- Tom Bakos and Mark Nowotarski have posted their own inventions on the Peer-to-Patent site. You can review them and add prior art: Invention 1, a Risk Assessment Company; Invention 2, SoberTeen Driving Insurance
- I am expecting an announcement of the next PTO director on Friday (May 8). Jim Pooley is being nominated as deputy director of WIPO and is apparently out of the running for the job of PTO director. The two leading candidates thus appear to be Todd Dickinson and David Kappos.
- If Kappos is nominated, the Peer-to-Patent system (originally funded by IBM) will receive a boost.
- Speaking of WIPO, the US has proposed “comprehensive” PCT Reform “which would result in the establishment of a new Patent Cooperation Treaty, PCT II. The new treaty would serve to better facilitate workload sharing between the patent offices.
- I just looked at Prof. Margo Bagley new article on First-to-Invent published in the Berkeley Technology Law Journal. Her conclusions: “The US First-to-Invent system may be unique in the world but it offers significant benefits to small entity entrepreneurs and others.” Bagley sees these benefits as primarily coming through the “robust grace period.” When should FITF be adopted? “Only when such a move will provide a clear advantage for small entities by facilitating the adoption of a one-year grace period outside of the US.” See The Need for Speed (and Grace).
- Bagley’s short article is well received. My one quibble is that she perpetuates the idea that a desire to end interferences is a major motivation in the debate. She says “Eliminating interferences and the uncertainty associated with them appears to be a prime motivation for the FITF legislation.” Lets be clear, in the US, proponents of the first to file legislation want to make it easier to invalidate patents by creating more prior art.
148 thoughts on “Patently-O Bits and Bytes No. 110”
“I am expecting an announcement of the next PTO director on Friday (May 8). Jim Pooley is being nominated as deputy director of WIPO and is apparently out of the running for the job of PTO director. The two leading candidates thus appear to be Todd Dickinson and David Kappos.”
False alarm …..147
Hi JAOI, I had a feeling that my “kow-tow” remark would get a reaction. Yes, I am kidding, like always. Just to learn from the reactions.
If Dr B makes an invention, s/he should do what Dr EU does, namely, tell the Patent Office before s/he tells anybody else. If s/he’s the first to make that invention, and s/he files promptly, then s/he wins, all over the world. His/her earliest filing date will be decisive, everywhere except in the USA. In the USA, Big Corp will argue but, everywhere else, it will offer a fair price, to buy him/her out. S/he will sell out, rather than hang on for mega-bucks, because the price on offer will beat the anticipated quantum of damages that a court in Europe might award. It happens. Routinely. It’s just business. If you’re J&J, you don’t want Dr EU going to Boston Sci. And vice versa. Better sign up Dr EU as a Consultant.
To your question: YES. Tell me how many times patents outside the USA go down for insufficiency. The advice is: file early and often, and don’t worry too much about sufficiency of disclosure. Worry more about whether your claims are wide enough, and whether you have included enough design variations and intermediate conceptual limitations. Your prio date will be effective only if one can derive from it the “same” invention as that defined in the issued claim you are asserting.146
I suppose it f Dr. Baggins invented it first and documented his work and filed timely in the US (and in Europe), he would win the grant of a patent in the US.
If my supposition is correct, would Dr. Baggins’ US priority date hold up in Europe against your client?145
“… when the Congress kow-tows to the independent inventor lobby.”
You can not be serious!
You’re kidding, right?144
Thanks for that thoughtful response broje. Three more things for you (and any other interested reader) to factor in.
1. My client doesn’t want to publish (whether online or anywhere else) before his PCT publishes. That’s horrible early anyway, but at least everybody has to play by the same rules. Competitors seek patents outside the USA, so theirs get 18 month published too. We all watch like hawks each other’s WO publications.
2. My client fears its aggressive (bigger?) US competitors. They don’t normally file only in the USA relying on the grace period. But they might well resort to any means they can find in FtI law, to get an edge, even when they were later to the Patent Office than my client.
3. Dr Baggins is a wild card, not very likely but not impossible either. In medical devices, doctors do come up with good ideas. They are probably going to be slow to file, so filing after my client with the same invention, and prosecuting after my market launch, but will Dr Baggins publish at 18 months and, when he issues, will he win the interference? Can you tell my client that Baggins is certain to lose? I suspect not.
As you see, I think FtI reduces the level of enthusiasm an innovative manufacturer might have, to invest in a new line inside the USA. Safer to set up the new line outside the USA, in FtF territory. I think that’s the price the US public pays, when the Congress kow-tows to the independent inventor lobby. I’m not living in the USA, so it doesn’t hurt my prosperity.
But readers, tell me. I’m still dreaming, in cloud cuckoo land, right?143
I made a timeline and checked the statute, and I think I see your point, but B cannot wait indefinitely to file after A. Prior invention is no defense to prior art (e.g., printed publication anywhere int eh world) under 35 U.S.C. 102(b), but there is a one year grace period.
To illustrate, if an Applicant waits for the eighteen month publication of the PCT application to occur to get the opinion and invest, then the latest B could file and still swear behind the reference as first inventor is thirty months after the PCT filing. In that case, the submarine patent would surface at most thirty-six months after the opinion was obtained. So, your point would seem to be that applicants are willing to wait eitheen months to get an opinion and invest, but not forty-eight months. That point is well taken.
The good news is that you can reduce the need to wait from forty-eight months to twenty-four months by making a defensive publication or engaging in other activity that qualifies as prior art under 35 U.S.C. 102(b). For example, one solution applicable to your scenario is for A to post the PCT application online the day after it is filed, and then procure the opinion and freeze the design twenty-four months after the PCT filing instead of eighteen months after. Under this scenario, we are talking about a submarine patent that surfaces, at most, up to one year later than other patents. (These numbers are different than in my previous post becasue I sat down and did the math this time.) A news release or presentation of a paper anywhere in the world would have the same effect. So would public use or offer for sale in the US. And if A did any of those things before filing the PCT application, then A would need to wait even less time to get the opinion and freeze the design. However, A likely would lose filing rights in many countries by making those public disclosures before filing the PCT application (due to lack of grace periods in those countries).
One thing that is not alleviated by this solution is the fear that a big comonay will see your online publication or US activity and will decide to file on the same thing and fake up a lab book with witnesses, etc. FtF, incombination with keeping the invention secret until the PCT publication, would prevent all possibility of that fraud (except for those pesky corporate spies).
Another point to note is that the ability of US applicants to request non-publication is not addressed here. Those patents would surface later regardless of whether FtF or FtI is the policy.142
Gentlemen, sorry not to have followed up on this. Your comments and criticisms of my position are certainly interesting. Unfortunately, I’m up to my ears in deadlines at the moment. I wish Dr. Doom was right and I could get paid by the big guns, or Satan, or anybody, to explain why FtF is a superior system.
If it rains this weekend, I’ll take the time to rebut your criticisms. It’s not intellectually difficult, just time-consuming. “If it rains” — ha, ha, ha.
Speaking of lost time, can somebody tell me if there’s an easy way to get to the end of the comment thread without wading through pages and pages of comments? I suggested to Dennis that he put the “Previous Next” links at the top and bottom of each comment page, and preferably an “End” link, too. It’s almost as bad as the online MPEP where when browsing you have to slog to the bottom of each section to get a link to the next section. Some web designers are really daft, and I’m talkin’ TypePad and PTO here, not Dennis.141
“If you do not accept our estimates of 20%-50% increase, please provide your own estimates of how S. 515 will “increase preemptive filings.” Please also explain how under S. 515 (and not under some other imaginary legislation), the USPTO would not have a larger backlog and increased pendency. And while you’re at it, please provide your assessment as to the parties (the “big guns” or the startups) you think will suffer more harm from delays in granting patents.”
I think he said 15% (generously speaking) and that it would be irrelevant because the increase would be in provs which would never mature for the most part. Furthermore, I believe he said that some nonp’s that are currently filed would instead be filed as prov’s so the actual number of nonp’s might go down.140
“Perhaps you can explain what a “competent patent lawyer” would *not* do for a PPA that is done in a PRA, and still be held “competent” to have provided the required Section 112 support? Where would the savings come from, and why can’t these savings be realized in a PRA? ”
K, he already stated that the discrepancy would come from the cost of having to draft 0 claims for the prov as opposed to the nonprov. He figures that 50% of the app prep cost is in the drafting of the claims.139
Yes, I did. Then I lost my drive to work on the project when I started trying to use the site to do anything. Perhaps I’ll pick it up when I’m bored this weekend.138
Were you ever able to register for P2P? I heard back from the office and “SixKForGLORY” should have gotten the appropriate email sent to it’s Yahoo address.137
I was encouraged to read that your stated goals align with those of small startups and new market entrants. However, your proposed path to a solution suggests that you have very little understanding of what many go through. FtF benefits the “big guns” at the expense of startups. Suggesting that “FtF will bring the big guns to their knees, which is probably why they’re paying people like Dr. Doom to trash the idea” is a clear indication that you either have no idea how small startups and new entrants with disruptive technologies must operate, or that *you* are the one paid by the “big guns” to push for the FtF idea. I wish the “big guns” would want to trash the FtF idea. In that case, we would not have these discussions because section 102 would have been left undisturbed. If you haven’t noticed, the big guns *are* the ones pushing for FtF.
Furthermore, nobody pays me. I do this on behalf of startups that cannot afford to have their voices heard on the Hill. Check your facts before making public accusations of payments made, particularly when your accusations are leveled anonymously against a person using his real identity.
You say: “Tell your client to keep his mouth shut until he files a PPA and then don’t worry about it. … All you need to do is keep your mouth shut until you file a *valid* PPA.”
What if it takes time to develop the subject matter for a *valid* PPA and the client’s survival and startup funding source depends on an early disclosure to would-be strategic partners/customers or investors? What if the client is attempting to engage a venture capitalist who (like many VCs) has a policy of not signing an NDA and may even have portfolio companies in the same space as that of the client? Have you ever raised funds for a startup? – Apparently not.
You say: “I would, in that case, probably add a statement in the PPA I file of every pre-filing disclosure, including names, dates and times.” Good luck! That should certainly help your client in lining up his future meetings with other strategic partners. … You really have no clue, do you?
You say “In some cases, *not many*, a patentable idea cannot be developed without disclosure to a third party.”
“Not many”? On what *data* do you base this assertion of “fact”? Have you worked with a startup? This statement gives away who you really are and who your clients are: your experience is apparently based on that of a large market player that can internally fund development of their patentable ideas. So we have now established that YOU are the voice of the “big guns”.
You say: “Steve Perlman earlier said that a PPA costs him 95% of what a “regular” patent application (RPA) costs, and I didn’t buy that for a minute for any competent patent lawyer.” Perhaps you can explain what a “competent patent lawyer” would *not* do for a PPA that is done in a PRA, and still be held “competent” to have provided the required Section 112 support? Where would the savings come from, and why can’t these savings be realized in a PRA?
You finally admit that under Ftf you envision “a system that will (yes) increase preemptive filings..”. That is the point we are making. If you do not accept our estimates of 20%-50% increase, please provide your own estimates of how S. 515 will “increase preemptive filings.” Please also explain how under S. 515 (and not under some other imaginary legislation), the USPTO would not have a larger backlog and increased pendency. And while you’re at it, please provide your assessment as to the parties (the “big guns” or the startups) you think will suffer more harm from delays in granting patents.136
babel Boy –
You misapprehend a number of points.
Most of your analysis to simply irrelevant – they’re simply explanations of how options that a business has today to spend money are still available under S.515. But decision-making has to be based on the things that are *different* under the two choices. There’s no point in discussing the things that are the same, let’s focus on where the behavior has to be different. Lets focus on the situation that is common today – the inventor chooses to exploit the grace period year – that has to be different under S.515 – the grace period is so ineffectual that no business can rely on it. If you want to look at it under a mathematical finance point of view (I work Wall Street, so that’s my bias), let’s value the OPTION that exists today to not file anything before the 102(b) date, vs the loss of that option.
“Experimental use” is totally tangential to the grace period – different things entirely. Your discussion is irrelevant.
> With a $3000 PPA and FtF you can avoid a need for a grace period and throw
> out all of the statutory bars and that whole convoluted body of case law.
irrelevant to the decision – no change from today.
> I agree, converting the PPA to RPA can be time-consuming and costly,
> but those claims are going to require the same amount of time to draft
> ’em regardless of when they’re drafted.
And always much more than the patent application that is never drafted because the invention flops during the first year. Steve Perlman estimated a 5/6 dropout rate. It seems you value the cost of filing a provisional at zero – at least I don’t see where you give it any non-zero cost in your analysis.
Further, your analysis just ain’t right – a non-provisional that has to maintain consistency with a prior provisional is far more expensive than doing it the first time!
On the other hand, I DID weigh the value of slogging through case law. When the total patent litigation budget of the U.S. is about $2 billion per year, taht change CANNOT POSSIBLY outweigh the $1-3 billion in extra costs between current 102 with a grace period, and the “new 102” with no (useful) grace period.
You point to the cost of interferences. Irrelevant. I expressly said I’m agnostic to the idea of changing 102(g) to make U.S. a “first to file,” as long as you leave the rest of 102 alone.
> Tell your client to keep his mouth shut until he files a PPA and then
> don’t worry about it.
OK, but acknowledge that you have just thrown out a TERRIFICALLY expensive “solution.” How many clients like the idea of you telling them they have to stop their businesses in their tracks until you can get an application filed?
I have used your rolling provisional technique. It works great. And that’s the point – this situaiton is IDENTICAL between today and S.515, and therefore TOTALLY IRRELEVANT to the discussion. The choice between options turns on the DIFFERENCES. The difference is that the client has the option to NOT do that today, but S.515 takes the option away. (You challenged me to find a cheaper solution than your serial provisional technique – there it is, today’s law! For 20 of Perlman’s 24 inventions, the cost of today’s law is zero, under your option it’s $5-10K per invention.)
Babel Boy, put the two DIFFERENCES on the weighing pans. Cost out ALL the differences, including the value of the option of doing nothing. Then weigh. The cost balance isn’t even close. S.515 is a disaster (for everyone except the patent attorneys and the big companies).135
Sorry. Correction. Babel’s on the same thread, above.134
@broje. I was briefly MaxVier because a MaxDrei posting didn’t make it through to the thread. But it seems now I must have typed in the wrong check letters. Now I’m back to normal.
Here’s my scenario. It might reveal thinking characteristic of a practitioner in FtF jurisdiction that lacks a grace period. For me, the grace period played no role. Maybe you can explain that it should.
Of course, my scenario relies on the junior party having a non-zero chance of winning an interference, but that’s what characterizes FtI above all else, isn’t it?
ABC Inc. brings new stent designs to market. A makes an invention and files a PPA. A optimises the design, then files PCT. 18 months after the prio date it procures an FTO opinion, then freezes the design. Then follows heavy investment in gearing up to produce, and then the market launch, with attendant fanfare of publicity.
Dr Baggins notes the publicity, and continues to prosecute its US patent application, with A’s product at the front of its mind. B fancies that he had conceived before A, and was diligent, but didn’t actually file till after A. B’s US patent publishes for the first time long after A has made the heavy investment.
When B’s patent issues, he (with the help of investors) asserts it against A’s by now successful product. The parties settle, rather than go through an interference. But, next time around, A sets up the line well outside the reach of US patent rights.
There’s something related, by Babel Boy, on another running thread.133
Babel Boy: “I, personally, cannot see FtF working with a grace period.”
It seems to work pretty well in Canada and Australia.132
@ Max Vier,
You said, “Those thinking of investing in new product line manufacture within the USA must allow for the arrival of strategic patent ‘missiles’, with the potential to destroy the business, and fired by the owners of belatedly-surfacing, missile-firing submarines. I believe that, other things being equal, FtF allows investors more confidence to invest in new manufacturing ventures. than they have with FtI. In a FtF world, the submarines can stay under water for 18 months, but no longer. In a FtI world they can stay under for much, much longer.”
I’m not sure I understand what you mean. My understanding is that the FtF rule only permits the prior inventor to trump your own patent filing, not your public disclosure or activity. So, if you are waiting 18 months after you file your own patent to start manufacturing in the US, in order to ensure that any prior filed patents will have a chance to publish, then why not publish your application online six months after you file? Then you can be assured on the day that your own application publishes that any later filed applications will be anticipated by your prior public disclosure under 102(b). And if you are coming to the US from abroad with a patent, odds are it was already filed a year earlier outside the US and will publish six months after your US filing anyway.
So what is the big deal? Am I missing something? Can you give me a scenario that points up your concern, keeping in mind that one year grace periods are still in place in many countries for public disclosures, and that these grace periods would still exist regardless of whether we were to move to FtF?131
David, I am with you on virtually all you say. I am certainly with you, as we all are, on the proposition that a PPA must be an enabling disclosure of those claims that will eventually be filed.
We are also all with you on the PPA expense, although Steve Perlman earlier said that a PPA costs him 95% of what a “regular” patent application (RPA) costs, and I didn’t buy that for a minute for any competent patent lawyer.
Yes, of course, the unenlightened uses of PPAs within the context of FtI are expensive. These points are old, well-known, boring. Let’s move past them and look at the synergy between PPAs and FtF.
Under FtF, what you get for your PPA buck that you don’t get under FtI is complete freedom to market, display, sell, go to scientific meetings, publish, holler from the hilltops, do whatever public or private disclosure you want to do with impunity. All you need is to do is keep your mouth shut until you file a valid PPA. At that point you take control of the priority issues.
When you leave the US post office with your Express Mail receipt in hand, you know who has priority, and you don’t have to worry about Microsoft or Ford bringing in 20 faked lab books to rip you off in an interference. If you have something they want, you can wave it under their noses, you can drop your pants and moon them, but in the end they have to come to you to get it. FtF will bring the big guns to their knees, which is probably why they’re paying people like Dr. Doom to trash the idea.
The grace period? Allow me to disagree with you on that issue, too. It is not the “pretty reliable shelter” you make it out to be unless you’re paying some suit $450/hr. to stand over you and tell you whether this experimental use is OK or that offer to sell is not. You are neglecting the hidden costs of FtI and grace periods. With a $3000 PPA and FtF you can avoid a need for a grace period and throw out all of the statutory bars and that whole convoluted body of case law. Good riddance to it.
In some cases, not many, a patentable idea cannot be developed without disclosure to a third party. But this is non-public disclosure and the grace period is not relevant anyway. Under FtF the inventor documents such disclosures to protect himself should a derivation proceeding arise. I would, in that case, probably add a statement in the PPA I file of every pre-filing disclosure, including names, dates and times. The thing with PPAs is that you can put in anything you want to.
Forget the grace period and public disclosure. Tell your client to keep his mouth shut until he files a PPA and then don’t worry about it. I, personally, cannot see FtF working with a grace period. Begley wants to use the FtF as a pressure point to get the rest of the world to do grace periods in exchange for the US doing FtF. I feel she’s wrong. We need to give up the grace period and get the rest of the world to start doing PPAs.
You, and most others, complain that at the end of the PPA year the client always has additional matter that has to be added and a major re-write is required. So what??? They would have to pay someone to write a disclosure and claims on the new matter regardless of whether or not they filed a PPA on the initial matter. The alternative is to file nothing on the initial subject matter and wait, what, 1 year, 2 years, 3 years, and then see what you’ve got. That’s OK for Microsoft because they have the cash to duke it out in an interference if someone else files in the interim. Besides, the whole purpose here is to put new technology in motion, not to reward slugs to sit on it.
The hidden PPA costs you discuss can be greatly mitigated with a little imagination. With a little skill and forethought it’s not too hard to draft a generic disclosure in the client’s immediate area and add to it when new matter arises during that PPA year. Having filed a proper PPA, the incremental cost of up-dating with new material is not significant, certainly not in view of the fact that every update is complete priority protection for the new matter. When you finally file the RPA you can claim priority back to a whole year’s worth of serial PPAs. You cannot find a cheaper, more effective way to protect emerging developments. In fact, that year becomes a rolling year and the priority protection becomes seemless . . . sorry, seamless . . . from year to year. Serial PPAs punctuated by occasional RPAs.
I agree, converting the PPA to RPA can be time-consuming and costly, but those claims are going to require the same amount of time to draft ’em regardless of when they’re drafted. And if multiple PPAs all funnel into one RPA, at the end of the PPA year you claim the winners and save the rest for a continuation. You’ll have years until the continuation has to be filed and the competition can’t touch you because you filed the PPA’s first.
I keep using “you” not meaning you, David Boundy, of course, but “one.” “You” is just so much easier to spell.
Obviously, I see huge potential here for the US. I think Congress can develop a new paradigm that marries PPAs, FtF, continuations, and deferred examination into a system that will (yes) increase preemptive filings, increase priority protection, decrease the number of filed claims, decrease number of applications examined, eliminate interferences, decrease litigation, increase the flow of technology through the system, and decrease the cost overall.
This is only a partial Pollyanna answer to your comments, but it’s too long as it is. I absolutely disagree with you on the increase in costs that will occur by FtF or that Dr. Doom’s “data” and extrapolations give a fair picture of the future. And as to the specifics of SB 515, yes, there are serious problems, but I’ve been discussing FtF generally. (I would suggest that there is a real gem for inventors hidden in that bill if you look hard enough.)
But those discussions will have to come in another thread. BTW, as far as picking fights — well, I’m an ex-Marine so picking fights injudiciously comes naturally. But your point is well taken — I, too, doubt that the FtF fight can be “won”, at least on this forum.130
Glad to respond, Noise, but forgive me in advance for brevity. I blog here purely for my own pleasure. While I do it, my clients are waiting, and I’m not billing time.
I see design registrations as having more in common with copyright than with patents for inventions. Copyright owners face the defence “I didn’t copy”. Proving copying can be difficult or impossible. With the 25 year pan-European Design Registration Right, however, “I did not copy” is not a defence because the ERDR borrows from utility patent law the idea that the Right given by registration, if valid, includes enjoining unauthorised use of a design within the scope of the regn, even when it does not at all derive from the registered design.
Now, just as a “grace period” is not intrinsically incompatible with a copyright law, neither is it with Euro Reg Des law.
But, do come back at me. Maybe I’m not yet quite on your point.129
What other distinctions should be noted with a registration system versus a patent? A sweeping “that’s tolerable” without enunciating possible loss of rights between the two forms of protection places the judgement of what is tolerable purely in your hands and, no disrespect intended, I owe my clients much more than that.128
Mr Boundy makes my point, I think, that a half-way house between “pure” FtI and “pure” EPC FtF is a high energy unstable position somewhere intermediate between two low energy states. Congress does not serve either US manufacturing industry or the US inventor community by passing either Bill in its present form. The easy road on utility patent reform is to continue to optimise FtI. The other way (too hard to contemplate, I know) is to switch to pure EPC.
As to design patents, there’s a new model available, in the 25 year term, pan-European Registered Design Right. It has a grace period. With design registrations, that’s tolerable.127
Babel Boy, I don’t think you want to pick this fight. Be careful.
(PRELIMINARY NOTE: I am only writing about the redefinition of prior art in new 102, NOT FTF. I am agnostic on FTF. If S.515 only made a small edit to 102(g) to change first-to-invent to first-to-file, I would have no opinion. It’s very unfortunate that this whole debate has gotten so totally off course just because of misleading nomenclature.)
The flaw in your argument (and you’re not alone in this, it’s the same flaw that connects so many of the counterpositions to Dr. Katznelson) –
Provisional applications are not a free lunch. Provisional applications are a symptom of the problem with “new 102,” they’re not the solution. There are only two kinds of provisional applications – (a) expensive ones, prepared with most of the care of a full 111(a) non-provisional, and (b) worthless ones, that don’t set forth an invention with full enablement, written-description and best mode support. The only thing a bad provisional accomplishes is starting a clock ticking, thereby reducing a business’ flexibility to operate.
Most of the comments adverse to Dr. Katznelson propose provisionals as a panacea. They aren’t. They’re expensive: expensive to prepare in lawyer fees, super expensive because they often require rewriting a year later to incorporate improvements, expensive because of the interference with the inventors’ time right before product introduction, expensive because of the business delays in new product introductions that will be required, expensive because of the provisionals that will have to be filed on inventions that die in their first year, expensive because they foreclose business options down the line. NOBODY HAS PAID ATTENTION TO THESE COSTS.
Under current law, every inventor (at least every inventor who is content with only U.S. patents – and that’s still a sizable fraction, and a majority of U.S. startups) has a pretty reliable shelter under the one year grace period of current 102. The “soap bubble” grace period of “new 102” is nothing a business can rely on. Every inventor will have to file preemptive, prophylactic provisionals, at immense cost. The injection of the patent attorney into every business decision will add further immense costs.
I think the total patent prosecution budget of the U.S. is on the order of $10 billion / yr? If this goes up 10% (very conservative, my gut feel is that the number will be close to 30%), and the lost business opportunities and added business complications are worth another $1 billion per year – also conservative – there’s NO WAY that S.515 can provide sufficient added efficiency in dispute resolution to balance those costs!
I have to concur with you, that some of Dr. Katznelson’s graphs are less clear than they should be. In many cases, you have to read a lot of his accompanying text to understand the graphs and analysis – a preschool picture book skim will not inform you. I’ll contact Dr. Katznelson and help him get his figures and graphs clearer.
But once you read his data and analysis, Dr. Katznelson’s conclusions are hard to avoid – extrapolating from the data, as best it can be extrapolated – S.515 drives up the costs of the patent system as a whole. A LOT.126
“I think you have too many numbers, scatter plots, and fixed ideas stuck up your nose to see the real FtF picture. Sneeze hard, dude, and come back to earth.”
Wow. I’m curious, BB, do you use this particular style of argumentation in office action responses? Does it work?
Ron, is there anything more you’d like to say?125
Dr. Doom says:
“Bable Boy, there you go again. It appears you read *only some parts* of the material.”
Yep, that would be right, Doom. I don’t need to read all that diarrhea to know how bad it smells. For those on this blog who claim to have read it all, either they’re academics or business is real slow. I have clients.
I realize you don’t have clients because you’re not a lawyer or a patent practitioner, which brings me to my second point. Maybe if you were a patent practitioner or someone trained in patent law, the hours of effort reading and checking your math would be justified. But most of us here have clients to serve and we don’t have time for analyzing long-winded diatribes when we can see on the surface they’re flawed. Your tactic of criticizing people for not reading your every word is both arrogant and lame.
Your tactic is to step into a thread, throw out reams of “data” and specious arguments, and then criticize anyone who doesn’t read it all. But it’s effective: you’ve even got David Boundy wagging his tail. It’s sad to see a good man duped. Believe me, David doesn’t understand your “math” any more than the rest of us.
I did read your letter to the Senate, and I puked, metaphorically speaking, for the reasons I have set forth above. Still waiting for you to explain what “numeric trend line” means. Didn’t you teach stats at UCSD? As for the original WIPO data, you say it’s all at the WIPO link. Yeah, right. Those who went to that link found nothing but a page full of more links. Like, are you arrogant enough to actually think I’m going to spend 2 hours wading through 30 WIPO links to try and reconstruct your daft figure when I can see it is nonsense just by looking at the axes and their labels?
You claim that you have addressed all of my issues with provisionals. You have not addressed any of them. The only thing you have addressed is that your lawyers are too lame to draft a PPA that is a valid disclosure. You have my sympathies. The synergy between PPAs and FtF is very powerful for small inventors and is a part of the FtF equation you ignore. You have supported deferred examination in the past, but you manage to ignore that part of the FtF equation, too.
As to my construction of the Senate bill, you said: “I hope you do not advise clients using these flawed statutory construction skills. Your reading is in direct contradiction with the plain language of S. 515, which otherwise distinguishes between patents and application for patents”
When you pass the law bar, pass the patent bar, and have practiced patent and civil law for as long as I have, come back, dude, and we’ll talk about rules of construction. Until then your criticisms and legal conclusions offered as a patent lawyer wanna’-be are hardly relevant. Your absurd argument that under the Senate bill the BPAI has to initiate DP within 3 months of publication is a pretty good indication of why folks should be ignoring your legal arguments.
I think you have too many numbers, scatter plots, and fixed ideas stuck up your nose to see the real FtF picture. Sneeze hard, dude, and come back to earth.
Earth to Ron. Earth to Ron. Come Enron. (Come Enron, get it??)124
….and two afterthoughts to the above:
1. I thought you were urging that, under FtF, there would be too many apps filed. But now you seem to be urging that there won’t be enough, because of Prior User Rights. Any stick will do, eh, to beat this particular dog.
2. And Mr Perlman’s nice Slide 6, showing all those 24 initial ideas, of which only 4 came through to a Practical System. I see that the rest were designated “dead ends” within one year from conception. Seems all very unremarkable to me. The Perlman business would have been just as successful with a FtF system.
As I said, there’s a lot of ignorant prejudice against FtF. I’m still interested in knowing how much more investment in new industry in the USA might have taken place in recent years, but for the deterrent effect of all those missile-carrying submarines unseen for much longer than the FtF “max 18 month period”. And an inventor has to file anyway, I thought, before any big corp, like Motorola, will even look at what in inventor has to offer. Of course, the human is instinctively afraid of the unknown but, the sooner FtF the better, no?123
Hello again, Dr Katznelson. Now we are on Prior User Rights, and the End of the World. Somebody above named you Dr Doom, and I’m beginning to see why. You latch on to prior user rights and jump to the conclusion that they will be what everybody relies on, that is, when they’re not busy fighting derivation proceedings. This is all fantasy. In the real FtF world, you need to search long and hard to find and examples of the evil stuff that’s going to swamp the USA, as soon as it joins the FtF world.
Of course you are right to point to the dangers of reliance on prior user rights. That’s why, in the real FtF world, nobody relies on them, except those who deliberately and calculatingly take the risk of going the “trade secret” route. It has been trite law for more than 100 years, in Europe, that choosing not to publish, and not to patent, is extremely dangerous, and can be justified only in those rare circumstances when the “trade secret” route is so valuable that it cannot be compromised. Fact is, every innovator files, as soon as they have put together a disclosure that enables the full width of the claim and then they either abandon before the Patent Office publishes (with all the risk that entails) or else the app gets published at the end of the 18 month “black hole” period. Back to my point, that the 18 month cap on the black hole length fosters investment in innovation. That there is less investment in innovation in Europe is not because of FtF. I will leave readers to tell me the reasons why Europe is not like the USA122
If it was unclear in the prior post, FTF that MaxDrei and other proponents of FTF advocate is one coupled with enhanced prior user rights. In part, that is what I addressed above.121
“In the absence of MaxDrei, I invite Dr Katznelson to reply, on the point that F2I encourages submarine patents. Those thinking of investing in new product line manufacture within the USA must allow for the arrival of strategic patent “missiles”, with the potential to destroy the business, and fired by the owners of belatedly-surfacing, missile-firing submarines.”
I will be glad to respond. Current U.S. patent statute *does not* permit an inventor to unduly delay filing an application and hoard a secret invention, as you suggest. [See 35 U.S.C. §§ 102(c),(g)(1) (a patent is awarded only if the invention was not abandoned, suppressed, or concealed)]. But you, on the other hand, propose that “those thinking of investing in new product manufacture within the USA” be allowed to hoard a secret indefinitely and be shielded from infringement liability if it was later found that their new product infringes a later issued patent. If, as you say, a party is investing in *new products*, wouldn’t they also *invest* in seeking protection by filing for a patent? That way, they will be able to demonstrate their entitlement to priority even before the filing date. Parties who make *investments* in leading technologies and choose not to publish it or file for a patent, should bear the full risk. You would rather transfer enormous risk to those who participate in the patent system (for there would be no way of knowing who was hoarding what secrets and where) from those who don’t. You would rather fundamentally shift the “reward” from those who make their inventions public to those who kept their ideas secret. The patent bargain would be broken, as *no exclusivity* would be assured in exchange for pioneering disclosure by the patentee. The current FTI statute strikes the right balance between promoting the patent bargain and protecting parties from undue patentee delays.120
“BLT reports that a Texas jury has hit Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld with a US$76.2 million judgment for its mishandling of a patent application by failing to disclose relevant information to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.”
That’s one judgment that ain’t never going to get paid.
Try to figure it out: failure to disclose refs allegedly makes patents less valuable for licensing/settlement purposes because of inequitable conduct issues … but if the art was *that* material, then presumably the claims would be invalidated or narrowed, thus making them less valuable?
I’m guessing this jury somehow got caught up in the fireman rhetoric. I wonder how many times 9/11 was mentioned during the trial?119
“BLT reports that a Texas jury has hit Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld with a US$76.2 million judgment for its mishandling of a patent application by failing to disclose relevant information to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The jury found that the firm was fully responsible for failing to obtain the patent for an automatic “man down” alarm for emergency personnel.”118
Malcolm has been taking lessons from 6 on argument diversion tactics, as well as illusions of grandeur.
“NAL “Are your really wanting to go back to your hackneyed “paper’ arguments?”
You mean *your* hackneyed paper arguments, don’t you,. NAL? Unfortunately for you, my arguments tend to show up repeatedly in PTO and court decisions finding crap patents invalidated. I understand that it hurts you to admit it.
But feel free to defend the claim I just referred to, NAL. Go for it.
Posted by: Malcolm Mooney | May 11, 2009 at 12:34 PM ”
No Malcolm, I am not talking about the particular claims above. My challenge to you (long outstanding lest you forget how to Man Up) was in regards to the Printed Matter Doctrine. I bring up the challenge yet again as you have stayed away from your silly arguments, but occasionally you test the waters and edge back to them. Your previous post is just such an edging, and you obviously needed another smackdown.117
Bable Boy, there you go again. It appears you read *only some parts* of the material.
As to provisional applications and FTF, as I explained in a previous post above (which, apparently, you have not read), there is no practical distinction except a few dollars in filing fees between provisional applications and non-provisionals. If you treat them differently under Section 112 requirements, you do so at the peril of your clients’ patent rights.
As to the data in Figure 1, you apparently glossed over this figure’s specific reference to Tables G.1.3 and A.1.2c of the WIPO report. These provide the very numbers used in the figures – no transformations or external calculations. It is apparent that you have not even glanced at the WIPO report. You would have found all the WIPO definitions for US constant dollars and for their numbers for R&D-normalized application filing intensity. These are not our numbers, they are WIPO’s numbers. And Bable Boy, you had better brush up on your high school math: Log scales do not “exaggerate data”, they contract the apparent numerical ranges of data.
On reading the proposed statute as to when derivation challengers must bring action, you dismiss the conclusion reached in the letter regarding cases where the alleged deriver elects to avoid publication of his application and that a prior inventor alleging derivation would therefore have only 3 months after publication of the patent to file a challenge. S. 515 provides a one-year period only for published applications not patents. You say: “If the offending application first publishes *as the patent*, then you don’t have to initiate DP until 1 year after the patent is published”. An issued patent is not a published application. I hope you do not advise clients using these flawed statutory construction skills. Your reading is in direct contradiction with the plain language of S. 515, which otherwise distinguishes between patents and application for patents. The drafters of S. 515 could have easily provided this language:
“Any such request [for DP] may only be made within 12 months after the date of first publication of an application *OR A PATENT* containing a claim that is the same or is substantially the same as the claimed invention.”
But they have not included “or a patent” in the language. Did they intend to? Maybe. We cannot tell. People like you may have drafted S. 515. For all we know, they may have intended further ambiguity that only serves to burden small entities that would not even learn about a published patent within 3 months, let alone file a DP.
Bable Boy, you have a point when you complain that our letter states without details that “a solid majority of law review articles considering the issue have concluded that the first-to-file proposals are unconstitutional”. We should correct it with a footnote. How about the following: A survey on Westlaw of papers published in the last 10 years considering the issue, show that NONE suggest that FTF is constitutional and 7 out of 9 conclude that it is unconstitutional:
SURVEY OF LAW REVIEW ARTICLES ADDRESSING CONSTITUTIONALITY OF FIRST-TO-FILE PATENT SYSTEM IN LAST 10 YEARS
(7 total, 6 non-student notes)
Rebecca C.E. McFadyen, The “First-To-File” Patent System: Why Adoption Is NOT An Option!, 14 Rich. J.L. & Tech. 3 (2007) (However, an analysis of the framers’ intent as well as statutory language of the early patent acts demonstrate that the Constitution authorizes the patent to be awarded only to the “first and true inventor.” To hold otherwise poses a direct challenge to the Constitution.)
John J. Okuley, Resolution of Inventorship Disputes: Avoiding Litigation Through Early Evaluation, 18 Ohio St. J. on Disp. Resol. 915 (2003) (Though many commentators argue that the United States should adopt a first-to-file system, the current interpretation of the United States Constitution and the patent statutes is that patents are to be awarded to the first inventor.)
Max Stul Oppenheimer, Harmonization Through Condemnation: Is New London The Key To World Patent Harmony? 40 Vand. J. Transnat’l L. 445 (2007) (granting the patent to the first filer deprives the inventor of “the exclusive right” guaranteed by the Constitution and is therefore unconstitutional.)
Paul M. Schoenhard, Reconceptualizing Inventive Conception: Strengthening, Not Abandoning the First-To-Invent System, 17 Fed. Cir. B.J. 567 (2008–2009) (By these terms, it is readily apparent that the IP Clause is not aimed at the securing of rights to “disclosers” or “filers,” but to inventors.)
Adam Sedia, Legislative Update: Storming The Last Bastion: The Patent Reform Act Of 2007 And Its Assault On The Superior First-To-Invent Rule, 18 DePaul J. Art Tech. & Intell. Prop. L. 79 (2007-2008) (Based on historical understanding, outlined in Section II above, those who view the first-to-file system as unconstitutional appear to have the better argument.)
Karen E. Simon, Comment, The Patent Reform Act’s First-to-File Standard: Needed Reform or Constitutional Blunder?, 6 J. Marshall Rev. Intell. Prop. L. 129 (2006) ( the first-to-file standard as proposed in H.R. 2795 is unconstitutional.)
Edwin Suominen, Re-Discovering Article 1, Section 8 — The Formula for First-to-Invent, 83 J. Pat. Off. Soc’y 641 (2001) (The plain language of the terms would thus seem to settle the issue, clearly prohibiting any first-to-file system as unconstitutionally denying actual inventors the exclusive right to their discoveries.)
FIRST-TO-FILE MIGHT BE UNCONSTITUTIONAL:
(2 total, 2 non-student notes)
Susanna Chenette, Note, Maintaining the Constitutionality of the Patent System, 35 Hastings Const. L.Q. 221 (2008) (Therefore, because of the Supreme Court’s broad interpretation of Congress’ power under the Act, a first-to-file system that grants patents to those other than the actual “inventor” as stated by the Clause will likely survive a direct constitutionality attack. However, it is nevertheless possible that a first-to-file system would not “promote the progress of science and the useful arts” and therefore be unconstitutional.)
Timothy R. Holbrook, The Treaty Power and the Patent Clause: Are There Limits on the United States’ Ability to Harmonize?, 22 Cardozo Arts & Ent. L.J. 1 (2004) (Given that historically the inventor has been viewed as first to create, then such tradition may suggest a constitutionally rooted requirement that would preclude a first to file system.)
6, you answered my question about the avilability of provisional applications – it was back on Friday so you probably forgot about it.
6 “I didn’t post those claims MM”
My bad. It was Actual Inventor. My apologies for the mix-up.114
“My advice to the PTO is to simply throw this application in the trash and pretend it was never filed.”
We’re sorry, we never recieved an application for a Mr. I filed bad claims. What’s that? You have a serial number? Hmmm, it appears no application was ever assigned that number.
Though, I didn’t post those claims MM.
“Products protected by our claims have produced billions of dollars of revenue and profits, as well as thousands of jobs.”
Man, that’s extraordinary, wouldn’t you say steve?113
NAL “Are your really wanting to go back to your hackneyed “paper’ arguments?”
You mean *your* hackneyed paper arguments, don’t you,. NAL? Unfortunately for you, my arguments tend to show up repeatedly in PTO and court decisions finding crap patents invalidated. I understand that it hurts you to admit it.
But feel free to defend the claim I just referred to, NAL. Go for it.112
I’ve never filed a patent where the claims came anywhere close to 50% of the cost of the patent preparation, and I don’t think our claims are “stinky”. Products protected by our claims have produced billions of dollars of revenue and profits, as well as thousands of jobs. And, in almost all cases, these businesses have been based on disrupting established markets, resulting in us constantly bumping up against major corporations that would easily have steamrolled over us were it not for the patents.
Regarding our patent firms “taking us for a ride”, I don’t think so. They’ve frequently deferred their fees until our startups can get funding or revenue. And, we’ve worked together to minimize the cost of filings, particularly for complex, multi-faceted inventions.
None of our inventions could be drafted in an “enabling disclosure” for $100. While it is conceivable someone could have a breakthrough idea of significant commercial value that is so simple, yet something that everyone else missed, that could be described in 15 minutes of legal fees, it extremely unlikely. As I said, I once ran into a thin Provisional like that. It took a sentence or two in our Office Action response to overcome it, and the Examiner knew it had no substance and tossed it aside.
In the real world of PE businesses in 2009 that create significant inventions that are fundable and result in real products, patents are complex and extensive undertakings. And, when we disrupt major businesses with new ideas, we find ourselves under heavy fire and deep, defensible patents are essential for our protection (and, hence, for funding).
If I was mistaken about Provisionals being disclosed, my apologies. Typically for us, Provisionals are quickly replaced by patents, which are disclosed when we make the non-US filings.
President & CEO
OnLive and Rearden
Now see that wasn’t too hard – you provided a substantive post. Aren’t you glad I pulled that out of you?
I have no problem with anyone disagreeing with me or holding contrarion views. For 6, ridicule is as natural as his lack of logic. Babel, you are defnitiely NOT in the same class as 6.
Are your really wanting to go back to your hackneyed “paper’ arguments? Shall I bring up the STILL unanswered post regarding Printed Matter Doctrine, or is the mere mention of this sufficient to yet again put track shoes on your feet and watch you run away (yet again)?110
I have to comment on these DOA claims (first posted by 6, above) currently pending at the USPTO and awaiting execution with extreme prejudice:
1. A reality program, comprising: participants who submit business proposals to receive funding to be used to implement the proposals; a host who interacts with the participants and an audience; and a financial provider who reviews and selects at least one of the proposals, and who provides funding to the at least one participant who submitted the selected at least one proposal; wherein the selected at least one participant invests the funding to develop the selected proposal, and further wherein the selected at least one participant is tracked over time to monitor the development of the selected at least one participant’s business proposal.”
2. The reality program of claim 1, wherein the program is provided on at least one of television and the internet.
Substitute the word “novel” for “reality program” in claim 1. Then substitute “paper” for “television and the Internet.”
My advice to the PTO is to simply throw this application in the trash and pretend it was never filed.109
first to file and other nonsense. patent reform is a fraud on America…
please see link to truereform.piausa.org for a different/opposing view on patent reform108
Careful Babel boy, if you start making sense only ridicule awaits you here.
Also, Doctor Doom isn’t very good looking 🙁107
Noise above — Yes, sir, I have read Dr. Doom’s masterpiece. It’s really not worth reading tho’, IMHO — just to save you the effort.
You contend that Dr. Doom addresses all of my points on PPA’s. You are sorely mistaken. He doesn’t address any of them. He does not mention PPA’s or the interaction between PPA’s and FtF. What have you been reading, dude, the Cliff Notes version?
But for Max, those commenting here are being completely duped by this anti-FTF dog and pony show. This is the “king’s new clothes”, man, and you are the suckers.
Look at his FIG 1. You couldn’t tell me what that thing is saying if your pay check depended on it. Did you check his sources? Well, the link he gives in the graph doesn’t exactly help. I’ll bet you couldn’t derive that graph from those WIPO data in a million years for a million dollars.
See those axes in FIG 1??? Log – log. If that doesn’t set of some warning bells, you’re statistically illiterate. The ordinate is a 1000-fold span and the abscissa is a 100-fold span. That is often done to exaggerate the data.
What does “Applications per million of constant US dollars” mean? Is that applications per year? Per resident? Per dog and pony?
Dr. Doom refers repeatedly to the “numerical trend line.” What the blink is that? Where are any regression analyses? Like a simple linear regression would be nice. Where are any statistics at all? If you’re gonna’ use a log-log view, some tightness of fit figures would sure be entertaining.
Do you understand what Dr. Doom means by “domestic patent filing intensity”??? My bet is that you, like the rest of us, don’t have a clue. But it sounds good, eh?
Given the time and a modicum of objectivity, anyone here could rip this thing to absolute shreds. Take, as an additional example, Dr. Doom’s mischaracterization of the proposed time line for derivation proceedings. The Senate bill says the Board may defer initiating a DP until up to 3 months after issuance. It also says one who wants to bring a DP must do so within 12 months of first publication, presumably of the offending application or patent.
OK, what’s the problem? The problem is that Dr. Doom morphs this into a new “rule” that the Board “must take action” within 3 months of issue and therefore there’s not a fair chance for the little guy to bring a DP if the application first gets published as the patent.
Bulll. That’s not what the bill says.
SB 515: “Any such request [for DP] may only be made within 12 months after the date of first publication of an application containing a claim that is the same or is substantially the same as the claimed invention”
If the offending application first publishes as the patent, then you don’t have to initiate DP until 1 year after the patent is published. The 3 month deferral option has nothing to do with it.
But the best part of the dog/pony show is the extrapolation from current interference numbers or foreign filing numbers to get projected numbers of DP proceedings.
Dr. Doom fails to realize that Americans are smart enough that they will get the drift. They will learn to keep their mouths shut about their invention until they can file their provisional so there will be no need to file many DPs. If you keep your mouth shut and someone else files first, then they didn’t derive the invention from you and you’ve got no case. They thought it up on their own and you were too slow to protect yourself. You lose; life’s rough. If you give up the information and don’t have an NDA or a record, you don’t have a case either. Nor should you.
Filings will go up 50%?? Maybe, if you include PPAs. But even then the only filings that will increase is the 30% that are now filed by US residents that are not continuations or RPEs.
But even so, examinations will drop by the same amount, or more, because most filings won’t be prosecuted. Put in deferred examination, and examinations will drop by much, much more. The result will be a decrease in time to FOAM.
Let me give you a hint on this FTF business. When somebody starts arguing unconstitutionality of FTF, you know it’s probably not worth investing a lot of time in reading what else they have to say.
Dr. Doom claims “a solid majority of law review articles considering the issue” conclude that FTF is unconstitutional. Does he show you what that “solid majority” actually looks like? Does he give you any numbers?? Two out of three? HA! He gives you one lonely reference.
Give me a break. When will these people give up on that whacked out argument that the constitution protects “inventors” (i.e., slugs) who come up with an idea and then sit on it for 5 years before filing anything? It ain’t so. Jefferson would puke at that idea.
IMHO, as I’ve expressed before, FTF is a far superior system for the small guy so long as there are strong prior use rights, there are cheap provisional filings, and there is a deferred examination. The US could be on the verge of building the best system in the world, instead of limping along with one of the worse.
BTW, a lot of practitioners are surprised to learn that the US already has a 3 year deferral of examination. You just gotta’ ask for it.106
I don’t recall having replied to you Mortal, perhaps you are Ron K?105
bsn, in the continued absence of MaxDrei, can you comment on the discrepancy between “fairly based” and “enabled”. When adjudicating between rival but independent filers in Australia, none of which prior publishes before the others file, do you still use a “prior claiming” standard, already discredited in Europe? With your Australian discrepancy, I don’t see how you can use the European “whole contents” approach, much better, and now unassailable after 30 years of intensive development. But I’m keen to learn.104
6, thanks for your reply103
In the absence of MaxDrei, I invite Dr Katznelson to reply, on the point that F2I encourages submarine patents. Those thinking of investing in new product line manufacture within the USA must allow for the arrival of strategic patent “missiles”, with the potential to destroy the business, and fired by the owners of belatedly-surfacing, missile-firing submarines. I believe that, other things being equal, FtF allows investors more confidence to invest in new manufacturing ventures. than they have with FtI. In a FtF world, the submarines can stay under water for 18 months, but no longer. In a FtI world they can stay under for much, much longer. So, I can see why Mr Perlman is a fan of F2I, and I can see why US industry is not. Question is, Dr Katznelson, which is more important, for the future prosperity of the USA?102
I think Max has it right:
” …the special embodiment of “F2F”, in the present House or Senate Bill, is definitely not “best mode” but, instead, a bast@rdised, mish-mashed dog’s breakfast, no good to man nor beast, which will indeed bring down the sky.”
A well constructed FTF system overcomes most of the arguments raised above. Let me give you some ideas from the Australian system (I don’t claim it to be perfect, but some things are pretty good).
It is routine to file several provisional applications, each directed to improvements of the invention, in the Paris Convention year. The final (examined) application can incorporate each of these improvements. You may thus have a number of claims with different priority dates attached, but that in itself is not a problem. Our equivalent of enablement isn’t assessed against the provisional application – there is a lower standard that the claims ultimately pursued must be ‘fairly based’ on the disclosure in the provisional. In effect, you don’t need to have reduced to practice before filing a provisional, as long as you do so within 12 months.
We have a grace period to protect either inadvertent disclosure or ignorant disclosure. The grace peiod acts in concert with the Paris convention year – in effect one gets a bonus year before filing a complete spec, either as a grace period or (more preferably) under the protection of a provisional application.
There is indeed a ‘race to invent and file’, instead of merely a ‘race to invent’. As others have noted, neither is inherently better than the other, but the former is a considerably easier way to determine a winner.
Yes, there are a number of inventions abandoned within the Paris convention year. There is another percentage which are abandoned before examination, because this requires a positive action on behalf of the applicant. How many US patents are abandoned at the first report stage not because the objections couldn’t be overcome but because there is no longer a commercial imperative for the patent?
And I repeat my earlier comment. If one is to rely on statistics as ‘facts’ to support an argument, it is incumbent on that person to use statistics which are a fair representation of reality, are not cherry-picked, are current, and are appropriately sourced and referenced.101
I’m disapointed not to have had overnight from Dr Katznelson even an acknowledgement of my most recent posting. If it’s too naive and stupid even to warrant a response, he might have said. But, as he hasn’t I’m assuming that my question is for the time being sitting in his “Too Difficult” tray. I think it is by no means a “given” that the pre-eminent industrial position of the USA in the 20th century was all because of its F2I patent system. I see other reasons, and believe that it got there despite its F2I system (but then, I would believe that, wouldn’t I?). I say that F2I fosters submarine patents, which might be why Mr Perlman likes it so much. My question was whether, in today’s faster, internet-connected world, all those lurking missile-carrying strategic submarine patents deter rapid investment in new manufacturing lines inside the USA (as compared with what would be the case under F2F).
On reflection, maybe you’re right yet again, Dr Katznelson. Indeed best ignored.100
^ yes, adopting FTF in the U.S. would increase the number of applications per year at the USPTO and that we would see an increase in the number of low *relevant quality* applications that will be useless to their owners? ”
We would also see less respect for the patent system as even fewer applications survive the patenting process and even fewer are held to be valid and infringed in litigation.
Additionally, the quality of the disclosure in the published applications and issued patents would decrease, thereby decreasing the value of the patent system as a well organized and categorized technical library, often for articles which would never otherwise be published, such as most mechanical inventions as opposed to scientific inventions.
It is a lose-lose situation.99
“costly and risky appeal process that should not have occurred ”
Should never have occurred. Lol, great to have you be the judge on that one. Maybe it should have occurred, who are you to say?
“Paul, can I get your candid response? Do you really believe that adopting FTF in the U.S. would not increase the number of applications per year at the USPTO and that we would not see an increase in the number of low *relevant quality* applications that will be useless to their owners? ”
I don’t think Paul argues with you on this front. He simply feels the benefits far outweigh the problems. Considering the $/time currently used to determine if a ref is valid or not under 102 a, b, e blah blah blah would be wiped out, it probably would outweigh the problems.
Never the less, this is hardly the time to be making such changes what with the econ n backlog n all.98
Thanks for sticking to substance and for providing thoughtful remarks.
You say: “As to the lower EPO early application abandonment statistics for U.S. [parent application] based EPO applications, it is important to note that (1) most of these are filed by major U.S. companies which simply do not do “abandonment reviews” at that early stage, and (2) they were already filed on a de facto “first to file” basis [NOT a FTI assumption] in order to preserve foriegn patent rights”
First, the EPO statistics I cited for both first-filings and second non-priority filings are for Euro-Direct applications only, filed directly at the EPO without going via the PCT route. Second, these non-priority applications are not only US based applications, as you surmise. I suspect that the majority of US-based applications at the EPO arrive via the PCT and are not included in these statistics. Indeed, EPO applications filed via the PCT exhibit even lower abandonment rates than those I cite for non-priority EPO-direct filings (see Lazaridis’ work from which I derived my data in Slide 9). Third, the fact that some non-priority applications rely on an earlier FTF filing date does not take away from their applicants’ ability to improve or filter those, as MaxDrei suggests. These are clearly more mature applications than first-filings “under the FTF gun”. Thus, what I show in Slide 9, is the closest one can come to an “apples to apples” comparison of applications with subject matter filed under FTF and those with subject matter that has been better developed and vetted prior to filing of that application.
Paul, can I get your candid response? Do you really believe that adopting FTF in the U.S. would not increase the number of applications per year at the USPTO and that we would not see an increase in the number of low *relevant quality* applications that will be useless to their owners? Please provide factual support for your answer.97
Lieutenant Dangle: “Not being able to swear behind a reference will not bar an applicant at the outset from obtaining a patent. You assume that the entire 3%-5% of applicants will just give up and abandon the case when faced with what is currently an intervening reference. The vast majority of applicants will amend their claims to get around the reference, thereby obtaining the claim scope to which they are entitled under first-to-file”.
Lt. Dangle, before you concluded that “this logic fails spectacularly”, have you actually seen *data* that shows the stage of prosecution in which applicants actually invoke their Rule 131 right to antedate a reference? Of course applicants will first amend their claims to get around the reference, as you suggest. They are already doing that. In all the sample Rule 131 affidavits I have seen on PAIR (admittedly a number too small for declaring definite statistical significance), *none* were filed before a second office action. It makes sense, no? After all, would you advise your client to use Rule 131 unless absolutely necessary to sustain a claim they absolutely need and are entitled to? Decisions to file Rule 131 affidavits are not taken lightly. These declarations (appropriately) require evidentiary corroboration of inventor testimony regarding reduction to practice [Slip Track Systems, Inc. v. Metal-Lite, Inc., 304 F.3d 1256, 1266 (Fed. Cir. 2002)], which would be subject to further challenge in any subsequent patent dispute.
Are there cases where such affidavits are suspect? Yes, as in any proceeding, and when and if it matters in a dispute, they are appropriately vetted. Are there more of these Rule 131 declarations filed than is warranted? Probably, as Lionel Hutz attests above: “131 affidavits have offered me an easy way out when a tenacious examiner insists on maintaining a superficially reasonable, but incorrect 103 rejection and the client does not want to appeal.” The point is that without invoking Rule 131, Lionel would have found himself among the growing number of applicants that are denied meritorious claims and are pushed through a costly and risky appeal process that should not have occurred (see Figure 2 of my comments to OMB on the Appeal Rules at
link to works.bepress.com, comments that I believe contributed to OMB’s decision to withhold approval of USPTO’s implementation of these draconian rules).
So you see, Lt. Dangle, we have every indication that applicants filing Rule 131 affidavits are already facing substantial risk of losing *substantive* patent rights, or prohibitive costs for securing those rights. The number of such declarations is therefore extremely relevant to the potential effects of FTF. I urge you to produce evidence to the contrary.96
So, now I’ve skimmed through the doc on the link above from Dr Katznelson, and thought about the Perlman conbtributions, I guess FtI vs FtF comes down to the questions a) whether entrepreneur Perlman’s business would have been less successful, had he been operating in a FtF jurisdiction, and if so (which I don’t believe) b) whether what’s good for Mr Perlman is good for America.
Patent applications that emerge, for the first time, many years after conception, I would call “submarine patents”. I can see that submarine patents (FtI) are good for inventors like Mr Lemelson. I see that submarine patents have a chilling effect on investment in innovative manufacturing industry. More difficult is the question whether a systemic encouragement of submarine patents will, in aggregate, create more new product lines. So too the question whether a switch to FtI will have, in aggregate, a chilling effect on inventive activity.
Anyway, now I have looked at the Katznelson link, I see (apologies Dr Katznelson), that your beef is against FtF as such, regardless how it is implemented.95
“Cloaking the proposed changes in § 102 as directed towards eliminating 70 interferences per year out of 460,000 applications is just a smoke screen.
Based on USPTO data, 3%-5% of applicants end up filing Rule 131 affidavits swearing behind a cited reference. Under “new § 102” with the current application filing rate, at least 14,000-23,000 applicants every year will be barred at the outset from obtaining a patent, relative to those that can obtain patents under current law.”
This logic fails spectacularly. Not being able to swear behind a reference will not bar an applicant at the outset from obtaining a patent. You assume that the entire 3%-5% of applicants will just give up and abandon the case when faced with what is currently an intervening reference. The vast majority of applicants will amend their claims to get around the reference, thereby obtaining the claim scope to which they are entitled under first-to-file. They are free to amend their claims, or to pursue a different aspect of their invention. Using your logic, anyone getting any rejection in the first action would currently be barred at the outset from obtaining a patent.94
You are babbling and you obviously have NOT read Dr. Katznelson’s work. If you had, you would see that every argument you have just used is refuted. It’s nice to have opinions, but please, keep up so that your opinions can be on point and you would not appear to be so uninformed.
After reading, perhaps you and MaxDrei can come back to this planet and this country and join in the discussion of what is actually pertinent instead of making noise.93
Steve Perlman: “If you just sketch out an idea it will serve no purpose other than to disclose what you are working on to your competitors.”
I’m not sure Steve knows how PPA’s work. They aren’t disclosed to anyone unless referenced by a regular patent application (RPA), and only then not until publication. But the RPA discloses, or should disclose, what’s in the PPA anyway. So where’s the damaging disclosure by PPA?
BTW, if you are spending 95% of your patent cost by drafting the PPA, either your lawyers are taking you for a ride or your claims are real stinky. I would estimate 50% of the time for drafting an RPA is claims.
The PPA has to be an enabling disclosure. That’s essentially all. The problems with PPAs have been due to non-enablement. OK, so what’s the problem? Draft an enabling disclosure and spend $100 to file it.
And under FTF, so long as it’s enabling, all the patent rights now go to the filer. That is very, very powerful — mostly for the small inventor. The PPA also allows you to turn everything you have into intrinsic evidence, including a hand-drawn picture of the kitchen sink.
In FtF, if the invention is worth protecting, then draft an enabling disclosure and file it as PPA. Then do all the public or private disclosing you have to do. You are filed and you are in control of the rights to the invention — you are bullet-proof without worrying about who is going to backdate their lab-books after you disclose the invention to them.
FTF within the context of 1) PPA, 2) deferred examination, and 3) strong prior use rights is a far, far better system for the small inventor than FTI. The small inventor wants to sell his idea as early as possible, but under FTI he can’t do that without cutting his own throat. Under FTI once he has filed an enabling PPA, that invention is his and he can shop the invention around without worrying about the rip off.
As far as the grace period — I agree with the Megley paper — the grace period doesn’t work with FtF. Forget the grace period in FtF — the PPA is your grace period. Keep your mouth shut until you file the enabling PPA.
My bottom line is: Anybody arguing against FTF outside of the context of PPAs is off on a different planet.92
There have been some unusually good arguments above both for and against the U.S. joining the rest of the world with a first inventor to file system, and/or unintended consequences.
However, one is not. As to the lower EPO early application abandonment statistics for U.S. [parent application] based EPO applications, it is important to note that (1) most of these are filed by major U.S. companies which simply do not do “abandonment reviews” at that early stage, and (2) they were already filed on a de facto “first to file” basis [NOT a FTI assumption] in order to preserve foriegn patent rights.91
Ah, so there’s the point of difference between us. As usual, I’m arguing about how the law might be, while you argue how it IS. I bridle at assertions that First to File, as such, causes the sky to fall. Actually, I suspect that we agree, that the special embodiment of “F2F”, in the present House or Senate Bill, is definitely not “best mode” but, instead, a bast@rdised, mish-mashed dog’s breakfast, no good to man nor beast, which will indeed bring down the sky.
Now I’ll have to read your letter, to see why the flood of apps that is going to overwhelm the PTO isn’t going to materialise as a flood of provisionals (like in Europe). I want to learn, but I have other things to do, and I’m getting quite a lot from this conversation, even while doing other things. I don’t mean to treat your letter with disrespect: I did read something of yours some weeks ago, but the link above seems to take me to something else, more colourful than the B&W thing I printed out all those weeks ago.90
Yes, lets have a civilized and non-evasive discussion. I did not ask why 26% of applications drop out. I know why they drop out. Let me remind you what this discussion is all about:
Application drop out prior to Search Report:
When filing date determines priority (filed “under the FTF gun”): 26%
When filing date does not determine priority (no “FTF gun”): 2.6%
The question was: Can you explain the factor of ten in abandonment rate?
Application drop out prior to examination:
When filing date determines priority (filed “under the FTF gun”): 32%
When filing date does not determine priority (no “FTF gun”): 9.5%
The question was: Can you explain the factor of three in abandonment rate?
Does this not prove that FTF results in a lot more applications having lower *relevant quality* that are ultimately useless to their owners? Is it not reasonable to conclude that a similar effect would take place in the U.S. under FTF? This is not rocket science, is it?
You are correct that the EPO is not harmed by either types of applications. The EPO has a deferred examination system wherein applicants pay for each phase as they go and therefore withdraw low “relevant quality” applications as soon as they learn new adverse facts. Not so at the USPTO. All fees including search and examination fees are paid upfront because examination is automatic. Applicants have very little incentive to abandon applications. There is no pre-examination disposal mechanism here. Unlike the EPO, the USPTO will begin examining all the low “relevant quality” applications Under FTF. That is what we mean by ‘flood” of applications at the USPTO. Read our letter for more details on how the drafters of S. 515 have neglected to even think about “the complements” that must accompany the FTF system.
You ask “where is the harm?”. For reasons explained in our letter and my posts above, U.S. applicants will be harmed by FTF. Have you actually read the letter linked above?89
How nice to have a civilised discussion, Dr Katznelson. Thank you. Only sorry I have so little time to go into the stats as thoroughly as you have done. So, I take your 26% on trust and will now try to guess why 26% of all EPO first filings fail, before the EPO issues a search report. Here goes.
When one files, one can pay the search fee up to 13 months later. The search fee is high, but the filing fee is not, and a lot can happen during those 13 months. As readers keep on saying, non-USA apps are typically much shorter than US filings, despite the savage sufficiency requirements of FtF, so filing an effective and sufficient app is relatively cheap in Europe. So, there is a host of circumstances when filing is a good idea at the time, but is not pursued thereafter.
One would be when I file, then sell to an entrepreneur, who then follows up by filing professionally within a year, claiming the priority date of my amateur thin-ish first filing. Of your 26%, I wonder how many die without having given rise to a prio date claimed in some other, later-filed app, at the EPO or PCT. Do you know? And even if it’s more or less all the 26%, so what? I don’t see it as a negative feature of a patent system. After all, the EPO took the filing fee, then did nothing more than issue a filing receipt, while the inventor and the entrepreneur were busy doing a lucrative deal.
And it happens. Doctors in Europe are inventive, and it is the US medical device corporations who are most astute at acquiring such doctor-invented technology.
The EPO didn’t search, examine or even publish, until the US corporation took over. Where’s the harm? I’m not prejudiced against FtF, but I see a lot of writers inside the USA that are.88
Mr Mark wrote: “Still, I’m kind of surprised that no one on the peer to patent site has raised the issue of Bilski.”
Well, since your brought it up here, try this claim on for size.
“Claims of US 2008301067 (A1)
What is claimed is:
1. A reality program, comprising: participants who submit business proposals to receive funding to be used to implement the proposals; a host who interacts with the participants and an audience; and a financial provider who reviews and selects at least one of the proposals, and who provides funding to the at least one participant who submitted the selected at least one proposal; wherein the selected at least one participant invests the funding to develop the selected proposal, and further wherein the selected at least one participant is tracked over time to monitor the development of the selected at least one participant’s business proposal.”
Now its clear such a claim won’t fly under Bilski for the simple fact there is no touchable machine, or qualifying transformation. However the next dependent claims is as follows,
“2. The reality program of claim 1, wherein the program is provided on at least one of television and the internet.”
Now its clear in claim two, the invention involves the use of machines and or apparatus . The spec and drawings go into technical detail of the technology required for broadcasting a TV show or streaming it on the internet.
My question is will the PTO still reject this and similar claims under Bilski because the programs, like a stage play, can be provided without television or internet broadcast?
If not I can almost hear Donald Trump running interference now since his Apprentice show has run this very plot/concept many many times. Although for the PTO the latter would be more of a 102-103 issue.
On the other hand if such claims do start to get past the Bilski 101 gate then the entire issue of patenting copyrightable material gets new life, and we all know that means software patents will surely reap the benefit.87
Dave, I have never advised any client to wait until after test marketing an invention to file a patent application on it, under past or present statutes, as that would lose all foreign patent rights and be highly likely to lose an interference to someone else filing on it first.
But I certainly agree with your point that trying to prove that all third party disclosures before your own filing date are derrived from your inventors would be impractical or impossible for applicants, IF that is the unavoidable total effect of the proposed new 102 language.86
Malcolm, how many applications have been filed since 1859?85
sky pie dk:
You asked whether US inventors could use Provisional Applications under FTF instead of relying upon FTI.
The answer is unfortunately no: A Provisional App is only as strong as it is written. In other words, if you expect it to be as strong a patent, then it needs to be as well-written as a patent. If you just sketch out an idea it will serve no purpose other than to disclose what you are working on to your competitors.
When we file Provisionals, we file what are as strong as full specifications, but not fully polished. For example, we may have some hand-drawn figures, or there may be a typo or two, awkward phrases, etc. And, of course, there are no claims. Essentially, they are claim-free patents that have not been fully proof-read.
And, typically we use them because we need to make a public disclosure (and we want to retain non-US filing rights), but didn’t quite have enough time to get the patent polished in time.
But Provisionals don’t save us any money. By the time we file them, 95% of patent preparation fees have been incurred.
(Once, I saw a thin Provisional come up in an Office Action. And, I wondered why the inventor bothered to file it because it was so easily overcome and established no usable priority. So, weak Provisionals exist, but they don’t replace a patent at all. Indeed, I think that is why I’ve only ever seen one cited in an Office Action.)
So, in summary, Provisionals won’t help startups and universities if the US goes from FTI to FTF. If we expect to have defensible priority under FTF, we’ll need to incur the cost of a real patent filing for every invention we conceive of, whether the invention is a dead-end or not. And, that will dramatically disadvantage startups.
I don’t know about how startups are doing in FTF countries, but my US-based startups (with deep patents) have been successfully closing fundraising this year at solid valuations(working on a third tranche right now). I will say that in my entire career I’ve never seen so much emphasis placed on our patent portfolios. In times of high uncertainty, patents give startups tangible value and make them fundable.
President & CEO
OnLive and Rearden Companies
Ron “For over two centuries under this legal system, American FTI patent law has protected inventors and their investors from the “uncertainty cloud of patent rights”
How many applications were filed in 1859?83
” Do you believe that under FTF, (a) the number of applications will not rise? (b) the quality of applications will not decline? This is a YES/NO question.”
First, when you put a question to someone in this manner, you need to make sure that your question is comprehensible.
I assume by “the number of applications” that you mean “the number of applications per year,” i.e., the rate of filing.
Over the long term (five to ten years out), the answers are NO, the rate of filing will not increase, and YES, the quality of applications will not go down. As to how much of this result is due to the change from first-to-invent to first-to-file, I’m guessing the answer will be very little.82
I wish you would check your facts before making sweeping pronouncements. I will be the last person to “howl” when improvements at the USPTO would take place. See my critical analysis of the problems at the USPTO.
link to works.bepress.com
I suspect that on this quality issue, we agree.81
It appears that like some others here, you do not *read* my comments. My point about abandonments when inventors discover that an invention they applied for does not work was not that under FTI inventions will work. Of course it happens all the time. But under FTI we do not file in most of these cases. My point was in rebuttal to MaxDrei’s assertions, showing him that under FTF a lot more of these cases exist. So I will put it to you directly Malcolm: Do you believe that under FTF, (a) the number of applications will not rise? (b) the quality of applications will not decline? This is a YES/NO question. That said, I acknowledge that negative answers to these questions, in and of themselves, do not prove my point. Balancing other costs and benefits must be included. – Read on.
There are those who argue that under the provisional application practice, applicants should have recourse under FTF. Sky Pie DK asks: “even under FtF, why couldn’t an inventor just file *a lot* of provisionals and keep working before deciding which ones to convert?”
The answer is that this is exactly what will harm American startups, which is what we are trying to avoid. First, many inventions do not mature within one year. Second, for all practical purposes, except for saving a few dollars in filing fees, a provisional application that can sustain priority rights is essentially indistinguishable from a non-provisional application. A provisional that does not provide robust Section 112 support, may not be effective in and of itself. Small entity applicants already use provisionals in virtually all their priority filings (see Slide 7 of my FTC presentation linked above). The availability of provisionals does nothing to reduce the *frequency* with which applicants would have to file under FTF.
The advantage of FTF cited in comments to this thread is that it eliminates the “uncertainty cloud of patent rights” by fixing and publishing the record upon which applicants can rely to establish patent priority.
To the extent that “patent rights” are to be determined based on a partial record comprised solely of papers filed at the USPTO, then FTF and “new § 102” will indeed remove the uncertainty. Under FTI, however, patent rights are determined based on the *full record*. Under FTI, patent applications and their content are only a part of the record but are significant public stakes in the ground that leave some uncertainty only in a very small fraction of cases – patents that end up in disputes. In contrast, under FTF, there will be a different “cloud of uncertainty” that is much more harmful *to every patentee*: what part of the record that encompasses the invention process will ultimately prove to be essential in sustaining the patent right? This is often unknown upon filing the priority application. FTI permits augmenting the public record in a small minority of cases (disputed cases) in order to establish the boundaries of the patent right. This later ability provides some reassurance to investors for investing in new inventions because the applications are not the “catchall”. Under FTF, all development activity, experimentations, lab reports, marketing surveys, records of using the inventions, etc. would be irrelevant for establishing patent rights. These will be discarded, even if they demonstrate an earlier invention and show that the inventor did not unduly delay filing the application. Thus, under FTF, all applicants will face the “uncertainty cloud of patent rights” and the higher risk of losing the patent right would turn more investment capital away from startups to less riskier opportunities, such as large incumbent companies who will be better able to use their market power to retain or gain market share.
So it all boils down to where one is willing to accept the “uncertainty cloud of patent rights” and the associated costs of removing the uncertainty. Some believe that under FTI, the dates shown on the face of a U.S. patent leave too much uncertainty in efforts to locate prior art that may invalidate it. On the other hand, we believe that under FTF, the uncertainty of securing the patent right in the first place will be too high, resulting in declining investments in new startups that depend on secure patent rights. The hallmark of the American legal system is that it seeks to remove uncertainty by engaging in substantive examination of the *full factual evidentiary record* rather than by adopting procedures designed to eliminate such equitable inquiry for the sake of administrative convenience. For over two centuries under this legal system, American FTI patent law has protected inventors and their investors from the “uncertainty cloud of patent rights” at the expense of facial certainty of the dates available for invalidating prior art. Other nations chose to go the other way. The results speak for themselves as one compares the robust startup and new technology economy of the U.S. with that in foreign countries.80
“Yep, with endless and unreasonable rejections, especially when some big company does not want a patent to issue.”
Here’s a general rule of thumb for you. If there is a combination to be made that may render the patent invalid, and it would not be outrageous to make the rejection, as opposed to merely, meh, this case could go either eway, then you will get a rejection. Perhaps unreasonable to the view of many, and perhaps even unreasonable when viewed in a certain light from the examiner himself, but none the less, the rejection will be made.
Now ask yourself, why is that? The reason is because we’re here to present prima facie cases. Not necessarily the most rock solid. How does the case look on its face? Obvious? Then you get a rejection.
Now, this isn’t the end of the world, because there are reviewer courts to take a closer look at everything and make sure that the case is actually obvious. It is at this stage where a disconnect has occured over the years, but for the applicant’s benefit, and the balance is overall maintained.
Then, throw the case being a high profile case into the mix and you have yourself a recipe for the PTO to necessarily send out the rejection. Why is that? The answer in the next episode of… the 6 report.
“Maybe you can shed some light on allegations that a patent pirating company flew USPTO management around on their jet and that there was a close correlation between the timing of those encounters and other USPTO actions?”
Certainly, from what I understand, it all happened, and nothing was improper about it until you put forward some evidence showing so.
STEVE! So good to see you! Did you get my email? Will you be retiring your “self”? If you did not recieve the previous email, I would be obliged if you could provide me with a shell email account at which you can be reached.
“Or maybe you can explain why the USPTO terminated the mercexchange reexam after ebay bought those patents.”
I don’t know how it was terminated so no. Perhaps they found them allowable and it was all good?79
Well, who is the new Director already??? I’m on the edge of my fraking seat here…78
RonK “But this is not the only harm to applicants. More to follow.”
Some people just don’t know when to give up.
I’m not sure where the claim that “first to file leads to better quality applications” came from. I know I haven’t made such a claim. My bias towards a first-to-file system has more to do with harmonization and getting rid of the baroque bullcrap that has infected US patent law (both legislative and judge-made) as a result of our present system.
RonK: “What you have neglected to say is what happens if your inventor learns that the invention *does not* work, or if a much better and different approach was devised. Presumably, the preliminary priority filings would be abandoned.”
This happens routinely in the present system. It’s neither a feature or a bug, just something that happens.
The only way to improve better patent applications is to improve examination. And that means that fewer patents will be granted because far less junk will slip through the gaping holes that exist in the PTO examining corp right now. Either way, we can be certain that RonK and Co. will howl because, at the end of the day, there is a large contingent of people who are invested in a system wherein crappy patents on every trivial thing you can think of are achieved quickly without great expense. Anything that smooths the past towards that end will be applauded; any obstacle in the way will be derided as “discouraging innovation.”77
I have read your previous posts and I think it was not the “imposter” to whom I will now respond. You have just made our point in your previous post last night. You described your own process in Europe wherein after filing a preliminary notion of an invention, you then learn whether the invention works, the inventors tell you a lot more about their invention (presumably, what they learned *after* the preliminary filing) and you subsequently have to file a lengthier disclosure of the “same” invention (presumably, to complement the *deficient* preliminary filing), and declare the priority of the earlier filing (presumably, only for subject matter that was adequately disclosed and enabled to support the claims, but not for new matter). What you have neglected to say is what happens if your inventor learns that the invention *does not* work, or if a much better and different approach was devised. Presumably, the preliminary priority filings would be abandoned. Clearly, the result of this process is that instead of having a *single* application that describes and claims a *workable* invention (as is the case under FTI), you end up with having two applications.
You then attribute the abandonments of first filings solely to the filter mechanism of the “excellent EPO search” (a quality assessment with which I agree, at least in comparison with the USPTO), and suggest that this theory explains the difference in abandonment rates of first filings compared to non-priority filings. Your theory may only account for part of the abandonments, as you ignore my specific question asking that you explain the 26% dropout rate *prior to the search report* in first filings, compared to only 2.6% in non priority filings. Clearly, the “excellent EPO search” is not relevant to this huge difference. Moreover, your “Search Report” theory must also explain the substantial difference between the 32% post Search Report dropout of first filings and the 9.5% rate in non-priority filings.
In sum, MaxDrei, you have not shown that FTF produces fewer or better quality applications. On the contrary: you actually confirmed that it produces more applications that are filed prematurely, that lower quality applications (which would not have been filed under FTI) are subsequently replaced by more mature applications and that priority first-filings are abandoned more often due to inadequate applicant vetting against the prior art. This, at higher patenting costs to applicants. But this is not the only harm to applicants. More to follow.76
Dennis, Dr Katznelson, readers, over on The Patent Prospector, somebody who isn’t me posted yesterday (May 08, at 07.56 am) as MaxDrei. So now I imagine that the same might happen here. But, not to worry. Because I post often, and always in the same style, and because the impersonator has a different agena, false postings will immediately reveal themselves as false. So boring.
I would prefer to continue posting as MaxDrei but it’s no skin off my nose if I have to switch to another pseudonym. For effect I rely on the content of my postings, rather than the name under which I post.
Come to think of it, what the heck. Many readers say that what I post is anyway exclusively rubbish, so a bit more twaddle in my name won’t make any difference. All the same, Dennis, if you can cap it off, I should be grateful.75
Boundy “Or would you, like Malcolm, advise the inventor that it’s crazy to wait, better to file early and often (and crappy) than wait?”
Uh, David? That is not at all what I said.74
Ronald Riley, thanks for your comments. My argument might help your cause.
The USPTO does care about large and small entities, i.e. the public, and I am skeptical about the USPTO having a bias towards large corporations. First of all the Office does have small entity fees, and second of all the Office did try to pass the recent rules package in the interest of patent quality. Yes, you might say the rules were in the interest of reducing the backlog, but consider that if clients were forced to make decisions on their applications quickly then they would look for meaningful protection instead of wasting what valuable little time they have.
Applicants are currently allowed to file tons of claims at extra cost. There is good reason in patent law to allow this, however it leaves the system open to much abuse.
An applicant looking for quality patent protection for their invention may have claims of varying scope. One could accomplish varying scope through the use of extra claims in one application, or through continuation applications. A cost analysis would show the cost of extra claims is comparable to that of a continuation when the number of extra claims is at or below the current number of claims that do not require additional cost in a regular application.
However, the abuse occurs when someone has an anti-patent agenda, i.e. they desire low-quality and even invalid patents. What happens is they can file tons of claims that are very broad. Broad claims force the examiner to make rejections, which in turn takes more time especially when there are tons of claims. Even further, with KSR, dependent claims are more likely to be obvious variations under one or more rationales.
The reason this is a problem, is that when the examiners’ time is taken up by these huge overly broad applications, they have less time to thoroughly examine applications with reasonable length and scope. Those reasonable applications likely filed by someone looking for quality patent protection at a reasonable cost.
There are at least two ways to mitigate such problems. First, there can be rules that limit the number of claims examined per application. Second, the production system can be adjusted to allow examiners more time for applications with more claims. Either way something has to give. As it is now, the system appears biased.
I know this is a simplified analysis. I can’t hit every single topic in one post. Other topics might include the rules package going way too far, the effects of attorneys milking their clients for easy money, and the heavy cost of litigation versus the relatively small cost of prosection.73
Someone from the USPTO says “Well of course we are. Who’s interests do you think we’re serving?
At the same time, we also serve your small business client’s interests as well.
The way we serve their interests is by examining the apps they send in.
Posted by: 6 | May 09, 2009 at 12:41 AM”
Yep, with endless and unreasonable rejections, especially when some big company does not want a patent to issue. I receive a considerable amount of feedback from examiners and have been repeatedly told that management makes it clear that certain party’s patents should not issue. The same applies to reexaminations which allow patent thieves to profit with impunity.
Maybe you can shed some light on allegations that a patent pirating company flew USPTO management around on their jet and that there was a close correlation between the timing of those encounters and other USPTO actions?
A private detective contacted me at one point related to their investigation of this issue and told me that they were certain that the flight(s) occurred but were having trouble getting anyone to speak on the record about this.
This is just one of many allegations which have surfaced concerning the USPTO becoming the long arm of specific vested interests.
Or maybe you can explain why the USPTO terminated the mercexchange reexam after ebay bought those patents.
At best there is an appearance of USPTO wrong doing at high levels.
At worst the law is being broken within the agency.
Then there is the issue of the agency placing paid staff in congress to promote an agenda detrimental to inventor interests.
There is much more!!
It would be an understatement to say that the USPTO management’s relationship with independent inventors is at an all time low. This is something which management drove.
Ronald J. Riley,
Speaking only on my own behalf.
President – http://www.PIAUSA.org – RJR at PIAUSA.org
Executive Director – http://www.InventorEd.org – RJR at InvEd.org
Senior Fellow – http://www.PatentPolicy.org
President – Alliance for American Innovation
Caretaker of Intellectual Property Creators on behalf of deceased founder Paul Heckel
Direct (810) 597-0194 / (202) 318-1595 – 9 am to 8 pm EST.72
What are inventors’ thoughts regarding provisional applications? These appear to be used in much the same way as FtF applications would be used – to secure a priority date. I recognize that typically provisionals have a thin disclosure that doesn’t provide support for the full scope of the invention typically claimed in the resulting utility application. However, they’re still cheaper to file than utility cases. Even under FtF, why couldn’t an inventor just file a lot of provisionals and keep working before deciding which ones to convert?71
I’m grateful for the response Dr Katznelson. I post under a pseudonym because I have other things to do, and not much time to post here. Readers, give my comments exactly as much weight as you think they warrant. Feel free.
It’s Saturday, so I will give it less time than ever.
Your anti- FtF point is that so many first filings at the EPO “abandoned”. Here are two reasons (for what they’re worth) why I’m sceptical.
1) The excellent EPO search knocks out much of the scope. what is left is protected in a fresh EP or PCT filing, before the end of the Paris year, with a declaration of the priority of the “abandoned” priority filing, and a spec that demonstrates patentability over the closest art.
2) The inventors have been working, all through the Paris year, and have told me a lot more about their invention. At the end of the Paris year, I file a lengthier disclosure of the “same” invention, and declare the priority of the earlier filing.
Indeed, for my clients, the routine procedure is i) file ii) digest search report iii) supplement the disclosure iv) file PCT.
Sorry if that’s all covered in your ITC slide. Is it? Would be interested if it blows my theory away.
And, as bsn wrote, better marginally more pat applns to read than millions of pages of lab notebooks to reead before we know which rival gets the patent, no?70
I’ve developed QuickTime, most of Microsoft’s TV products, Moxi, Mova Contour and recently, OnLive, in the US under the FTI system. Under FTI, we file far fewer patents and they are much deeper and more relevant, than we would have to under FTF to to retain priority.
For example, in the case of Mova Contour, a 3D facial capture technology which was used to capture Brad Pitt’s face in “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”, over the course of about 5 years of development we came up with about 100 distinct inventions. Almost all were dead-ends, and by the time we were done, only 7 of the inventions were in the final working system. Those are the only patents that were filed, and they were deep.
To have retained priority under FTF, we would have had to file shallow disclosures on all 100 inventions, which would have been far too costly for a startup. We could have tried to select what looked like the most promising inventions at the outset, but as it turns out, the most promising invention at the outset was a dead-end. We went back to a combination of 2 different initial inventions that turned out to be the key. So, even had we taken our best guess of a subset to file under FTF, we would have been wrong.
We spend between US$5K-15K per patent filing, so FTI drastically reduces our patent filing costs as well as reduces engineer distractions. And, it reduces the number of patents the USPTO has to handle. It has allowed us to move very rapidly and build very defensible startups (all 100% practicing entities).
Given the current economic environment, our startups have only closed funding this year because of the depth of their patent portfolios. They are core to due diligence. Under FTF, I do not see how we could have developed the patent portfolios that enabled us to find funding this year.
FTF would heavily benefit large companies who have the resources to file “race to the patent office” patents. While I was President at Microsoft I was essentially instructed to file a patent on “anything that moves” to “paper the patent office”. I can attest to the fact that large US companies recognize they have a huge resource advantage in patent filings. FTI gives startups and universities a fighting chance and is one reason why the US has such a robust startup economy.
President & CEO
OnLive, Inc. & Rearden Companies69
Or, to reduce it to practical terms, Paul, if an inventor came to you for advice, and said “I want to test market my gadget. I can do that for a year, right? Because I’ve got a grace period?”
Would YOU advise the inventor to wait to file? Or would you, like Malcolm, advise the inventor that it’s crazy to wait, better to file early and often (and crappy) than wait?68
Paul Morgan –
I addressed this language directly in my post of May 8, 12:46 PM.
I know that 102(…)(B) exists as a theoretical matter. The “grace period” it creates is totally illusory. In the real world where decisions have to be made on the information available today, not the information available years ago, the practical problems of proof render this supposed “grace period” totally unreliable and unuseable. Sure, the words are there on the page, but as a PRACTICAL provision that you can advise a business on – it’s non-existent.
Paul, we’ve worked together over AIPLA notice-and-comment letters, and I know you’re capable of looking past words on a page to their practical effect. Time to put that back to work.
“There is a broad perception in the inventor community that the USPTO is serving the interests of big companies. ”
Well of course we are. Who’s interests do you think we’re serving?
At the same time, we also serve your small business client’s interests as well.
The way we serve their interests is by examining the apps they send in.66