Love Means Business at the PTO

LoveAs an avid tennis player, love means nothing to me. However, this Valentine’s Day appears to be the perfect opportunity to profile the USPTO’s newly appointed Chief of Patent Examination Policy, Deputy Commissioner John J. Love.  Commissioner Love has always been quite responsive to requests for information and explanation.  Unfortunately, this reporter failed to contact Love for this report. . .

Rumors are that the Deputy Commissioner is difficult to sway, but that you will at least know where you stand.  Previously, as the head of the business method technology center, Love was a leader who helped institute the ‘second pair of eyes’ review and other quality initiatives.  As we have seen, those quality initiatives are thought to have increased patent quality while decreasing the allowance rate.

As the Deputy Commissioner for Policy, Love is part of the high-level PTO management that includes PTO Director Jon Dudas, Deputy Director Pinkos, Commissioner John Doll, and Deputy Commissioner for Operations Peggy Focarino [LINK].

7 thoughts on “Love Means Business at the PTO

  1. 7

    The Loveman and I started at the PTO the same day in May, 1969. I escaped in 1977. John has done a fine job over the years and is well qualified for any position the PTO needs him to do. Congrats to him on his appointment.

  2. 6

    The definition of quality at the PTO is one way only. They define it as claims that were allowed by the examiner that should not have been allowed. That is considered an error. Continually rejecting claims that should be allowed with meritless rejections is not regarded as an error by PTO management. They have stated as much in every meeting (e.g. AIPLA, IPO, etc.) at which they speak.

    The second pair of eyes review is a disaster. It allows people who have never read the application (and therefore cannot properly construe the claims) to prevent an examiner from allowing a claim. The “second pair of eyes” never has to put anything in writing and sign their name, never has to respond to the applicant, and never has to be identified to the applicant. It is a complete distortion of the ex parte process, and very may well be a violation of the APA. Of course, obeying the law is not something PTO management considers itself bound to do.

  3. 5


    I agree with you regarding your comment:

    Some may point to the plummeting allowance rate as an indication, but that does not say anything about the QUALITY OF REJECTIONS. In other words, you can make up crappy rejections to lower the allowance rate.

    We have been faced recently with a series of rejections that are absolutely ludicrous. Even when we clearly pointed out the error the Examiner insisted on the same wrong argument, even though a person of ordinary skill in the art would recognize the cited art was incompatible with the present invention. We have decided to appeal these office actions. We have rarely appealed historically, but these illogical rejections are getting ridiculous and so the number of our appeals is going to go up, perhaps dramatically.

  4. 3

    Interestingly, in 1988, when I started at the PTO (I am no longer there), Love was slated to be my SPE. However, he had just been promoted to director level, so Joe Rolla, who I believe just had this position but magically disappeared from the PTO website, was my SPE. I liked Rolla and he taught me a lot.

    I happen to be in Rolla’s office reviewing a case with him when Love called Rolla to tell Rolla he was made director.

  5. 2

    “He is responsible for changes in patent practice, rules of practice and procedures…”

    So he is now in charge of rule making, including the three major rulemakings that have been in limbo for months:

    1. Reduction in continuing applications
    2. Representative claims for examination
    3. IDS requirements when more than 20 references cited

    Maybe the best thing he could do is declare these inititives dead.

  6. 1

    He can start by defining what quality is. It doesn’t make sense to me how the PTO can tell everybody that their allowance error rate has gone down when the judgement is a subjective one.

    To me, it’s a political ploy. Set up a meaningless metric. Send out the message to the quality groups that includes the second pair of eyes that the allowance error rate is to be improved. The quality groups start making subjective judgements that the allowances are as they should. The suits in charge can then go up to Congress and say they’re making progress.

    Some may point to the plummeting allowance rate as an indication, but that does not say anything about the QUALITY OF REJECTIONS. In other words, you can make up crappy rejections to lower the allowance rate.

    Stop playing games and waste the money of inventors/companies. Get an independent auditor/consultant to determine quality so that we can really believe that something has been accomplished!

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