 2008 at 04:59 PM
    “In any event you can bet your bottom dollar that Dudas discusses these rules with the Sec. and either Dudas or the Sec talks to the pres.”

    Well that makes me feel a whole lot better. Dudas talking to Bush about patent law. I wonder which one caves in and admits they have never done any sort of patent work (examining, prosecuting, reading one, seen one), first. I’m betting it’s Dudas. Georgie wouldn’t admit the earth is round.

    Posted by: Lazarus Long | Apr 18, 2008 at 05:56 PM
    “Based on what I remember, there haven’t been many (any?) in the last couple decades that were good for BOTH. Some were bad for both; most bad for at least one. That is for sure.”

    Mossinghoff and Q. Todd were both in completely different leagues from Dudas and that other Bush crony that came before him.

  6. e#6k, your statements speak for themselves by showing an obvious jaded perspective regarding the powers granted to the PTO in their rule making authority. The Courts however understand this. He can talk all he wants to the Secretary and the President but none of them have not been granted such powers by Congress, the statutes as interpreted by the courts define patentable innovation. They don’t get it either so your comments are not surprising. With such disregard for his job duties, he could never make it in the corporate setting such as Cisco.

  7. With all this Dudas bashing by you guys, I would like to know who that last director/commissioner/whatever-title-you-want-to-give-the-position that you thought was really good for BOTH the office/examiners as well as the public/inventors? And why?

    Based on what I remember, there haven’t been many (any?) in the last couple decades that were good for BOTH. Some were bad for both; most bad for at least one. That is for sure.

    thanks,

    LL

  8. “In addition, perhaps you’re not aware of the agencies longstanding rule making authority?”

    I think the courts (most recently Judge Cacheris’ court) have made it pretty clear that “the agencies [sic] longstanding rule making authority” is limited to procedural rulemaking. It would seem that “the right set of rules for innovation” would extend a little beyond that authority.

    The original commentator was correct: Dudas appears to misunderstand his primary role. Or maybe he does understand it, but would simply rather make policy.

  9. “Your statetments are ridiculous.”

    If that’s not the pot calling the kettle black I don’t know what is!

  10. PAIR uses ReCAPTCHA. One word is a generated word while the other word is taken from a scanned book that could not be recognized by OCR software. The system determines what the scanned book word means based on the consensus reached by those who enter the generated word correctly. In the example provided, if 90% of people who enter “vorced” for the first word answered “ooo” for the second word, then the software will assume the second word meant “ooo”.

  11. JAOI, PTO management blues and curious are all right. The best first step to solve PTO problems would be for Director Dudas to step down. I’m sure he could do something for Cisco. Maybe he could become Rick Frenkle’s assistant. e#6k would then go postal, and that would be a valuable byproduct if he only postal’s himself.

  12. mgmt blues, um, apparently you are conciously ignoring “the agency is” in his remark, which you apparently take to mean “I’m”. In any event you can bet your bottom dollar that Dudas discusses these rules with the Sec. and either Dudas or the Sec talks to the pres. In addition, perhaps you’re not aware of the agencies longstanding rule making authority?

    Your statetments are ridiculous.

  13. I agree with you, “PTO management blues.” Additionally, as an administrator, Mr. Dudas should solve the retention problems of his new examiner-employees.

  14. Surprising comments by Dudas that you skipped over in the above link:

    The agency is trying to determine “what is the right set of rules for innovation,” the patent chief said.

    Where does he get the authority or even think he has the authority to set the rules for innovation in America? That is not his job or that of the patent office. Corporate America and the Executive branch should quit providing any support for this guy and his approach as it is inherently bad for American innovation, investment, and competitiveness.

    Under the US law that he has a responsibility for upholding, an inventor is entitled to a patent unless unpatentable under the terms of the statutes.

    This is one of Dudas’ and the current PTO management’s problem, they are entirely misguided on what their job duties are. They are not policy makers who are empowered to determine the rules of when a patent should be granted. They are administrators for applying the facts of an application against the established rules. They are too busy focussing on and trying to address issues that are not within their scope of authority and are not administering their staff and resources within the system to effectively review the patent application they are given.

    Work on an improved examiner evaluation and measurement process Dudas and leave the rules for determining American innovation to the legislators whose job it is.

  15. I got it, clear as a bell: When you rotate the right three characters in reverse 270° cw or 70° ccw depending if you are right-handed or left footed, and view it in a mirror upside-down, it spells “dog” in Guinness® draught extra stout old style small caps strikeout gooblydegook italic script, but heck, anybody would figure that out if it wasn’t soo late Friday afternoon after such a taxing week. Is it time to punch out yet?

  16. What I find telling is that the IBM lavatory reservation system required four (4) IBM inventors:
    IBM Claim 1. A method of providing reservations for restroom use, comprising:
    receiving a reservation request from a user; and
    notifying the user when the restroom is available for his or her use.

    While Mr. Ratnakar was able to invent his crapper reservation system single-handed (o¿õ):
    Mr. Ratnakar’s pending Claim 1. A apparatus for reserving lavatories comprising of;
    1) lavatory reservation request input means;
    2) lavatory door lock with means to restrict access to the lavatory based on a set of rules;
    3) a computer system.

  17. “Yes, it seems to me that the Director’s judgment is quite questionable, and that he lacks the requisite common sense to be a patent Examiner.”

    JAOI,

    I agree with you 100% on the first half of your sentence. However, given the current cart-before-the-horse mandate that “Quality = Reject, Reject, Reject” I gotta disagree with you on the second half. He’d be an outstanding examiner.

  18. “Hey Real Anonymous, why aren’t you at work today?”

    Yoo hoo, excuse me, could you guys please keep it down over there? Some of us are trying to get our work done.

    [Sheesh - what do they think this is, a bar room?]

    [Where everybody knows your name....]

  19. When I can tell which word is the legit test word, I just type random text for the other word. It works everytime, and I like to think I am doing my part to bring down the annoying use of these tests on websites where the data should be completely public, even to ‘bots.

  20. Would it surprise anyone to know that it is not all that uncommon for passengers to lose balance and injure themselves while standing waiting for the lavatory when an airplane hits turbulence?, especially senior citizens who tend to use the facilities more than younger folks, or that waiting passengers are often told to sit back down when turbulence occurs?

    Here is the Abstract of US 2007/0241927 – Airplane Lavatory Reservation System:

    “The present invention is an apparatus, system, and method for providing reservations for lavatory use in airplanes. In one embodiment, a passenger on an airplane may submit a lavatory reservation request to the system. The reservation system assigns an access code to the passenger making the lavatory reservation request. The reservation system reserves a lavatory for a passenger when his or her request can be accommodated according to set of rules; and notifies the passenger when a lavatory has been reserved for him or her. Passengers are required to enter their assigned access code into the reservation system when it is their turn to use a lavatory. An input means is provided at lavatory doors for this purpose. Each lavatory door has a lock with means to restrict access to the lavatory only to authorized passengers with a valid access code; and only when it is a passenger’s turn to use the lavatory. The system improves airline safety; passenger convenience and passenger comfort by minimizing the time passengers spend standing outside a lavatory while an airplane is in flight. The present invention can also be used in other forms of public transport such as trains, buses, boats etc.; and at places of public gathering with limited lavatory availability such as theaters, restaurants, stadiums etc.”

    Does it seem cricket that the Director of the PTO would single out this particular application to accuse the inventor of attempting “to game the system.”

    Yes, it seems to me that the Director’s judgment is quite questionable, and that he lacks the requisite common sense to be a patent Examiner.

  21. Whew, almost posted my url by mistake with that half-ass quote! Now that would have been truly funny.

    Hey Real Anonymous, why aren’t you at work today?

  22. US 2007/0241927 – Airplane Lavaratory Reservation System to Nitesh Ratnaker of Oak Creek, WI representing himself. Non-final already sent out with 112 and 102b, plus a few 103′s.

    Searchers need these patents to pop up every once in awhile to stay awake and keep us amused. How else would ya’ll know about colonic gas guns and other winners without us flipping all day.

    I think Dudas would be better served eliminating the 50,000 applications per year that claim (for example):
    1. A monitoring system comprising: a computer, a server, communications path, and a monitor on one or more of the computer, server, and communications path.

    It is nearly impossible to perform a legitimate clearance/infringement/fto search with claims of this nature in every single darn not-reviewed-yet 18 month publication. Instead we review the issued patents and half-ass the publications. The good ones amongst us let you know we’re doing that, the others just cash the check.

    Hmmm, maybe there might actually be a grain of usefulness to the PTO’s AQS arguments. They may have different goals than the usual suspects here at PatentlyO, but they are not complete idiots as you make ‘em out to be.

  23. I think I deciphered the last three characters — Casper (a.k.a. the Friendly Ghost), Beetle Bailey, and Elvis

  24. GP opened the door –

    Now is the time for all brethren hardcore IPee’ers to come out of the closet.

    Let IP ring!

  25. Since this topic seems to be a free for all, does anyone know if the new IDS rules are now officially dead? I would think they must be since Judge Cacheris shot down the ESD requirements. But is there any official word on this?

  26. It was a slow process.

    First, I just started doing IP at parties.
    Next, after my friends encouraged me, I started doing Cam IP shows.
    Then that wasn’t enough, so I started using patentable toys.
    That led to IP on IP action. Just softcore, but I was there.

    Now?

    You guessed it.

    I do hardcore IP.

    I’m sure that the above-described path into darkness will ring true with many of my hardcore IP brethren out there.

  27. Here’s the abstract of IBM’s Pat. No. 6,329,919:

    “The present invention is an apparatus, system, and method for providing reservations for restroom use. In one embodiment, a passenger on an airplane may submit a reservation request to the system for restroom use. The reservation system determines when the request can be accommodated and notifies the passenger when a restroom becomes available. The system improves airline safety by minimizing the time passengers spent standing while an airplane is in flight.”

    A) What’s wrong with that? Nothing I can see.

    B) I understand IBM published many technical bulletins describing its innovative ideas to provide prior art to thwart others from filing on those innovations – perfectly legitimate efforts to avoid paying others inventors for its (IBM’s) innovations.* Maybe this IBM patent was filed with a similar objective in mind.

    *Unlike Cisco Systems, Inc. which, rather than “promote the Progress of Science” by publishing its own innovative ideas, took an unscrupulous approach to screw independent inventors by anonymously attempting to deconstruct America’s strong patent system by unlawfully lobbying Congress and PTO officials, as well as judges, juries and We the People.

    Moreover, who the hell is Director Dufas to single out for ridicule any inventor’s patent in the first place?, especially a serious safety oriented patent? Sounds like another example of his judgment being wacked-out of touch with reality.

  28. Dennis, frankly I’m surprised that you and the other readers don’t understand the text. I’m also dissapointed. Deeply.

    The two words are clearly Elvish. This sample happens to be the first two words in the third line of the long poem, “Song of the Elves Beyond the Sea.”

  29. > Sorry, it was not filed pro se, it was filed by IBM.

    I don’t think that the famous IBM “take a number” restroom reservation system (where your place in line was ranked by what you paid for your ticket) is what he was referring to – that wasn’t “recently filed”, it was filed in 2000 and issued as patent number 6,329,919. The Commissioner initiated a reexamination of that patent a few months after it issued, and I think IBM disclaimed the term immediately afterward.

  30. Dear JustAnExExmr

    Well, either Director Dudas (a) doesn’t know the PTO rules, or Director Dufas (b) thinks he is above the PTO rules, or both. Plus, we know he has no regard for our nation’s Constitution.

    If IBM had enough gumption, it would join the others and sue Director Dudas. I’ll bet seasoned Examiners would root, root, root for IBM in every way they could.

    PS: I love your pseudonym. It sounds like you are about as “ordinary” as me (o¿õ).
    If more We the People were as “ordinary” as we, I think We’d all be in a far, far better place.

  31. “Sorry, it was not filed pro se, it was filed by IBM.”

    Well, then the patent is of high qaulity very likely (good IDS searches, compliance with 1.56, good claiming, claims of appropriate breadth, etc.). So what is Jon complaining about? It seems his issue here is with 101 and the Fed. Cir. not the Bar or the Examining corps.

    Earth to Jon…

  32. “The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office recently received an application seeking a patent for what was claimed to be a better way to stand in line while waiting to use an airplane toilet.

    Jon Dudas, director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, said the example may be extreme, but it illustrates the declining quality of U.S. patent applications his agency has seen since 2000 as more applicants attempt to game the system. ”

    I thought PTO employees weren’t supposed to comment on the merits of outstanding applications?

  33. After getting several illegible words in a row, I decided to try the “audible challenge”. Don’t go there. I have perfectly good hearing, but the sound was so garbled that I had no idea what I was supposed to type….I gave up and asked someone else to get the information that I needed for me.

  34. What is Dudas thinking?

    link to eetimes.com

    “The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office recently received an application seeking a patent for what was claimed to be a better way to stand in line while waiting to use an airplane toilet.

    Jon Dudas, director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, said the example may be extreme, but it illustrates the declining quality of U.S. patent applications his agency has seen since 2000 as more applicants attempt to game the system. ”

    does Dudas really insult the Examiner corps and the bar in this way? Does he really thinkthis “example” is not only extreme but completely non-represetative of the average patent?

    Finally, the new rules will do nothing to stop this patent, it will still be filed, as I expect it was filed by a inventor acting pro se!!!!!!!

    Earth to Jon…earth to Jon….please come join us on this planet…

  35. I experienced many a times even though the passcode is legible / illegible, typing any words had served the purpose of getting entered into the Pub PAIR.

  36. Actually, when one or both of the words are unintelligible, you can type pretty much anything and the system passes you through in my experience…

  37. Actually the one on the right is a Rorschach inkblot test used to detect mentally unstable practitioners. If you actually see something intelligible there, then you are ____ (fill in the blank) :-)

  38. It’s actually ReCAPTCHA. Click to read more about it. One of the CAPTCHAs is a legit test, the other is actually scanned from an old text that failed OCR. By presenting those OCR failures to humans (who can better interpret them), they are actually allowing users to help scan historical books. Brilliant, eh? I wonder if there is a patent on it…

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