USPTO Fees: Look for Increases

Gary Locke (Secretary of Commerce) has again indicated the Obama Administration’s support for the pending patent reform bill S. 515.  [Letter].  The letter also suggests that the PTO should be given authority to raise its fees, including “a limited interim fee adjustment.” 

For many years, the PTO has been funded entirely by user fees.  I hope that the same can continue to avoid such direct Congressional control over PTO spending.  But the PTO clearly needs money, and the alternative of cutting PTO services is likewise highly unappealing.  The third alternative: raise fees.

In the past, I have reported that patent applicant behavior is relatively inelastic to PTO fee changes. Although a 15% increase in fees would reduce the number of applications, the total revenue would increase. 

If the PTO is going to increase fees – how should it structure that increase? Notably, should more the burden be placed on (1) standard application fees; (2) issue and maintentance fees; or (3) luxury fees for excess claiming (20+) extensions of time?  All Universities qualify for the small-entity fee reduction. Does that still make sense?

Notes: The letter from Locke also promotes the idea of worksharing between patent offices when the same invention is being examined in multiple locations.

172 thoughts on “USPTO Fees: Look for Increases

  1. 171

    “He could do your job with about 5 minutes of training. ”

    Actually probably not. But he could try, he’s nearly schooled in my art, he just quit halfway through to join the military. Mostly because he got a few bad grades imo. I still think he should have stuck it out tho. Even all C’s could have landed him an ok job.

    “It’s highly doubtful the applicants would notice any difference between you and him.

    Only because you’ve never had an action from me.

  2. 170

    “My bud used to sit atop a ‘guard’ post at a base in ‘friendly’ territory in Africa not long ago.”

    If your bud’s job is so easy, feel free to trade places with him. He could do your job with about 5 minutes of training. It’s highly doubtful the applicants would notice any difference between you and him.

  3. 168

    “In fact only my fingers get much of a workout at all.”

    Yup — the disconnect switch to the brain is in fine working order. Damm those who try to make me think.

  4. 167

    “You have the easiest job in the federal government.”

    LOL WUT? My bud used to sit atop a “guard” post at a base in “friendly” territory in Africa not long ago.

    But you’re right, it is a pretty easy job in so far as we consider physical exertion. In fact only my fingers get much of a workout at all. Unfortunately ashats like yourself attempt to make the whole day nothing but a headache.

    “You present these exceptional cases as the norm. They are not. ”

    Maybe not in the toilet paper holder arts. But maybe you could take a step outside and breath a breath of fresh organic chem. or radiation sensing devices etc etc. And while they still might not be the “norm” they certainly are not uncommon or rare.

  5. 166

    “Actaully that’s why I probably will not be an examiner the rest of my life.”

    You’re not going anywhere. You know it. I know it. Everybody knows it.

    You have the easiest job in the federal government. Even you are capable of seeing that truth.

  6. 165

    “For applicants, what is the good news under the proposed new procedures? So far I have learned that the appeals backlog will get longer and RCE’s will be acted on more slowly.”

    I think the Office position is that it will motivate applicants to claim their invention quicker and aid in compact prosecution. Management also says the reduced counts for RCEs is an “initiative” for examiners to compact prosecution. Seems to me like it’s punitive rather than an incentive, particularly since the applicant generally controls RCE filings (some examiners don’t help the situation when they drag out prosecution for their own personal gain).

    More bad news for applicants. I’m betting they raise fees per subsequent RCE, perhaps even increasing allowance fees depending on how many RCES it took. If they’re looking at providing “incentives” like this for examiners for compacting prosecution, I’m sure it will also be passed on further to applicant. After all, the compacting of prosecution fence swings both ways.

    I actually don’t see this as much different from the incremental 1-5 month extension fees already in place. Any thoughts on this?

  7. 164

    Notruths wrote “The safety net is a bait and switch. You vote for this thing thinking that management will forever keep track of your production under a new and old system, and a few years down the road the safety net goes bye-bye.”

    Clearly, your anti-management sentiment is very strong. Not all of us think the “man” is out to get us. Old admin., perhaps. But things have changed. I do not think the new system is a permanent solution but it’s a start. Any change is risky, but to fear all change, well, that’s just silly.

    “What you are saying is silly. They are not going to forever track your production two ways, allow you to choose the best of the two, and thereby undermining all the “de-incentiving RCE work” that they are supposedly accomplishing.”

    I never said they would. However, I also think it’s silly to think they would keep a system that decreases production. They are the ones who risk the most in giving us more time overall (for most, apparaently not for all) without the guarantee of reduced pendency or increased production.

    “The reason they have the safety net now is because of the transition, and the fact that they may revert to the old system.”

    Yes, and their master plan is to take away more counts and give you less time to do them in. Mwah, hah, hah! Hey, do you also have those megamillion numbers for next week?

    “** On a personal note, I don’t fault your duplicity in working these blogs HTTC. I know the new system must benefit your greatly. If it was not going to cause my great harm, then I would not care to be here.”

    Good point, Nontruths. In fact, that’s the reason I’m here too. I think the plan benefits the vast majority of the examining Corps. and many of those that oppose it allege that it hurts them. If so, well then, we can just agree to disagree on the issue. However, I’m having a tough time buying this because I haven’t seen any math that proves it. Have you recalculated your production from last year based on the new system? That should be a good litmus test.

    Anyway, I’ve spent way too much time on the issue and I’m done. Vote however you deem necessary (I think the last voting is today), but I implore you to consider every single fact including what we will lose and what we will gain, and fully weigh them out before making your decision.

  8. 163

    what a corrupt place the PTO is lol. send all those gs-15 clowns back to examining – full time.

  9. 162

    “Management promotes “gaming the system” in this regard so that examiners can meet production. Talk to SPEs, and talk to Academy Instructors if you don’t believe.”

    “Management promotes “gaming the system”

    ’nuff said – it won’t matter what system you put in place if the the ethics of management are to game the system.

  10. 161

    “Of course it’s a loss. If you post the cases right before the change instead of right after the change your FY10 production will be lower for exactly the same amount of work. This is really not a difficult concept. And every case where an FAOM has been issued that doesn’t have a disposal prior to the change is equivalent to our hypothetical FAOM mailed right before the change.”

    Point taken. Not sure your point though. Are you arguing the .25 infamous count loss? If you hold FAOMs from Q1 to Q2, you will definitely gain counts for the FY. However, if you hold FAOMS from Q1 to Q2, then they wouldn’t be “grandfathered in” as you would get 1.25 for FAOM in Q2 and .75 disposal in the future.

    “Of course you didn’t. But if it goes abandoned in Q2…”

    …it still is fictitious just like the “grandfathering in” count loss. Yes! You finally understand!

  11. 160

    untruth: “Talk to SPEs, and talk to Academy Instructors if you don’t believe.”

    That would be impossible. As an examiner, I could no longer stand to be in the same room with an SPE. I hardly ever see them anymore. Are they for real? What useful things do they do?

  12. 159

    More untruths! I had “outstanding” production for about eight years, and was awarded the bronze after leaving the PTO. Spent many years training young examiners for no “other time.” And yes, I spent the great majority of my time on first action. The rest was easy!

    200 claims? Restriction is in order. You present these exceptional cases as the norm. They are not.

    BOGUS

  13. 158

    appealho wrote: “Untrue! You get a certain amount of time for a BD. You can divide that time up as you see fit. You get time for interviews. Restriction is another issue, but reading the file must be done sooner or later so it all washes at disposal. I would use 85% fir first action. The rest is easy.
    BOGUS!”

    Really? 85% is all you needed on every single action you ever did. You never had an action that took you more time than was given to you. You never has a 200+ claim application?

    Unreal. Look, here is a simple example that any third month patent academy student knows.

    If you have a hard case on your docket and it takes you an enormous amount of time to complete it (maybe it is 200+ claims), then examiners are taught to do some quick and easy ones to offset the time-sucking hard one.

    Thus, examiners are frequently confronted with not getting enough time in terms of hours/bd on the first action of a hard case, and must scrounge for time by either doing easy cases or RCEs.

    Management promotes “gaming the system” in this regard so that examiners can meet production. Talk to SPEs, and talk to Academy Instructors if you don’t believe.

    AppealHo your statement that you did all your first actions within 85% hours/bd given to you is not something any examiner would believe (unless your stay at the PTO was brief, and/or your quality really sucked).

    I reiterate my bogus.

  14. 157

    HTTC wrote “Nope. That examiner who goes on a detail will not lose out. They will revert back to the old system under the “safety net””

    The safety net is a bait and switch. You vote for this thing thinking that management will forever keep track of your production under a new and old system, and a few years down the road the safety net goes bye-bye.

    What you are saying is silly. They are not going to forever track your production two ways, allow you to choose the best of the two, and thereby undermining all the “de-incentiving RCE work” that they are supposedly accomplishing.

    The reason they have the safety net now is because of the transition, and the fact that they may revert to the old system.

    ** On a personal note, I don’t fault your duplicity in working these blogs HTTC. I know the new system must benefit your greatly. If it was not going to cause my great harm, then I would not care to be here.

  15. 156

    “Excellent question. Yes, you come out behind for the exact reason I’ve been arguing. That FAOM will be worth 1.25 counts in the new system (Q2) as opposed to 1 count in the old system (Q1). Now, you are going to argue that this is proof of the .25 count loss, right? Wrong. The “loss” of .25 counts is from the BD of a single case, not the shifting of cases between Q1 and Q2. Apples and oranges.”

    Of course it’s a loss. If you post the cases right before the change instead of right after the change your FY10 production will be lower for exactly the same amount of work. This is really not a difficult concept. And every case where an FAOM has been issued that doesn’t have a disposal prior to the change is equivalent to our hypothetical FAOM mailed right before the change.

    “Now, I have a question for you. If you did a FAOM in Q4 of last year (FY09), how many counts is the BD of that case worth if it goes abandoned in Q1 (FY10) just 1 quarter later? Hmm, in FY10 I believe that’s 1 count for a BD in that case. You just lost a full count!”

    Of course you didn’t. But if it goes abandoned in Q2…

  16. 155

    “HTTR, let’s put it this way. You do an FAOM in the week before the new system goes into effect. You have a choice between getting it counted the day before the new system goes into effect, or the day after. Do you not come out behind if you have it counted the day before?”

    Excellent question. Yes, you come out behind for the exact reason I’ve been arguing. That FAOM will be worth 1.25 counts in the new system (Q2) as opposed to 1 count in the old system (Q1). Now, you are going to argue that this is proof of the .25 count loss, right? Wrong. The “loss” of .25 counts is from the BD of a single case, not the shifting of cases between Q1 and Q2. Apples and oranges.

    Now, I have a question for you. If you did a FAOM in Q4 of last year (FY09), how many counts is the BD of that case worth if it goes abandoned in Q1 (FY10) just 1 quarter later? Hmm, in FY10 I believe that’s 1 count for a BD in that case. You just lost a full count! Of course, this is not true because we calculate production on avg. BD, not true BD. The 1 count loss is no more real than the .25 count loss given the way we calculate production on a quarterly basis. Think about it.

    Another question? Say you’re adding up production for a quarter and you have 25 FAOM and 30 disposals. Does that mean you only get credit for 25 BDs toward your production? Again, the answer is no because your quarterly production is based on avg BDs.

    FYI, I just calculated my scenario where I have no FAOMS, 100% 2nd RCES or greater. Under the new system that’s .75 counts for RCE first action and .75 counts disposal. 1.5 counts per BD vs. the normal 2. That’s a 25% loss in counts. However, under this worse case scenario of max count loss for RCEs, I received an extra 4.65 hrs/BD extra (yes, we receive 2+ hours depending on how many RCEs you normally do). That extra time put me at 131% production. Net gain = 6%.

  17. 154

    “Besides, not doing any first actions can happen to anyone. If an examiner signs up for a 6-8 month detail, and gets like 65 hours of other time a biweek, then that examiner may not need to do any new cases that year. The proposed system will penalize that examiner for getting off the treadmill.”

    Nope. That examiner who goes on a detail will not lose out. They will revert back to the old system under the “safety net”. No matter what is done, it will be impossible to make everyone happy and there will always be those who believe the system is unfair. I think it’s unfair that my boss does very little, is never around, and gets paid more than me. I also think it’s unfair that CEOs are cashing out multi-million dollar bonuses for doing nothing. However, I do think the proposed changes overall are a fair compromise. Don’t fall into the trap of just looking at what you lose, you need to also consider everything that you gain. Quid pro quo.

  18. 153

    HTTR, let’s put it this way. You do an FAOM in the week before the new system goes into effect. You have a choice between getting it counted the day before the new system goes into effect, or the day after. Do you not come out behind if you have it counted the day before?

  19. 152

    BigGuy “Dude, you’re a salaried employee working for the most reliable employer on the planet.”

    Truly. Nothing to scoff at.

  20. 151

    “2. a. Have you ever worked for clients who didn’t pay you within about 5 mo?”

    Or one who just filed for bankruptcy with a large unpaid invoice.

  21. 150

    “From my point of view, every case should be allowable from the set of claims present at first examination, or it should not be allowable period.”

    As Dan Quayle said, “…what a waste it is to lose one’s mind or not to have a mind is being very wasteful. How true that is.”

    “2. a. Have you ever worked for clients who didn’t pay you within about 5 mo? b. Have you ever worked for clients (or employers) who pay you half up front, then pay you half later? c. How about clients who do the second payment plan above, except, if you quit your job tomorrow you’d never get those final payments?”

    Dude, you’re a salaried employee working for the most reliable employer on the planet. You get paid regularly, don’t have to worry about your income falling appreciably, clearly don’t have to worry about malpractice, and never, ever, have to wait “about 5 mo” to get paid. Enough with the feeble attempts to analogize your situation to ours. Nobody’s buying it.

    “What about if you were suckered into turning down other jobs and moving to DC before they explained how they were going to fck you with this plan?”

    Yeah, tell us about those lucrative job offers you turned down because you calculated that the PTO’s performance plan would actually be more profitable. You were happy to get one job offer.

  22. 148

    “From my point of view, every case should be allowable from the set of claims present at first examination, or it should not be allowable period.”

    This is why you will be an examiner for the rest of your life. ;)

  23. 147

    Well Broje, you knew I had to head you off at the pass.

    I answered your questions, so answer a few of mine.

    1. In all srsness, what do you not understand about “slightly/maybe “better” delayed credit” not being anywhere near as good as “instant credit”?

    2. a. Have you ever worked for clients who didn’t pay you within about 5 mo? b. Have you ever worked for clients (or employers) who pay you half up front, then pay you half later? c. How about clients who do the second payment plan above, except, if you quit your job tomorrow you’d never get those final payments?

    3. a. How do you think you’d feel about entering into an arrangment like c above? b. What about if you were suckered into turning down other jobs and moving to DC before they explained how they were going to fck you with this plan?

  24. 144

    “How much time do you need to check 2 boxes on a form?”

    Some spe’s require all arguments to be addressed in addition to those two boxes. This can take anywhere from 10 minutes to 4 hours. Or more. Jebus you wouldn’t believe the long arse responses we get sometimes, just chock full of bs.

    “Would you say that any system that rewards Examiners for rejecting cases, or that punishes Examiners for allowing cases, is a broken system?

    Would you agree that a system that lets Examiners do less work for the same amount of credit if they reject a case rewards Examiners for rejecting cases?

    Would you agree that an Examiner who is already familiar with a case and has already searched the art for those claims or very similar claims has to do less work than they would have to do for a new case with which they are unfamiliar?

    a. Sure, the only ideal system rewards either action equally. Right now unfortunately we have a system that unfairly rewards allowances :( Especially first action allowances.

    b. sure, but we’ve never had such a system and they’ll probably never suggest, much less approve one.

    c. It’s case by case. On the whole, you would certainly think so, but in practice it doesn’t necessarily work out that way.

    Take for instance today, I have an RCE on my docket. It has a pretty good amendment with it. I’d say that I’ll look over my tagged docs in EAST, maybe run through the classification search right fast (not in depth), do an interference search and allow it.

    But then take for instance last week. The guy comes in with a new claim for the same embodiment he used to be claiming that is WAY broader than the rest of the old claims, except he used different terminology for this claim. Well sister, you may as well call that a new case, especially if we have a new slew of deps. A new case with the old claims still in there for “flavor”. amirite?

    Now you might think, but 6, that first example case was so ez!!!!!!!!!OMFG!!!!!!!!!!EZ!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!111111111111111111111111111!

    Right?

    Well, not necessarily. It depends on your point of view. From my point of view, every case should be allowable from the set of claims present at first examination, or it should not be allowable period. At least in so far as “substance” is being considered. Any case that legitimately gets to final rejection is, in my opinion, already not rewarding me anywhere near the maximum amount. Nowhere close. And any case that wasn’t a first action allowance is already not rewarding me all that close to maximum. And an RCE doesn’t even begin to make up either of these two differences even under the current system. 2 counts up front is about 100x better than 1 count, then 1 count a year later, then 1 count 2 mo later, then 1 count another year later, then 2 counts 2 mo later. I could literally do 3 cases per bi week, have no “workflow” nonsense to worry about, and be ready to get a promotion simply by doing an extra case every ~TWO MONTHS.

    So, the question to c also depends heavily on your point of view.

    Wait a minute though, haven’t we been over this like a million times?

  25. 143

    “Your arguments are bogus. Examiners get no time for advisory actions…”

    How much time do you need to check 2 boxes on a form?

    “…not enough time for interviews”

    You get an hour to sit there and listen to applicant’s representative, and then conclude that you’ll have to do an update search. That’s not enough time?

    “…not enough time for restrictions”

    How long does it take you to flip to the claims, see that some claims recite an apparatus and other claims recite a method, and generate an OA that says they’re patentably distinct because the method can be performed by hand? I mean, really, how much time do you need for that?

    Or you review the brief description of the drawings and see that they show a first embodiment, a second embodiment, etc., and you generate a species election that is verbatim the brief description of the drawings. Do you really need more than an hour for that?

    “…plus they may need the ‘extra’ time on RCEs to make up for their originally low hours/bd on the first action.”

    I thought examiners didn’t game the system to generate RCE’s to try to score 4, 6, 8, etc. counts out of every application because they think their hrs/BD is too low. Did I miss something?

  26. 142

    “Besides, not doing any first actions can happen to anyone. If an examiner signs up for a 6-8 month detail, and gets like 65 hours of other time a biweek, then that examiner may not need to do any new cases that year. The proposed system will penalize that examiner for getting off the treadmill.”

    No one is forcing you to do details. lol

    Appeal Hoooo

  27. 141

    “Your arguments are bogus. Examiners get no time for advisory actions, not enough time for interviews, not enough time for restrictions, plus they may need the “extra” time on RCEs to make up for their originally low hours/bd on the first action.”

    Untrue! You get a certain amount of time for a BD. You can divide that time up as you see fit. You get time for interviews. Restriction is another issue, but reading the file must be done sooner or later so it all washes at disposal. I would use 85% fir first action. The rest is easy.

    BOGUS!

  28. 140

    HTTC said “f you’re not allowing and not doing FAOMs), then you’re not doing your job”.

    HTTC you are assuming all units allow at the same %. No true. Some allow 25% of applications, some 75%. If you allow 25%, then it is likely only after a long hard battle in RCE/103 land.

    Besides, not doing any first actions can happen to anyone. If an examiner signs up for a 6-8 month detail, and gets like 65 hours of other time a biweek, then that examiner may not need to do any new cases that year. The proposed system will penalize that examiner for getting off the treadmill.

  29. 139

    Broje wrote “Would you agree that an Examiner who is already familiar with a case and has already searched the art for those claims or very similar claims has to do less work than they would have to do for a new case with which they are unfamiliar?”

    Your arguments are bogus. Examiners get no time for advisory actions, not enough time for interviews, not enough time for restrictions, plus they may need the “extra” time on RCEs to make up for their originally low hours/bd on the first action. As an examiner, you are told that you take time away from your hours given for an action and use them on these other places where you get insufficient time.

    Management proposes to setup a production system that requires examiners to “game it”. So they can get time on the other things that management is not giving sufficient time to do.

  30. 138

    6, since MM never answered my question, maybe you have an opinion.

    Would you say that any system that rewards Examiners for rejecting cases, or that punishes Examiners for allowing cases, is a broken system?

    Would you agree that a system that let’s Examiners do less work for the same amount of credit if they reject a case rewards Examiners for rejecting cases?

    Would you agree that an Examiner who is already familiar with a case and has already searched the art for those claims or very similar claims has to do less work than they would have to do for a new case with which they are unfamiliar?

  31. 137

    “you don’t do any new cases in a year, and yes, this is common in some arts” – WTF, and you don’t even see this as a problem? churn baby churn, game that system – why shouldnt this be punished?”

    That behavior won’t stop. It can’t be stopped from the PTO’s end. The applicants will see to it that it doesn’t stop. They are in full control of when prosecution ends.

    Watch.

    And it isn’t necessarily gaming the system. Believe it or not, some cases are legitimately rejected past final *gasp*. If they want to keep going I see no reason not to charge them. Do you?

    “I’m in favor of the proposal anyway, since you making your counts is easy regardless of the system, it’ll help reduce first action pendency, and the RCE going to the Special New docket (which is actually the most important change introduced here) will be beneficial to examiners”

    Actually I thought the same thing about the RCE’s going to the special new tab, but then I realized there is a substantial possibility that the RCE’s may begin to build up pretty far, especially if they’re 2nd+ RCEs.

  32. 136

    “HTTR is wrong on everything …

    1. On POPA’s website there is a document called “Examiner Expectancies” in their “latest headlines” that says if the new count initiatives are ceased and we revert to the present system, then the examiners will get a 1 hour increase in hours/bd.”

    It actually does say “If the 2010 Count System Initiatives later expire or otherwise cease, the Agency will provide the [1 hour])”. However, if it doesn’t get initially passed, how does it “later expire” or “cease” if it never passes and is never implemented? Looks like if it gets voted down we get nothing.

    “2. If you are in TC2100 and you don’t do any new cases in a year, and yes, this is common in some arts, then you lose big time under the proposed production system. There is no need to do any “HTTR math”, because it should be obvious to anyone that an increase in 2 hours/bd cannot possibly offset a loss of .25 and .5 counts per every RCE.”

    If you’re not doing any new cases in a year, you’re part of the problem. Contrary to many, it’s not “us versus them”. Attorneys and examiners both work for the applicant (they’re the ones paying the bills) and we should be working to help applicant get a patent. If you’re just churning RCEs over and over (which you must be if you’re not allowing and not doing FAOMs), then you’re not doing your job.

    For the record, I’m not exactly pro-management. But I’m not nearly as pessimistic as so many of the naysayers either. I base my position on logic and reason. Every examiner should fully analyze the true math, perhaps run their numbers from last year using the new count system, and go from there. Plus, with that safety net you cannot go down in numbers. Fair to all? No. No system is, including the current system. If you’re waiting for a 100% “fair” system, you’re in the wrong line of work.

    When the new deal expires, they are not going to make it more difficult for examiners to make production, that is, unless they fully intend to sabotage themselves and crumble this place to the ground. IMHO, I just don’t see that happening. In fact, POPA’s website apparently says we are guaranteed the 1 hr once the new system expires or ceases (see your argument above). Taking everything into consideration, I this as an improvement over the old system.

  33. 135

    “This is only true if your amount of FAOMs is equal to your amount of disposals.”

    For every FAOM there must be a disposal. So, this balances out in the long run. It’s analogous to flipping a coin. You can flip heads 5 times in a row, but it’ll average out 50/50 in the long run.

  34. 134

    Untruths incidentally gives the exact reason why this should pass – stop the churn and get to the FOAMs:
    “you don’t do any new cases in a year, and yes, this is common in some arts” – WTF, and you don’t even see this as a problem? churn baby churn, game that system – why shouldnt this be punished?

    “then you lose big time under the proposed production system.” Exactly – that’s the idea numbnuts – punish the churning behavor youve become addicted to. force you to actually pick up a new case and examine it and start getting rid of the ever building backlog.

    (passerby thinks) better think that there is no such thing as a free lunch, else he will wake up to a very rude good morning when the Chinese own the US (not too far away as it is).

  35. 133

    A few months ago “Tea Party” government-waste-protest people held a national one day event where they stood outside government buildings and held signs that expressed their anger at the wasteful activities of the government of the USA. I happened to be driving by the city hall building in my town on protest day, and I saw a lone protestor guy on the corner with a sign. He was stopping people as they walked by and conveying his message to them.

    “inviting body punches” reminds me of that guy.

    I am sure everything he was saying was accurate. Government waste, government employees are largely incompetent, government employees get paid more than they are worth, the federal government is overspending trillions, etc, etc ..

    [Passerby thinks} Is that guy on the corner for real?

    We are running up trillions in debt this year alone, and that lone guy on the corner “inviting body punches” is holding up signs about a proportionally insignificant waste and incompetence at USPTO when compared to the entire government. Are you kidding me?

    [Passerby thinks] Is that “nut” still on the corner with his sign ?

    Give me my free health care! Give me my free housing tax credit! Give me my cash for clunker! Spend, spend, spend. Me. Me. Me.

    [Passerby thinks] He better not stand in the way of my free government handouts.

  36. 132

    HTTR is wrong on everything …

    1. On POPA’s website there is a document called “Examiner Expectancies” in their “latest headlines” that says if the new count initiatives are ceased and we revert to the present system, then the examiners will get a 1 hour increase in hours/bd.

    2. If you are in TC2100 and you don’t do any new cases in a year, and yes, this is common in some arts, then you lose big time under the proposed production system. There is no need to do any “HTTR math”, because it should be obvious to anyone that an increase in 2 hours/bd cannot possibly offset a loss of .25 and .5 counts per every RCE.

    The RCE adjustment is what balances everything out. In my art you can get a +10 total increase to hours/bd. Is the RCE adjustment here stay forever? No. Is the safety net here to stay forever? Probably Not.

    I hope there are people like HTTR in management who believe what HTTR is saying, so we can get them to agree to permanently enshrine the safety net, because as HTTR says “Why would your union support making changes that would take time away from you? Answer: They wouldn’t”.

  37. 131

    For applicants, what is the good news under the proposed new procedures? So far I have learned that the appeals backlog will get longer and RCE’s will be acted on more slowly.

  38. 130

    Special New docket is the docket with divisionals and continuations. Policies on managing this docket vary by area but needless to say the time frame for acting on most RCEs will be a lot longer than two months. This will also discourage applicants from filing RCEs but you have to do something after final and the appeals backlog is only getting longer…

    IOW there won’t be an after-final route that guarantees a relatively quick advancement of prosecution. For examiners this will be beneficial because it means fewer two-month amendeds due each biweek leading to more time for first actions, plus the difficult RCEs won’t be due for a long time while you can still turn the easy ones around right away.

    I should correct my above post–the 1+0.75=1.75 of course applies to every case currently in prosecution that hasn’t had a disposal yet, not just the ones being mailed out now.

  39. 128

    “thus, the “loss” of the .25 count is simply not true. In the new system, your DISP of .75 counts will be offset by a new FAOM of 1.25 counts in that particular quarter.”

    This is only true if your amount of FAOMs is equal to your amount of disposals.

    “Under the old system, it was FAOM + DISP: 1 + 1 = 2. The new system is FAOM + DISP: .75 + 1.25 = 2.”

    Unless you post your FAOM in the next couple months, in which case it’s 1 + 0.75 = 1.75. This is mitigated by the fact that no one with a brain will send out more FAOMs than required until December 21st if this goes into effect. Upside for applicants is that a lot of allowances will go out before then.

    I’m in favor of the proposal anyway, since you making your counts is easy regardless of the system, it’ll help reduce first action pendency, and the RCE going to the Special New docket (which is actually the most important change introduced here) will be beneficial to examiners.

  40. 127

    “Alas, I can be a fountain of ignorance everywhere at one time.” – 6

    Fixed your sentence for you!

  41. 126

    “What they actually said was that under the new system, your NET hours would be no less than 1 hr/BD from balancing out between the loss of counts from RCEs and the extra 2+ hours per BD.”

    Um no you mor on. Does “Director Kappos is committed to giving at least an hour per count regardless of whether the change goes through or not” sound familiar? If it doesn’t then you A. weren’t at the briefing or B. weren’t listening or C. didn’t go to the right meeting to hear it.

    I had another response typed out for the rest of your nonsense at home but I must have forgotten to post it.

    You’re a sucker. Plain and simple. Be proud of it, by all means. Think your simplistic “let me explain to you how examiner’s counts are calculated” will suffice for you.

    You need to look at the big picture ya bozo.

    When you’re ready to get the sht kicked out of your “beliefs” on this subject then we can meet up at starbucks for 10 minutes and you’ll be all set to meet the world head on with a renewed understanding.

    The only person out of about 35 or so that hasn’t been convinced entirely of my position after having discussed it in person is the self professed stup id guy who is by bud. And the only reason he isn’t convinced is because he <3's the management for taking it easy on him and letting him get away with so much sht. (He admits it straight up) So he feels like we should just go along with whatever they want to try out.

    At least I persuaded him not to vote at all.

    Alas, I can't be a dispeller of ignorance everywhere at one time.

  42. 124

    inviting body punches:

    “sophisticated and nuanced legal expertise”

    Now that’s funny.

    Today, I read a response from one of these “legal experts” that: a) amended the independent claim to read “retrieving a CONTENT object from said library” (as opposed to “retrieving an object from said library”); and b) argued that the claim amendment distinguishes the claimed invention from the cited prior art.

    If that is not cranking the “billable hour” handle (i.e., intentionally prolonging prosecution to generate billable hours), then I don’t know what is.

    FREE ADVICE to the “legal experts:” putting an adjective in front of the term “object” will very rarely (never?) distinguish the claimed invention from the cited prior art.

  43. 123

    Boss12, I believe the math that inviting body punches is using is the productivity percentage increase:
    ( (private sector prod. – examiner prod.) / examiner prod. ).

    The infinity comes from the division by 0, the value of examiner productivity.

  44. 122

    inviting body punches:

    “Any good patent attorney or agent could be paid the same in the patent office as in the private sector (reasonably), and be INFINITELY more productive than any current patent examiner.”

    Oh yeah??? Please . . . explain the rationale that supports your statement.

  45. 121

    Overall, nice posts HTTR – good to see intelligence in the corp.

    “That’s what “6” said and that is completely meritless.”

    Another examiner coming into the light.

    6, your famoosity is spreading.

  46. 120

    HTTR: However, if they did their job right in the first place and compacted prosecution a little better, they wouldn’t be in that position.

    —-

    Thank you!

  47. 119

    “Still, I have analyzed the numbers at higher than a fifth grade level and I am going to vote against the change today because the 1 hour / BD represents a better deal for the majority of examiners.”

    So…you’re voting against the system because it’s a better deal for the majority of the examiners? Maybe it’s not your math that’s the issue here.

  48. 118

    “Not speculation. Focarino or Budens said it at the briefing, although I believe is was one hour per BD, not two.”

    Ned,

    Your not telling (or hearing) the whole story here. At no time was it EVER stated that we would get 2 hrs regardless of passing of the new system. That’s what “6” said and that is completely meritless. What they actually said was that under the new system, your NET hours would be no less than 1 hr/BD from balancing out between the loss of counts from RCEs and the extra 2+ hours per BD. For most, the RCE loss is less of an issue (~5% loss) while the gain will be the full 2 hrs (10-15% gain). For those essentially living off of RCEs, then they will probably net the 1 hr. However, if they did their job right in the first place and compacted prosecution a little better, they wouldn’t be in that position.

  49. 117

    Oxides,

    I’ve actually heard this before but the math actually doesn’t add up because it is not based on how examiner production is truly calculated. Let me explain:

    Examiner production is based on quarterly numbers (i.e. counts added up per individual quarter). You cannot add up counts (i.e. FAOM + DISP) for any single case to calculate this production because those counts for any single case are not received in the same quarter (unless it’s a first action allowance which is 2 counts in the new and old system) since the time between counts, like you said, can be 6 months.

    Your production is based on average balance disposals (FAOM + DISP) every quarter and not a FAOM + DISP of the same case (which is required for your math to hold water). So, in order for your math to be true with respect to how examiner production is calculated, it would have to be considered with respect to any indivudual quarter. Thus, the “loss” of the .25 count is simply not true. In the new system, your DISP of .75 counts will be offset by a new FAOM of 1.25 counts in that particular quarter. That’s still 2 counts per average balance disposal.

    What you receive before or after that quarter is irrelevant with respect to how examiner production is calculated. Cases come and go, it’s a perpetual cycle. For every old case that goes abandoned/allowed, there is another new case first action. Under the old system, it was FAOM + DISP: 1 + 1 = 2. The new system is FAOM + DISP: .75 + 1.25 = 2. Your aggregate loss is a product of fuzzy logic, not true calculations based on the quarterly production system. My suggestions is to take your last year production and plug in the new count system for the last 3 quarters like I did. You will see this to be true.

    Now, coupling THIS with the RCE count loss and 2 hrs additional time more than compensates us and is a net gain for examiners. Question: Why would your union support making changes that would take time away from you? Answer: They wouldn’t.

  50. 116

    Is part of the trepidation the time frame of the safety net, considering that an examiner’s docket may not turn over before the safety net is removed?

  51. 115

    “THIS IS A HILL TO DIE ON.”

    Mission accomplished!

    “Oh yeah, I loved your comment on Dir. Kappos giving examiners 2 hrs regardless of the passing of the new proposal. Pure speculation, as usual.”

    Not speculation. Focarino or Budens said it at the briefing, although I believe is was one hour per BD, not two. Still, I have analyzed the numbers at higher than a fifth grade level and I am going to vote against the change today because the 1 hour / BD represents a better deal for the majority of examiners. Another factor is that there is no transition cost with a flat 1 hour / BD addition.

  52. 114

    GTTR I believe you are mis-construing 6’s original stand on the new count system.
    Any case that has been worked on now is worth two counts; one count for FAOM and one count for disposal.

    So lets say an Examiner does a FAOM right now, six months from now it goes abandoned. Under the new system the Examiner only goes 0.75 counts for that, old system one count.
    Total counts available
    Old system: FAOM + DISP: 1 + 1 = 2
    New system: FAOM + DISP: 1 + 0.75 = 1.75
    Aggregate loss of 0.25 counts.

    Couple that with the quarter count loss on first RCE and the two hours fails to make up for this loss.

    Now the ‘safety net’ is there to cover this problem, still some people are skeptical of it.

  53. 113

    Noise–

    “Challenge motif”! I don’t quite know why, but the gentle derision and irreverence I perceive within that term I find really enjoyable.

    HTTR–Public sector employees, if not selected for the trait, are generally conditioned to be oppositional in the face of change. Mobilization and resistance is their ethos, and rationalization rather than rationality is the norm.

    They do not accept any other party’s contribution to debate. When presented with a proposal, they will generally proceed not to modify that first proposal, but instead to reject it entirely and substitute it with one or more of their own.

    How one responds to this is determined in part by one’s basic emotional and cognitive constitution. Me, I get mad as hell. Obviously.

  54. 112

    “I understand it’s human nature to fear change, and the “big brother” mentality of the previous management sure didn’t help.”

    Well said, HTTR, along with the rest of your well written comments.

  55. 111

    “Union and management MUST work together to improve the Patent Office”

    That’s what they did arriving at the new count proposal. Six weeks of negotiating and compromising to achieve the newly proposed system.

  56. 110

    Ok “6”, I understand your position. Apparently subtracting .25 counts, adding .25 counts, adding 2 hrs per balance disposal for the examiners, etc. is “college” math. Maybe for you but I could work that in grade school (if you need my 9 yr old niece to tutor you, it will save you money in having an “accountant” do it for you).

    So far the only fact you have presented is the loss of .25 counts on the disposal. What you fail (or simply refuse) to recognize is that the system is a perpetual system, the examiner’s production is based on quarterly production numbers, and that the .25 count lost will be offset by the gain of .25 count from a new first action in that particular quarter (is it not a fact that examiner production is calculated quarterly?). That new first action will only receive .75 counts for a future disposal (i.e. loss of .25 counts) which will most likely happen in the subsequent quarter, which will also be offset by another new first action (1.25 counts). The AVERAGE balance disposal per quarter will always be 2 counts no matter how you try to spin it. Oh yeah, and the examiners are given 2 hours per balance disposal (~10% extra time) which more than compensates the loss for the reduction in RCE counts. I minored in math and have a Ph.D. in physics so to me this is pretty remedial math and do not need an “accountant” to work this math (apparently unlike some of us). Your argument of .25 count turning to “vapor” is no more true than the addition of .25 counts being “creation of matter”. Like I said, per avg. balance disposal for a new first action and disposal will be 2 counts in both the old and new system (my neice and accountant have both confirmed this fact).

    Now, if you have any FACTS to support your illusionary, speculative arguments, then perhaps someone will take you seriously (feel free to continue berating and degrading if it makes you feel better, it appears to be your only strong suit). Now, I’m more than happy to educate you in how the math works if you are still struggling. This is quid pro quo, your piecemeal analysis focusing only on what the examiners lose is only part of the math. Feel free to provide some facts (and math) to support how cumulatively the system does not favor the examiners. Until then, enough with your ridiculous propaganda! Sounds like you’re just a disgruntled employee who lacks logic and reason. If you’re that dissatisfied with the PTO, get a new job! Problem solved. No need to try to sabotage the remainining examiners in receiving this unprecedented offer from management.

    Oh yeah, I loved your comment on Dir. Kappos giving examiners 2 hrs regardless of the passing of the new proposal. Pure speculation, as usual.

  57. 108

    “It is the avg. first action and disposal that make up the production in any given quarter.”

    Okay… so what is your point? Do the counts lost simply go to the vapor as a manager in charge of the project recently said? If I told you today that some of your counts will go to the vapor how would you like that?

    “Arguments to the contrary simply cannot do 5th grade math.”

    First of all arguments don’t do math. People do math. And you’d be right that that people who argue against adopting the proposal don’t do 5th grade math, we do college Accounting math. I know, I know, it is a bit above your head and that’s why you don’t understand what is going on.

    But besides your lack of understanding let’s go one further. Did you know that Kappos will give us the extra 2 hrs per bd even if we keep the old system? Does your outlook change any knowing this?

    “FYI, the vast majority of examiners have common sense and recognize that this is an unprecedented offer from management to give extra time per case overall and APPROVE the changes. ”

    You’re right, they do have common sense, but they apparently don’t know how to do accounting at the basic 101 level.

    “However, step back and take a good look at the big picture and you will see that it is a huge advantage to the examiner.”

    You’re right, but not as much of an advantage as voting it down will be. If the math wasn’t so complex you’d know this :( You should contact your accountant.

    “The fact that the head of the union approves the new system speaks for itself (the union NEVER agrees with management).”

    It proves that the fat man is about as smart as I’ve known him to be for a long time now. Not very. In any event I’m going to have a chat with him and with his advisors. We will see if they still support the package. Keep in mind, they support the package right now not just because of production, but because of the other concessions made. Which are basically “we’ll stop beating the workers for stupd things” concessions. So they might still support the new package anyway.

  58. 107

    While the examiners are losing counts for disposals under the proposed system (i.e. the notorious .25 count “stolen” by the PTO), they are also gaining counts for new first actions (from 1 to 1.25 counts) PLUS getting 2 hrs additional per balance disposal. This is pretty simple math – advantage examiners.

    The issue of the .25 count loss is extremely deceptive and the examiner will not lose ANY counts per avg. balance disposal per quarter. That’s a fact. Last time I checked, the examiner production is based quarterly. Given the fact that a first action and disposal on any individual case rarely occurs in the same quarter, the doom and gloom of the .25 count loss is simply irrelevant. It is the avg. first action and disposal that make up the production in any given quarter.

    For example, in the 1st quarter and under the old count system, examiners get 1 count for new first action and 1 count for disposal (i.e. abn or allowance) for a total of 2 counts per avg. balance disposal.

    In the 2nd-4th quarter under the new system, examiners get 1.25 counts for new first action and .75 for disposal also for a total of 2 counts per avg. balance disposal. I call that a wash. Plus, examiners get 2+ hrs per balance disposal which more than compensates for the loss from RCE adjustment. Now it doesn’t take a math wizard to figure out that each examiner will OVERALL come out ahead. Fact. Arguments to the contrary simply cannot do 5th grade math.

    For the naysayers, stop spreading your propaganda. This system is overly fair to examiners if anything. I understand it’s human nature to fear change, and the “big brother” mentality of the previous management sure didn’t help. However, step back and take a good look at the big picture and you will see that it is a huge advantage to the examiner. The new management is a stark contrast to the previous “leader”. In fact, it is management that is taking the big risk of giving examiners extra time without anything (i.e. production) in return. The fact that the head of the union approves the new system speaks for itself (the union NEVER agrees with management).

    FYI, the vast majority of examiners have common sense and recognize that this is an unprecedented offer from management to give extra time per case overall and APPROVE the changes. It will be approved regardless of people like “6” spreading their anti-management propaganda and incomplete analysis of the proposed system. The new system will be passed thanks to level-headed examiners (at least the majority of them). Book it!

  59. 106

    inviting,

    If I were an examiner with intials MM, I’d be mad that you were trying to one-up my challenge motif and call you a TROLL.

    As it is, I applaud your efforts. Well done.

  60. 105

    I will advance this in favor of existing examiners: all other things being equal, examination quality would improve if there was any clear guidance on 101, 103, and 112. I don’t believe that examiners are all intrinsically maniacs.

    I appreciate the difficulty of trying to decipher the horrible court opinions that have come down recently, and to communicate findings to others. Those who are charged with this task at the PTO have just as hard a time of this as anybody else, and it is no small wonder that examiners don’t really understand what it is that these people are saying, or how to apply it in various situations.

    In my opinion, the inadequecies of the patent office result BOTH from institutional public-sector culture and inadequate articulation of the law by the courts.

    But it is still the job of the patent office to do the best that it can at getting good interpretations to the examiners, and at getting examiners of sufficient intelligence and commitment to understand the substance and limits of those interpretations. It is the job of individual examiners to not be arbitrary and capricious, to set their ego aside and be rational, and to ask for help when their capabilities are exceeded.

  61. 104

    More of the same from Examiner Number 9.

    You’re doing nothing to prove me wrong, and everything to prove me right.

  62. 103

    Plurality, the coherent argument by a comrade that ‘punches’ was referring to:
    “While I shouldn’t feed the troll”

  63. 102

    Sadly, 6’s response is typical of the level we’ve come to expect from examiners.

    They kick and scream in the face of evidence that proves them to be wrong, instead of presenting evidence tending to prove that they are correct.

    Grow up and try again, 6. And others.

    You haven’t even made a reasonable attempt to take the hill. I’d like to hear from one of the few erstwhile, intelligent examiners out there, but the chances of that are slim–they’re too busy working.

    Everybody acknowledges that there are insufficiencies in the suite of services offered by the Patent Office–we just disagree on why those insufficiencies exist, and as a result on how to remedy them without introducing new and greater insufficiencies.

    You threw out a couple of reasons.

    I proved your reasons to be false and substituted my own reasons.

    They have easily withstood your less-than-feeble challenges and taunts.

    You guys really are lame–you’re just like the proverbial bullies on the playground. As soon as someone stands up to you, you are relegated to a position of ridicule, from which you attempt to continue your bullying ways in a more oblique fashion, one that is insufficiently important to merit a head-on response.

    I SAY AGAIN–BRING IT ON

  64. 100

    Plurality–

    The argument was made by YOU GUYS, I’m merely responding to it. And it was not merely semantic, it was substantive.

    Someone’s assertion was that life for examiners is bad enough as it is, that is why there is attrition, and that lower wages would lead to less applicants, less accepted offers, and emptying art units.

    There is NO attrition, life for examiners is better than it should be although possibly getting worse, and while getting worse, there is a net gain–no emptying art units.

    You guys are worse than useless–you are counterproductive and obfuscatory.

    A problem? THE problem is that by far the vast majority of you examiners are INCOMPETENT, and even if competent, are working under incompetent direction, and even if competent and working under competent direction, are ENTIRELY SELF-INTERESTED AND TACTICAL.

    You’re incompetent because it is impossible to administer a law correctly or appropriately without understanding that law. You lack sufficient basic knowledge of things like the limits of your authority to regularly lawfully effect the edicts of your superiors. The PTO has misallocated resources such that there are now insufficieint resources allocated to oversight of your activities. That misallocation was and is the result of unsustainable policies of both congress and the executive branch, and the unsustainable de facto policies articulated in US Supreme Court decisions.

    Those policies reflect the failure by the relevant bodies to give full effect to the interests of the entire citizenry in favor of a particular segment thereof.

    Over time, your granted powers beget an institutional culture that identifies its own interests apart from those of the entire citizenry, and the individuals within that culture adjust their attitudes appropriately.

    You’re not working for US, your’re working for yourselves.

    You as an individual are incompetent (by selection and lack of training), ego-centric (by total enmeshment in the institutional culture), and totally inarticulate (by individual failure). Not only can you not formulate a cogent argument, you cannot even recognize when one of your comrades has done so.

  65. 99

    Inviting: The PTO hired about 600 new examiners in FY’09, and that translated into a net gain of 80 examiners. Whatever pointless semantic arguments you want to have over this, it still represents a big problem.

  66. 98

    Anon–

    Thanks for making that comment–it gives anybody watching an idea of just how useless you are to any meaningful treatment of this issue.

  67. 96

    Anon and Plurality–Are you guys insane? You must totally eschew the western tradition of rational inquiry.

    “attrition among new examiners”–ridiculous parsing! That’s like me saying “no attrition among senior male examiners 48-52 yrs of age”.

    “having more people means getting it done faster”–NOT in the public sector. It might mean more activity, but does not certainly translate into effective task completion.

    “fewer examiners”–show me from PTO sources where it says that there has been a net loss in the number of examiners say, over the past 5 or 10 or 20 years.

    You guys are so entirely full of crap–from the PTO website, the total number of examiners in utility, plant, and reissue by quarters of FY2009
    6063, 6229, 6157, 6143.

    A NET GAIN OF 80 EXAMINERS IN FY 2009.

    “filings rising at an increasing rate”–BULLCRAP. From PTO Statistics for 2008, 07 versus 06, +11.2%; 08 vs 07, +1.8%; expected 09 vs 08, -10.0%. Not only is the rate of increase not increasing, there isn’t even a sustained increase!

    “losing 10% of your workforce every year”–ridiculous parsing!!!!! The net workforce is RISING. And NO, it is NOT AN ATTRITION PROBLEM–IF A PROBLEM AT ALL, IT WOULD BE A TURNOVER PROBLEM.

    KEEP COMING, WANKERS–I WILL NEVER STOP.

    THIS IS A HILL TO DIE ON.

  68. 95

    Inviting: “Anon–Attrition–a reduction or decrease in number, size, or strength. According to xmnr-not6’s recital of the GAO report on 2002-2006, the PTO hired 2 examiners for every 1 that left.

    Just because you claim that there IS “an attrition problem” doesn’t mean it’s true, friend. You have proven neither attrition or the fact that it is a problem.”

    So, why do you suppose that the PTO was hiring two examiners, at the rate of 1200 per year, for every one that left? Could it possibly be because of an *attrition problem*?

    Do you not consider losing over 10% of your workforce every year to be an attrition problem?

  69. 94

    You have proven neither attrition or the fact that it is a problem.

    I don’t need to prove it, thanks. Just trying to help you understand the basic math of the situation.

    There is significant attrition among new examiners. There is a relationship between number of examiners and pendency. Regardless of the quality of the work put out, there is a certain amount of work to be done, and having more people means getting it done faster. As filings are rising at an increasing rate on a long term scale, that means that even if there was no hiring and no attrition, the office would still be losing its capacity to meet the level of work needed. Attrition, ceteris paribus, works directly against this need. Fewer examiners, less work accomplished, growing backlog.

    Attrition is a problem. Attrition also exists. But if you don’t want to believe it, it doesn’t really affect me either way.

  70. 93

    Oh, and I forgot to include: OVERHEADS. All the costs of doing business, something public sector employees wouldn’t understand.

    Anon–nice totally meaningless response.

    Anon–Attrition–a reduction or decrease in number, size, or strength. According to xmnr-not6’s recital of the GAO report on 2002-2006, the PTO hired 2 examiners for every 1 that left.

    Just because you claim that there IS “an attrition problem” doesn’t mean it’s true, friend. You have proven neither attrition or the fact that it is a problem.

    A race to the bottom wrt fees might happen, as did a race to the top. That is market cycling at work. At some point, people will be able to make a better living doing something else, some will leave the field, some will choose to do other things and not enter it in the first place.

    SO WHAT? I live in the real world, and these things happen. You adjust accordingly, plan for the worst, and work for the best. It is called life, with all of its natural triumphs and pitfalls.

    The public sector, on the other hand, is deeply unnatural. When I was a kid I used to naively believe that the patent office, and patent work, would be different–boy was I wrong. It SHOULD be different–it should be a co-operative system, and not coercive and penal like other government systems. It has turned into sort of an incentive program, not unlike federal monies available to schools that meet federal requirements and jump through the appropriate hoops.

    With the same public sector employees that hop around the different agencies.

    I’m still waiting for ANYBODY to provide any sort of a substantive rebuttal to my basic position: the contracts negotiated with public sector unions, including those “representing” patent examiners, weigh much too heavily in favor of the unions and against the public interest. They were improvidently negotiated on a tilted playing field. We realize this now more than ever, with EVER DECREASING LEVELS OF SERVICE AND EVER INCREASING LEVELS OF COST IN ALL AREAS OF SERVICE PROVIDED BY GOVERNMENT AT ANY LEVEL.

    BRING IT ON

  71. 92

    “Because of the potential value involved, the expertise, knowledge, and education required”

    Care to indulge us as to your technical expertise? Master’s? PhD? or BS degree from 20+ years ago?

    “And so what if “the supply continues to outpace demand”? Even if true, we are subject to market forces, and things will adjust accordingly.”

    Do you mean a “race to the bottom” with regards to your fees?

  72. 91

    THERE IS NO ATTRITION PROBLEM.

    You can claim it, but that doesn’t mean it’s true, friend. There is an attrition problem, and saying otherwise doesn’t negate its existence.

  73. 90

    Baby–

    THERE IS NO ATTRITION PROBLEM.

    The problem lies in public-sector sloth and/or understaffing: those doing the hiring don’t/can’t do it quickly enough.

    What can be done about sloth? Start firing for cause.

    What can be done about understaffing? Re-negotiate legacy costs and current labor costs to permit more staff within the same budget.

    You don’t understand $200/hr for responding to office actions? $200/hr to respond to office actions–let me tell you, sometimes it is hard to know where to begin to respond to an unlawful, convoluted, inarticulate office action. First, one has to be a linguist to decipher the “literary” components. Then one has to be a technical expert to divine exactly what it is that the examiner is trying to say. Then one has to be a lawyer to understand how what is being said comports or not with law and regulation. Then one has to be a businessman to know how to present this to the client, and to assist the decision of how to proceed.

    Because of the potential value involved, the expertise, knowledge, and education required, and because the person responding to the office action ACTUALLY HAS TO ASSUME LIABILITY, a reasonably large fee is charged to cover all the costs that permit the respondent to do a good job, and to stand by that job.

    THAT’S WHY WE CHARGE WHAT WE DO.

    And so what if “the supply continues to outpace demand”? Even if true, we are subject to market forces, and things will adjust accordingly.

    UNLIKE THE OUT-OF-CONTROL PUBLIC SECTOR.

  74. 89

    Lost: Thanks for explaining that to everyone. Now if you can just get management and the POPA reps to understand….

    6: Have your L and O keys worn off yet? Also, someone asked a pointed question about the lost quarter count at Thursday afternoon’s briefing. Budens said that we’d make up for it elsewhere, and the question-asker’s response was, “Yeah. VOT.”

    If POPA is successful in convincing management to put awards under the safety net provision as well, then it wouldn’t really hurt things to put the plan into effect. There are a few nice features in the plan that are unrelated to the count system. (I’m not sure how this will work out, since POPA members are already voting on the plan that was presented.)

    I worry, though, that once they start up a new plan, they’ll decide that it’s “good enough”, and it’ll be another 33 years before they finish their adjustments.

  75. 88

    “That may be changing in the next couple of years provided (1) the supply of patent attorneys continues to outpace demand, and (2) the PTO starts hiring again. ”

    Indeed.

    “I’m pretty sure you could hire someone to argue unpersuasively for around $20.”

    LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL

    LOL … LOL … LOL … L … O … L

    “Did you ever consider that maybe it’s you? Or perhaps you’re a little too highly nuanced for your own good.”

    JEBUS I’M ON THE LOL MERRY GO ROUND.

    LOLOLOLOLOLLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL

    Ok ok ok.

    “The counts lost in transition are like the quick change scam.”

    It’s true. Except I don’t really think they meant to do that. They were just rushed to find a solution and didn’t work everything out. And to be honest, the hour pays it back in a year or so. However, the alternative, sticking with the old system but taking the hour that Kappos is “committed to giving us” is about 100x more awesome.

  76. 87

    “the supply of patent attorneys continues to outpace demand”

    Exactly. That’s where the pricing is out of wack. If examiners were overpaid and underworked, there would be no attrition problem. What I don’t understand is why anyone needs to be paid $200/hour to respond to office actions. I’m pretty sure you could hire someone to argue unpersuasively for around $20. Heck, for $200, you could probably get some high school kid to make you a javascript random rebuttal generator. Excuse me, I meant highly nuanced argument generator.

    But really, all the bitterness here is very telling in view of the numbers. Your cases keep getting stuck on the “RCE merry-go-round” yet 73% of cases never make it to RCE. You apparently keep having to appeal case after case, yet relatively speaking very few applications go to appeal. Did you ever consider that maybe it’s you? Or perhaps you’re a little too highly nuanced for your own good.

  77. 86

    “For the most part, first, you are not attorneys. You are not even patent agents.”

    That may be changing in the next couple of years provided (1) the supply of patent attorneys continues to outpace demand, and (2) the PTO starts hiring again.

  78. 85

    “Aren’t you going to get the bulk of those counts back when you do final rejections on those cases? You were going to do those for free under the old system.”

    The counts lost in transition are like the quick change scam. If you don’t pay attention you won’t realize you are being short changed.

    Examiner 6 wasn’t doing final amendments “for free” under the old system. It was bringing him one step closer to the 1.0 counts at abandonment.

    Examiner 6 was expecting 2 total counts after disposal for all FOAM in the pipe under the old system. The new count system also says he should get 2 total counts after disposal but shifts the numbers around.

    When they flip the switch at transition and give 0.75 counts per every FOAM they are “erasing” 0.25 counts for every FOAM in progress. The total counts will only tally up to 1.75

  79. 84

    “Um no I was going to do them for a count when they came back abandoned. A full count. Not .75 of a count.”

    This appears to be an objection to something other than losing the 0.25 count. But I agree that if you are only going to get .75 count for an RCE, you ought to also be given the extra half count for doing the FOAM.

  80. 83

    “You were going to do those for free under the old system.”

    Um no I was going to do them for a count when they came back abandoned. A full count. Not .75 of a count.

  81. 82

    Dear “Gravy train is out of gravy,” I think “slightly less gravy” is more accurate. Also, “still just as much gravy as ever for Examiners who allow applications in between games of solitaire.”

  82. 80

    Six,

    Aren’t you going to get the bulk of those counts back when you do final rejections on those cases? You were going to do those for free under the old system.

  83. 78

    If increases in fees are nessary the only just thing to do is quadroople corperate fees according to there ability to pay. With any extra money establish a legal fund to level the playing field in court for small entities unable to afford infringement lawsuits.This will eliminate the need for patent trolls.Of course burn the patent reform act because it promotes murder of inventors theft of intellectual property slavery obstruction of justice fraud cival rights violations and does nothing to deal with the present attrocities of the system.

  84. 77

    Out of gravy…

    Exactly. The private sector engineers I know ALL work lots of unpaid hours, and then do not take comp time (well, all except for a couple of civil engineers working on ditches and stormwater ponds).

    Furthermore, many of them have recently suffered job loss, reduced hours, or furlough, and are uncertain about their future. This includes both recent grad EIT’s as well as 20+yr senior project engineers. Many of the senior personnel I know are right now looking overseas.

    There is NO COST OF FAILURE borne by an individual working in the public sector, except in the most egregious cases–and then the failure is not related to the performance of one’s duties, but instead failure to adhere to departmental policy such as prohibitions on porn surfing and theft of government property.

    You know for whom I feel the most sorry, other than citizen applicants? Those few good examiners who really try to do a good job, and who work hard. There are some, who get inculcated into the institutional culture soon enough. I feel sorry for them because there is NOTHING THEY CAN DO TO ENABLE THEIR OWN EFFECTIVENESS. If the office is understaffed, it is because their available resources are poorly distributed, resulting in staff shortages. The workload gets dumped on some erstwhile examiner–it’s not his/her fault he/she starts behind the 8-ball on day 1.

    But they’re hardened soon enough. Either that or they get pissed off and leave because they can’t live with themselves in their new character as a powerless cog in the governmental machine.

    The ones that are left are survivors, with the appropriate survival skill set. These are the people who are grossly overpaid. They are the game players, not the workers. By and large, they SUCK at being examiners–no knowledge, no expertise, no commitment to excellence. They just don’t care.

    They can’t interpret new laws and regulations because they lack the skill and knowledge, so they rely on higher-ups to do it on their behalf, who then try to communicate to them their findings. It’s like trying to explain semiotics to the pre-literate. The only way that they can do a good job is by pure accident, by chance. And even then, they better not try to articulate themselves, or the job will turn to garbage soon enough.

  85. 75

    The point being, you are paid more than enough, your job is easy enough (can’t con me and many others, we were examiners too and know how much time we spent playing solitaire), and you will do more work for less credit whether you like it or not, and no you can’t sue the patent office.

  86. 74

    Examiners need to live in the real world like the rest of us.

    For the most part, first, you are not attorneys. You are not even patent agents. You are engineers. The same guys who start out of college at 45k thousand or well under.

    When I worked at the patent office, between overtime and mandatory bonuses I was making more than my former boss from the largest defence and space craft company in the world, who had 15 years of space craft design experience and who worked almost as much unpaid overtime as he did number of paid hours.

    Examiners whine and cry, but their compensation is in the top few percent of those with engineering degrees.

    Remember, examiners, you are not patent professionals. You are government engineers, and should (and do) get paid as such.

  87. 73

    6: “you believe that…”

    “I believe in a long, prolonged derangement of the senses in order to attain the unknown.”

    Name that quote…

  88. 72

    Yapex and Plurality,

    You have to think about this issue from Kappos’ perspective. He is not a public sector guy. and he needs to get rid of the backlog but has no money. The scenario I propose is a logical one from his perspective.

    I said the fees would be 4x higher.

    The USPTO would keep the same amount of money, but without the expense of examination, gets rid of the backlog and starts collecting renewal fees sooner, especially as the people who would choose this route are ones who really believe they will get a patent allowed.

    The UKIPO and EPO already give you a FAOM within a year if you want, and I imagine would be happy to do it for the USPTO for the 3x fees they would get.

    As for the KIPO I am certain they would gladly increase the size of their examination corps to get a share of that money.

    There are other countries like Russia, Australia and India that would be happy to do this work.

    And ultimately? I am certain that many former USPTO Examiners would be happy to set up private examination companies (even as subcontractors for foreign patent offices) and they would do fast and excellent work without worrying about counts.

  89. 71

    xmnr-not6:

    Your evidence proves my point. If the PTO hired 2 for every 1 that left, people WERE applying to positions, WERE accepting offers, and the art units WERE NOT emptying out.

    You said it yourself–in 2008 the annual report indicates that the personnel count went up by 600 (note here: I assume the number of examiners rose as well as the number of total personnel).

    Your conclusions aren’t reasonable at all. You don’t say WHY those who left did so, or what they did after they left. Maybe they were overwhelmingly women who left to have children–maybe their leaving had NOTHING to do with the pay, and maybe they aren’t even in the workforce anymore. Maybe they were transfers to other federal government agencies.

    Maybe the reasons for those leaving had NOTHING to do with the pay “relative to what they could get in the private sector”. Once again, an examiner has no relevant evidence to support his/her position.

    Ego Trip–No, my public sector experience was not at the PTO, but that doesn’t matter–the institutional culture among all branches is similar.

    Anon–That is why I used the word “eke”. Nobody ever said that patent examiners, some of whom sit at their desks day in and day out and produce crap day in and day out, were deserving of any higher wage standard. A lower wage would not preclude them from starting small businesses of their own and augmenting their income if they want a higher instant standard of living. Plus, what they still get instead of a particular current wage standard is incredible job security and defined pension and health benefits, things that are considered by many to be LUXURY items these days.

    xmnr-not6: “Infinitely faster” was only somewhat hyperbolic. The point is not to simply “examine” applications, but to at least “examine substantively well”. We prosecutors have all received GARBAGE rejections and objections that are WORSE THAN NO EXAMINATION AT ALL, because they are unlawful, meaningless, expensive, and counter-productive. They represent economic waste. Therefore, they can be considered a sort of “negative examination”, the positive utility of which is ZERO. Therefore, any positive utility afforded by a substantively well-performed examination IS infinitely better.

    I’ve had it with public sector hacks like examiners–I’m here for a fight. No doubt there will be many examiners who oppose my views–alright, let’s go at it. In for a penny, in for a pound. Someone’s got to take you to task.

    Take a look at 6’s comment discussing the operation of the machinery–his/her discussion is from an ENTIRELY personal pecuniary perspective. What happened to the spirit of public service? The comment appears to clearly stem from an “us-versus-them” mentality. Fair enough–consider me one of “them”.

  90. 70

    “The Safety Net keeps both old and new systems in place and the better one is used. ”

    I’m aware of what it does. I paid attention the first time, and I paid attention during the presentations that I’ve taken in.

    There are two parts to the safety net.

    If you’re talking about the safety net part that merely reverts to the old system then the whole conversation is moot. If you use the old system of course no counts are lost. But then again, no progress is made towards making the transition. In other words, the whole thing never happened.

    The second part of the safety net is them adjusting the modification of your hours up based upon your previous year’s production. That part is not effected by the loss of counts. That is, your “boost” will remain the same. I’m saying this in a way such that it is a good/moot thing, but it is in fact a bad thing for those of you who haven’t caught on yet.

    Presuming however you wish to discuss the new system, the counts fly out the window.

    Here’s the deal, if you start, on day 1, producing more faom’s then normal then you can maintain your current production (under the new system) by doing a bit more work. The amount of extra work you will need to do is however much production is lost on abandonments (even RCE abandonments) and “on final” allowances. For me, that is approximately .75 counts per bi week. So, instead of doing 6.something counts per bi week I do 6.something+.75 counts per bi week on avg for the first ~6 months while all my old counts are getting handled.

    Jules you’re a case study in why business people can pull sht over on people without them even knowing. And you’re not alone.

    But one thing you should be able to understand is that you can’t have credit going “to the void” and not be losing out. It is impossible. That much should be apparent to you.

    You can’t just have a debt owed you “go away” and immediately be winning.

    If you try to use the new count system going forward you will work harder at the beginning, as a start up cost, for a year or so before the extra hour actually is a net benefit to you.

    If you stick to the old, of course everything is hunky dorey, but that’s because no transition occurs.

  91. 69

    “you believe that, so long as there is a safety net to make your production a little better than it is currently, then it is ok”

    You are apparently missing the point of my argument, because you have no idea what I believe.

    The Safety Net keeps both old and new systems in place and the better one is used. Therefore, there is no loss in credit/time for “transition FOAMS” unless, possibly, the examiner is going for a bonus.

  92. 68

    I share that view as well, yapex. EPO deserves some credit for being more thorough than JPO and KIPO, though.

    I suspect it’s a language issue combined with the number of patents in the respective native-language database – KIPO has less than a million issued patents to search, while the US has 7.5 million (though admittedly, only about 3 million are generally useful). Also, most non-patent literature is published in English.

  93. 67

    @Erez (12:58 PM): “My experience is different than yours.”

    Apparently so. I simply question the statement that foreign Patent Offices provide “_guaranteed_ first _substantive_ office actions”.

    Incidentally there was a posting from another examiner yesterday on the internal USPTO blog echoing my experience. He wrote: “However, in my own experience, about 8 to 9 times out of 10, I find better art than that provided in an IDS that provides foreign search results.” I know of other examiners who share this view.

  94. 66

    Casual Observer said “What they need to do is get rid of the entrenched bureaucracy of IT contractors and spend the savings to put 21st century technology in the hands of the examiners.”

    Makes sense to me

  95. 65

    “If the PTO were to pay less, it may attract candidates … who have a desire for public service”

    hahaha

    “I have worked in the public sector”

    Obviously not at the PTO.

    “if you decrease their pay, they will not leave, but instead will work less. … My solution? Fire them for cause.”

    What a sophisticated and nuanced position. I love it when you guys sit around here complaining about unknowledgeable examiners, then propose firing everybody and paying less.

  96. 64

    “And as far as living in the DC area goes, there are PLENTY of people living there who make HALF what examiners make, and still manage to eke out a living.”

    Uhh . . . yeah . . . with the emphasis being on *eke* here.

    Main Entry: 2eke
    Function: transitive verb
    Inflected Form(s): eked; ek·ing
    Etymology: Middle English, from Old English īecan, ēcan; akin to Old High German ouhhōn to add, Latin augēre to increase, Greek auxein
    Date: before 12th century
    1 archaic : increase, lengthen
    2 : *******to get with great difficulty******* —usually used with out

  97. 63

    While I shouldn’t feed the troll, perhaps “punches” is simply uninformed. “punches” states that “Nobody would bother to apply or accept examining positions, and your art unit would empty out, if wages were decreased? Bull! Absolutely NO worthwhile evidence to support such an assertion”

    Here is some evidence. When the economy was better, GAO did a report on the PTO. GAO found “From 2002 through 2006, one patent examiner left USPTO for nearly every two the agency hired. This represents a significant loss to the agency because 70 percent of those who left had been at the agency for less than 5 years” (see /media/docs/2008/08/d071102.pdf).

    If patent office pay, benefits, and security couldn’t keep people at full pay, a reasonable person would assume that reducing that pay would, on balance, likely increase attrition. In 2008, the patent office Annual report indicates that over 1200 examiners were hired, but the personnel count at the agency only went up by about 600. Where are the other 600 people?

    Further, if “punches” is so wonderful as to examine applications in his/her area of technology “infinitely” faster than examiners, we should only need to hire “punches” for a day to eliminate the backlog, since an “infinite” pace would allow “punches” to complete the backlog.

  98. 61

    “How does it not? The Memorandum of Understanding states”

    “The Memorandum of Understanding states”

    “The Memorandum of Understanding”

    What’s next? The Ministry of Love? Am I playing an RPG where my memorandum is enchanted with an Enchantment of Understanding?

    Apparently you are, because it has a magical effect on you. The enchantment makes you believe that, so long as there is a safety net to make your production a little better than it is currently, then it is ok for the office to not provide the due compensation for work done.

    As it turns out, yours is a belief that is widely held (in conjunction with all of the other “good” provisions), and so is my own. One however involves “theft” and redistribution of the credit stolen being A OK. Care to take a guess which belief that is?

    As far as I can see, we don’t actually get an hour increase in time for the first year or two. All we get is some credit that is owed us within the next few months given to us over a 1-3 year period instead. This is an illusion of more time being given. Until 2 or so years from now when all the credit that was taken will have been paid back (by the “extra” hour), and we will then start to benefit an extra hour per count.

    As the poster points out above, not only is the examiner’s credit stolen, the applicant is shortchanged as well.

    I’ll be speaking on this subject more after I’ve had a chance to go over it with most or all of the people presenting.

    Here is the calculation to tide you over.

    You have 40 rejected cases on your docket. Instead of receiving full payment, you receive only .75 of that payment. At 12 hrs per count, you lose 4 hrs per each of 40 counts. 40×4, you lose 160 hrs of counts. In a year, you will probably do 100-120 counts. Thus, you make up 120 “free 1 hrs”. So in a little under year and a half you’ll probably break even. Fill in your own numbers to do the calculation for yourself.

    The production change is is all one big bookkeeping trick that gives the office free work now in exchange for an ongoing benefit we will receive a long time from now. All while making Kappos out to be altruistic and generous. I have to hand it to him and the taskforce, it is pretty devious. There is no doubt about it. Even if they did it unknowingly.

    What they should have done was just had those business students that came in awhile back work some business switcharoo magic and we could have had this done back when Peterlin was here.

  99. 60

    Inviting, I had a hard time picking the funniest comment but my vote goes to.

    “We could cut the number of examiners in half, pay each one twice as much, and get some ACTUAL expertise on staff–not just the mundane technical expertise, but the sophisticated and nuanced legal expertise that is required to conduct a worthwhile examination.”

    But in all seriousness, my vote would go to moving the issuance fee to apply to all applications. Yes it might hurt the little guy but the assumption is that you will have to pay the fee anyway.

    Tech specific fees for more complex arts might also be an interesting idea but it would have to be implemented in a way so that chance for abuse was minimal.

  100. 58

    True, (re rockey’s comment re quality) but the fact remains that you do have to build quality into the process in order to have a quality product (in this case, the resulting patent). If an application is allocated by the powers that be to receive X amount of the examiner’s time, it very likely will not get more than that amount of time, and if we start off with no hope for a quality product, then all the in-process reviews (or whatever guage you want to use to determine whether a “quality” job is being done) in the world can’t fix that.

    Put differently, if you’re complaining that the examiner is doing a bad job with 16 hours, what kind of job do you think they’re going to be doing with 14.75?

    Additionally, the whole premise of the proposal was to “do no harm”. If an Applicant is unfortunate enough to have their case be a “transition” case, is receiving less of the Examiner’s time than they would have under even the old system “doing no harm” to that Applicant?

  101. 57

    It is comical that people are concerned about whether an examiner gets 16 or 18 hours. You could give an examiner 100 hours and get the same quality action as one prepared in 10 hours if there is no other incentive for better work present.

  102. 56

    Concerned, I am glad you pointed that out.

    I submit that examiners who micromanage their dockets to that extent are probably already doing a disservice to the public anyway ;)

  103. 55

    Re Jules’ comments on the “safety net provisions” of the proposed new count system, note that this “safety net” is only good to juggle the examiner’s production numbers around to make sure their performance rating isn’t negatively impacted by the new system. This does NOT change the fact that Applicants are receiving less of an Examiner’s time for transition applications than they would for cases filed either under the old system OR under the new system.

    For example, an examiner who gets 16 hours per application (for a balanced disposal) under the old system will get 18 hours for that same application under the new system.

    However, for a case that was acted on, i.e., had a first action on the merits (FAOM) sent out, under the old system, Applicant got 8 hours of that Examiner’s time for the FAOM. If this case is then acted on again AFTER the new system is implemented, an Examiner only has 0.75 counts to work with. 0.75 times the 9 hours under the new system only amounts to 6.75 hours.

    Thus, a case under the old system receives 16 hours of an Examiner’s time, under the new system will receive 18 hours of the Examiner’s time, but for that poor case that was unfortunate enough to be a “transition” case, the Applicant only will get 14.75 hours of the Examiner’s time (8+6.75 hours). All the “safety nets” and juggling of the numbers after the fact (i.e., at the end of the fiscal year when it is determined whether or not the Examiner’s numbers are better under the old system or under the new) don’t change the fact that at the time the transition case is being acted on by the Examiner, the Applicants in those transition cases are receiving less of an Examiner’s time than they did under the old system or than they would under the new system.

  104. 54

    “punches”,

    A lot of what you wrote above is misinformed, misguided or just warped. But it is all pretty much OPINION. And you know what they say about opinions… Not worth arguing about.

    One fact you need correction on. SPEs are NOT part of POPA. When an examiner becomes a SPE (or other management position) they MUST resign from being a member of POPA (assuming that they already were a member).
    SPEs are the ones that are stuck in the middle between examiners & upper management. They need to have a stick to use on the examiners (some literally) but have very little real power to enforce most anything. Most of the time the work a SPE has to go through to remove an examiner for quality is a near impossible hurdle to overcome. And even when that is achieved, POPA usually fights for the examiner & gets things overturned. About the only way to remove an examiner is production or them doing something REALLY stup1d (e.g., assaulting another examiner or surfing p0rn at work).

    MVS

  105. 53

    6: “Because magically the safety net makes up for it.

    Oh wait, no it doesn’t. Not at all.”

    How does it not? The Memorandum of Understanding states:

    “9. Safety Net

    A. The Agency shall maintain PALM functionality so that an examiner’s performance may be calculated under the previous count system.
    B. Where performance issues arise, including performance actions, promotions and WIGIs, production shall be calculated using both the old and new system. The best result for the employee will be used to determine the production goal achievement element in the PAP.
    C. The safety net will be maintained for the duration of this Agreement and will also apply to performance issues, such as those listed in B above, that relate to an examiner’s performance during the duration of this Agreement.
    D. The safety net shall be available for performance actions, promotion eligibility, and WIGIs, but not for awards.
    E. Situations not specifically addressed above that are relevant to the impacts of the new count system will be jointly addressed with the goal being to reach a reasonable decision in an expedient manner.

    Subsection B explicitly says that you will be rated on both the old and new production systems, and whichever result is better is the one that applies. There is an exception in Subsection D, which says the duality does not apply for the purposes of awards. Since you did not mention the exception, I fail to understand your beef with the safety net.

  106. 52

    Nobody would bother to apply or accept examining positions, and your art unit would empty out, if wages were decreased? Bull! Absolutely NO worthwhile evidence to support such an assertion.

    And even if it were true, those who left would be back as soon as their UI ran out and they were left jobless.

    Relocating the PTO wouldn’t automatically mean that you could lower all PTO wages–you know that.

    And as far as living in the DC area goes, there are PLENTY of people living there who make HALF what examiners make, and still manage to eke out a living. Examiners as a class are not the kind of people who can pick and choose what they are going to do and where they are going to do it.

    Some examiner is going to pick up and go straight to any place that pays top-flight salaries to technical personnel? Yeah, right.

    A big problem is that supervisory examiners are also in the union. There is effectively no union/management split at the “productive” levels of the organization. You are all brothers, you are all in the same boat. All carrots and no sticks.

  107. 51

    I have never really understood how examiners could be any less than registered agents or attorneys.

    In fact, they should properly be a class of super-agents, or super-attorneys, and be paid accordingly.

    Any good patent attorney or agent could be paid the same in the patent office as in the private sector (reasonably), and be INFINITELY more productive than any current patent examiner, unless the bureaucratic machinery got in the way. We could cut the number of examiners in half, pay each one twice as much, and get some ACTUAL expertise on staff–not just the mundane technical expertise, but the sophisticated and nuanced legal expertise that is required to conduct a worthwhile examination.

  108. 50

    Plurality–

    First of all, not all engineers/scientists with the same “qualifications” are paid equally, even in a given geographical area. There are better-paying, and worse-paying, jobs. To say that the PTO examiner scale has to be “competitive” is misleading.

    If the PTO were to pay less, it may attract candidates with inferior credentials (not necessarily inferior candidates), or those candidates looking for a different lifestyle, or those who have a desire for public service, or those who wish the opportunity to transfer to other areas within public service. Just because it paid less doesn’t mean that the halls would empty of examiners, especially in today’s labor market.

    Yes, more experienced/qualified examiners should probably be paid more than new/less qualified examiners, but the entire scale should be moved downward. Basically, no examiner at any level should be paid what any private sector patent attorney or engineer gets.

    Why? Because private sector workers work FAR GREATER HOURS than their public sector counterparts, private sector workers assume job loss risks associated with non-performance or inferior performance unlike their public sector counterparts, private sector workers assume the risk that their entire enterprise or their employer’s enterprise could fail and land them unemployed, unlike their public sector counterparts, and perhaps most of all, private sector attorneys and engineers assume professional liability to their clients, an assumption that entails risk, cost, or both, unlike their public sector counterparts.

    You use the word “shortchange”, which is disparaging-cutting their pay wouldn’t “shortchange” them at all, it would more accurately price their services according to market levels. Examiners in the aggregate would not leave the PTO–they have it relatively easy, make good money, have almost absolute job security and a guaranteed pension, are able to see retirement as a realistic goal, etc..

    Examiner’s total compensation is way too high, as are the overall labor costs endured by the PTO when legacy costs are taken into account. Equal pay for equal work. Less pay for less work.

    As rockey said, if you decrease their pay, they will not leave, but instead will work less. I have worked in the public sector, I know how the game is played. My solution? Fire them for cause.

    There are plenty of recent grads out there looking for work right now, and the supply will continue unabated for at least several years.

    I’m forced to conclude that current examiners have little knowledge or understanding of patent law and regulation, and have knowledge relating only to the superficial guidelines published for their benefit as the MPEP. Any newly-minted examiner would therefore not be far behind in this respect.

  109. 49

    “”6 said (with apparent pride): ”

    With pride? Are you insane?

    “What’s the PTO’s excuse?”

    People keep demanding this whole “examine my application” nonsense. I know, I know, it’s silly. It really is. But that’s how it is.

    Add to that the fact that, *gasp* as time goes on, examining applications gets harder (more time consuming at least) and you have a real pickle! “OMFGWTFBBQ?!?!?!?! Examining applications gets harder as time goes on?!?!?!?!!!!!!11111111” I know you just said to yourself. But yes, it’s true :(

    “The extra time is being given. ”

    Ahh your post didn’t make that clear.

    “That time will be paid for by the increased maintenance fees. ”

    So in three years work will be paid for that is done this year?

    I’ll say this for you broje, as an administrator you’d work wonders for an organization, after it failed.

    “It is already accounted for with a “Safety Net” and also in the recurring reevaluation and adjustment scheme built into the proposals.”

    You don’t know what you’re talking about. If you did, you wouldn’t have said that. And that is what worries me about simply speaking up about it and bringing it to everyone’s attention. They all think they have a good bead on things now that the original plan was set forth. They aren’t going to mind the little stipulations stuck in after the initial document was sent out. Even if they read “You no longer get credit that you were promised for work you did, credit which you were promised”. They wouldn’t care even if it read “You will recieve no counts for cases currently “rejected” on your docket. Because magically the safety net makes up for it.

    Oh wait, no it doesn’t. Not at all.

    You simply never get .25 counts that you were promised when you sent out those non/finals. For about 30+ cases.

    You’re in effect contributing about 6000$ (depending on your GS lvl etc.) to the new plan.

    Congrats.

    Just remember, do it with a smile on your face.

    And when they come and make the next changes in the system so that counts get 0 credit for abandonment but .75 for final, and you don’t get any credit for the cases you sent out under this new system, be sure to donate another 6000$ to them again. Be sure to smile then too!

    YAY let’s work for free!!! :):):)

    “You haven’t lost anything.”

    You don’t get this. Let’s say, for instance, your client wants you to do some responses to a bunch of nonf’s and final rejections as they come in over the course of the next year. You say ok, I’ll do it for 5000$ flat fee for each if they are a rejection. They say ok, and they’ll pay you 6 months after every final and immediately after every nonfinal. You do a final response and send it in. 3 months later you recieve a letter from the client saying he will instead pay you 3750$ flat fee for all responses you make including the first one you already did but he will make it up to you by paying 6250 for each nonfinal. You say OK SOUNDS GREAT TO ME!!!!!! Oh wait, what’s that? You don’t say that? You say, well, I already did a final at 5000$ that we agreed upon and even if I agree to the new pay scale going forward I insist upon the 5000$ agreed upon already being paid?

    Oh, that’s right. You do say that. And that’s what I say as well. ”

    “Examiners are overpaid, on an hourly basis. Pension and healthcare and other legacy costs are ridiculous. We are paying each individual examiner WAY too much for the service they deliver.”

    Imma just lol@u now. K? If you paid any less you wouldn’t even have anyone working in my art. Nobody would even bother to apply, and they certainly wouldn’t accept the position. Now, if you’d like to pay less and let me live somewhere else then we may be able to reach an agreement.

    “6, are you telling us that there have been no tools implemented at the PTO since the 1970’s that would otherwise enable increased productivity”

    Did I say that?

    ” you are stuck with either raising the budget or suffering a diminution in service, such as poorer quality or increased pendency.”

    You’re going to be stuck with that either way bucko. Sorry. Your only option is to relocate the PTO and then lower your costs. Even if you get the ability to pay whatever you please with no bargaining.

    Rockey seems to be the only one here telling it how it is.

    I don’t have any more time to talk to you guys today, got stuff to do. Cya tomorrow or really late tonight.

  110. 48

    Malcome Mooony,

    Re:
    “Get rid of the small/large entity distinction.”

    R U sure U don’t want to enlarge the diff?

  111. 47

    Yapex,

    My experience is different than yours. I see the EPO and KIPO allowing claims of scope that is commensurate with the Inventors’ contribution and the state of the art.

    My experience is that the EPO don’t cover the dependents because the cited art is so close to the invention that I can figure out what is patentable and what not by myself.

    That the USPTO rejects KIPO granted claims may or may not mean something. Many posters here think that has more to do with USPTO mischaracterizing prior art or misinterpreting claim language.

    But even if the USPTO is “better” than the KIPO, is it worth the added expense and time? How often do you hear that the claims allowed by the USPTO hold up in court?

  112. 46

    Examiners are hired primarily for their technical expertise. Therefore, they have to be paid on a scale that is competitive with engineers and scientists living in the DC/NOVA area. Long-term examiners with great familiarity with the law (some of whom have law degrees, for that matter) have to be paid at least somewhat competitively with patent attorneys (modulo attorneys’ longer hours and higher stress levels). If you shortchange them, they will leave, union or no union.

  113. 45

    inviting body punches, the big secret known by the PTO is that if you give examiners more time, the bulk of them will only adjust their production accordingly without any increase in quality. There has to be another measure of, or incentive for compactness.

    So many important things regarding searching have been ignored over there for so long, I doubt any of the measures being discussed will have any positive effect.

  114. 44

    I think that everybody here agrees that examiners need more time to examine, especially for a FOAM.

    What is the barrier to giving them more time? There is insufficient money to pay them, and still maintain current levels of pendency.

    Why is there insufficient money to pay them? Because PTO labor costs for both current and former examiners are determined according to a scale that cannot effectively be altered, except that the rates of compensation always rise.

    So, reducing costs is not an option. The only thing left is vastly increasing pendency (not a good option as it reduces the effectiveness of patenting), or increasing the budget.

    This is what we have thanks to the current employment contract. Examiners are overpaid, on an hourly basis. Pension and healthcare and other legacy costs are ridiculous. We are paying each individual examiner WAY too much for the service they deliver.

    I’m not saying examiners don’t work hard and well–like anything else, there will be some who are good and some who are not, following some sort of distribution.

    But when there is inflexibility in controlling labor costs, you are stuck with either raising the budget or suffering a diminution in service, such as poorer quality or increased pendency.

    Even moving the patent office to the middle of Wyoming wouldn’t help much, as the examiners would still have their employee classifications. Similarly, having remote examiners also wouldn’t help much.

    As long as we have the current contract in place, and the current mechanism of negotiating the contract, we are stuck with either increased costs or decreased service.

    And the comment about productivity–6, are you telling us that there have been no tools implemented at the PTO since the 1970’s that would otherwise enable increased productivity?

  115. 43

    “…choose search/examination at the European, UK, Australia or Korean offices with a guaranteed first substantive office action…”

    LOL. Many of the Korean applications I worked with are granted patents by KIPO and end up getting rejected by the USPTO. Majority of EPO office actions I’ve seen barely cover the independent claims, and hardly touch on the dependent ones. If we’re allowed that kind of quality, our lives would have been much better at the USPTO.

  116. 42

    Personally, I would reduce the application fee to a nominal fee, eliminate maintenance fees, charge per page printed and then put all the rest on a per claim fee. This way, the applicant could go cheap or expensive at his or her choice and be fairly charged for the costs she actually imposes on the government.

    As to small entities, I support the difference in fees. Leave it as is.

  117. 41

    “Whoever designed this flaw into the system should fix it.”

    It is already accounted for with a “Safety Net” and also in the recurring reevaluation and adjustment scheme built into the proposals.

  118. 40

    6 “In light of the newly exposed position of the office taking .25 counts away from all applications which are currently “rejected” when the transition to the new system occurs, could an employee sue for a regulatory taking?”

    6 Does seem unfair. Whoever designed this flaw into the system should fix it.

  119. 39

    6, there has been no “taking”. You haven’t lost anything. The count system is being changed to change your behavior. It’s just like tax incentives — there’s a mortgage interest deduction to encourage people to buy homes. If the government wanted to discourage development and building of new homes, they’d get rid of that deduction. This is no different.

  120. 38

    6 said (with apparent pride): “Productivity hasn’t moved since the 70’s.”

    Huh. While productivity has doubled in the rest of the economy. What’s the PTO’s excuse?

  121. 37

    SIR is not what I was talking about.

    I was talking about an application that is published without being examined, but that you could pull back into the patent system if someone infringes your idea. It is my understanding that an SIR is just a dedication to the public.

    There would have to be some type of damages that could accrue (similar to those of provisional rights, but more stringent) after the application was published/registered.

  122. 36

    “You don’t get anything you don’t pay for Broje. You should know this.”

    The extra time is being given. That time will be paid for by the increased maintenance fees.

  123. 34

    “Decreasing counts for RCEs will encourage Examiners to spend that extra time doing a better job examining dependent claims and reviewing the specification, thus identifying allowable subject matter more often. ”

    You don’t get anything you don’t pay for Broje. You should know this.

  124. 33

    Examiners need more time to examine applications. The PTO needs more maintenance fees, since those are the primary source of funds that actually stay at the PTO.

    Decreasing counts for RCEs will encourage Examiners to spend that extra time doing a better job examining dependent claims and reviewing the specification, thus identifying allowable subject matter more often. The result will be more allowances and continuations, as opposed to rejections and RCEs. Its a win win.

    Why would the PTO give Exmainers more time, and thus more money, to just more firmly reject applications, resulting in no increased maintenance fees?

  125. 32

    No no no, my bad, bad analogy.

    It’s like saying, you know bob that lemonade making machine currently doesn’t do a very good job making lemonade because it doesn’t spend enough time brewing it. What I think we should do is take out the protective feature installed by the manufacturer to make sure that brewing time is at least a certain amount and sit back and watch the amount of lemonade made SOAR!

  126. 31

    “Gary Locke (Secretary of Commerce) has again indicated the Obama Administration’s support for the pending patent reform bill S. 515.”

    The problem is the bill will not reform the system. All it will do is legalize theft of small entity creations by large corporate infringers.

    Patent reform is a fraud on America…
    Please see link to truereform.piausa.org for a different/opposing view on patent reform.

  127. 30

    “if you get fired, will you sue for a regulatory taking too?”

    I think that would probably be better based upon discrimination based upon my nationality. American.

    “productivity spiralling downward.”

    I’m not sure where you got that from. Productivity hasn’t moved since the 70’s. And adding one hour at the expense of hours on RCE’s is hardly “productivity spiralling downward”.

    You must have your rose colored glasses on.

    “Increased costs are not the answer. Getting rid of the current collective bargaining model is the answer.”

    So wait a minute, you want to get rid of the major player fighting for more time and hope that mgmt just gives out more time freely? So far as I follow this logic it seems to be arse backwards.

    It’s like saying, you know bob, I’m tired of the current level of production from that lemon making machine. I think we should keep the machine, and get rid of all the parts of the machine that operate towards making lemons and not replace them with other parts. Then we can just sit back and watch the production SOAR!

  128. 29

    Noam Sayin’, that was hilarious!

    I’m really sick of how this country’s elected representatives have forsaken their responsibility to the citizenry in favor of their “duty” to negotiate with public sector unions.

    I believe it was Pres. Kennedy who signed an executive order, or something like it, that granted to the public sector the right to bargain collectively.

    So, we end up in this ridiculous circle, that has costs spiralling upward and productivity spiralling downward. Increasing costs for decreasing service.

    How in the heck could ANYBODY examine a patent sufficiently to prepare a cogent FOAM in the amount of time currently allotted for this purpose?

    Increased costs are not the answer. Getting rid of the current collective bargaining model is the answer. I’m not saying that there should not be any collective bargaining, but it has to change somehow.

  129. 28

    “In light of the newly exposed position of the office taking .25 counts away from all applications which are currently “rejected” when the transition to the new system occurs, could an employee sue for a regulatory taking? Could there be a class action suit? If so, anyone want to take the case on contingency basis?”

    if you get fired, will you sue for a regulatory taking too?

  130. 26

    “http://www.marketwatch.com/video/asset/yho/%7BF62C4D05-8593-4A60-9D27-A79CFD95BA18%7D?siteid=yhoo”

    A great watch, stick around for the interview with boone for an even better watch.

  131. 25

    Has fee diversion been ended? If not, wouldn’t that be a great place to get money without requiring any type of fee increase?

  132. 24

    What about adding a registration patent system option?

    The applications would have to be “formal” (i.e. not a provisional), but they wouldn’t be examined for substance. Something like a copyright. They would also be published, thus providing public access. Fees could be relatively low because not much would have to be done (e.g. publication and a review just to be sure it met technical requirements of a patent such as having claims and the correct margins). This would help the small guy. If proof of actual infringement were found, there could be a fast track for examination and the potential infringer could be notified so they could submit prior art/documents.

    Lots of advantages here because some of the small guys invent stuff that will never be infringed, so there is a lower up-front cost for them. Big guys would like it because their competitor’s information gets published sooner (not the 18 months for current publications). The patent office gets money fast without having to do much.

    I know more would have to be done to flesh this idea out, but it is just a thought.

  133. 23

    Initial fees need to be increased (specifically the search and examination fees) and the increase needs to be allotted directly and only to the first action. Also, excess claim fees need to be allotted to examination.

    The new system is smoke and mirrors. The counts decrease with number of RCEs, which the attorneys like because it looks like examiners will not want to prolong prosecution. The hours/BD increase, which examiners like because it makes it look like they’re getting more time to work a case. But when you crunch the numbers, the average examiner is getting slightly less than an hour per BD extra (slightly less than 1/2 hour extra per count) on the average round of examination. The PTO said their fall back position is to simply add 1 hour/BD across the board. Check it out using the numbers in their presentation and you will see that that is a better deal for the majority of examiners.

    This is a shame because the new plan has some good aspects. The re-allotment of counts within a round of examination is good (although I would argue that 1.25 for the non-final, 0.5 for the final, and 0.25 for the disposal is more appropriate). That change in and of itself does not change the number of counts given for a round of examination and would not likely be opposed by examiners. It would be extremely beneficial to solving the new examiner attrition problem.

    It doesn’t make sense to take away counts from RCE rounds unless you’ve added enough to the first round to get the case thoroughly searched and examined. The root of the problem is that the art unit expectancies are woefully out of date. Simply adding 2 hours to the first action, at least in complex technical areas, isn’t going to make up for the difference.

  134. 22

    “He told the assembled that most of us had faster routers in our homes than he has to run the USPTO infrastructure. ”

    To be fair, router technology advances rather rapidly. And 1999 routers work plenty well to run a simple network. I speak from experience. Just because his network admin staff may blow balls is not the router’s fault.

    “Who really cares if inventors of modest means are priced out of the “legal market”? ‘

    Certainly not patent lawlyers.

    Besides that though Slone, you seem to act like ind. inventors cannot get nearly the exact same deal as they did in 1900 and can’t do it themselves. They can.

    If you were against all the legal nonsense that took place between then and now then I’d be more apt to believe you had their best interests in mind. But you don’t appear to be. You appear to merely be against small fees that don’t compare what so ever to the amount being charged by counsel whom you seem to feel are mandatory.

  135. 21

    “This should be dictated and not voted on. The examiners would never agree to anything that actually improves the system.”

    I would not have actively opposed the system sans this provision which appears to have been released more recently than the original proposal was. And a lot of other examiners wouldn’t have either.

  136. 20

    Increasing maintenance fees would probably not increase USPTO income: the income gained from patentees who pay would be lost from patentees who let a patent expire.

    Increasing filing fees will increase income, but will hurt the little guy.

    A solution would to give better service for more money.

    For example, if the USPTO were to allow an Applicant to choose search/examination at the European, UK, Australia or Korean offices with a guaranteed first substantive office action a year from filing, where the USPTO automatically accepts the foreign office’s decision to allow, the USPTO could charge 4 x filing, search and examination fees.

  137. 19

    The last thing these guys need is more money without a focus on delivering services to its users. What they need to do is get rid of the entrenched bureaucracy of IT contractors and spend the savings to put 21st century technology in the hands of the examiners.

    Two weeks ago the USPTO CIO, John Owens, stood up in front of a group of industry people at an event focused on PTO Data Dissemination as part of the Data.Gov initiative. He was looking for help. He basically said that his computers are ancient, all the examiners and the public share the same network connections, and he doesn’t have any money to make improvements. This is despite huge contracts for IT services that don’t appear to be doing much to bring state of the art technology to bear on their huge backlog of applications or to improve the tools available to the examiners. He told the assembled that most of us had faster routers in our homes than he has to run the USPTO infrastructure.

    (See: link to searchthewayyouthink.blogspot.com)

    Without some kind of a plan to fix the infrastructure, nothing will get done by raising fees other than cutting out small inventors. New fees will just feed a giant slush fund without improvements that will improve patent quality or make the examiners want to stick around.

  138. 18

    This should be dictated and not voted on. The examiners would never agree to anything that actually improves the system.

  139. 17

    I say raise the fees to astronomical levels. After all, this has been the end goal ever since the USPTO switched over to a PAYG and maintenance fee system.

    Likewise raise fees for taking the bar exam, and institute mandatory, draconian annual dues for everyone practicing before the USPTO, including those on the trademark side of the aisle. In fact, make them take an expensive bar exam as well. Why settle for just patents when you can have it all?

    Why worry about “quid pro quo” when you can easily implement “quid and more quid and even more quid”?

    Our system of patent laws was established to encourage disclosure. That seems so passe in the 21st century. Who really cares if inventors of modest means are priced out of the “legal market”? It is not as if they have something really useful to contribute anyway that fosters progress in the useful arts.

  140. 16

    “Besides, if you don’t like it, join POPA and vote it down, you cheapskate.”

    Actually word on the streets is that is where it is headed. And I am a member, have been for awhile.

  141. 15

    Sounds like a good way to get yourself fired, 6. I don’t really see how you would get anywhere with it anyway, since it came from POPA in the first place. Besides, if you don’t like it, join POPA and vote it down, you cheapskate.

  142. 14

    Raise maintenance fees. They’re they to compensate society for the granting the inventors exclusivity in the form of the patent; if the invention is truly commercially valuable, then the higher maintenance fees will be well worth it. Raising fees earlier in the process could result in some worthwhile inventions of smaller inventive entities not receiving patent protection (and thus never being developed) – although significantly raising fees for claims over 20 might not be a bad idea, and wouldn’t adversely affect small inventors.

  143. 13

    “http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/tue-march-3-2009/moment-of-zen—rush-limbaugh-isn-t-ugly”

    It would be selfish for me to hold this back.

    “LOL. Well, 6, you certainly have an attitude of entitlement.”

    Entitlement to be “paid” for my work? Absolutely. I didn’t do it with an expectation of it being done for free (as with a modern artist lol). And I’m pretty sure that there is enough paperwork signed that I certainly should have a “vested right” in my system of compensation.

    Anyone who comes up with a believable and likely successful case on this subject will be richly rewarded. Richly.

    examiner6k@yahoo.com

    According to this:

    link to businessdictionary.com

    it seems likely to me that I have one.

  144. 12

    “In light of the newly exposed position of the office taking .25 counts away from all applications which are currently “rejected” when the transition to the new system occurs, could an employee sue for a regulatory taking? Could there be a class action suit? If so, anyone want to take the case on contingency basis?”

    LOL. Well, 6, you certainly have an attitude of entitlement. Unfortunately, you don’t have an “entitlement” under any life/liberty/property due process caselaw.

  145. 11

    6,
    kneejerk no. you don’t have a vested right in your system of compensation (unless maybe through some clause in popa’s contract?)

  146. 10

    Question for any lawyers involved in the type of law where you are suing the gov. for a regulatory taking.

    In light of the newly exposed position of the office taking .25 counts away from all applications which are currently “rejected” when the transition to the new system occurs, could an employee sue for a regulatory taking? Could there be a class action suit? If so, anyone want to take the case on contingency basis?

  147. 9

    “Do I get to pay a reduced parking fee or reduced speeding ticket because I earn less? Nope.”

    Whoa whoa whoa there, Pick-a-few-convenient-examples-and-make-a-blanket-statement Mcgee. The government gives all sorts of breaks to people who “earn less.” Student loan interest write-offs, first home buyer credits, senior citizen admission rates at museums, lower income tax rates, etc. etc. are all available only if you are in a class of people that “earn less.” We extend these lower prices on any services/benefits that cost money but to which we want everyone to have (some) access to, regardless of income. The better question (which you NEVER ask) is are patents one of these services/benefits?

  148. 8

    Everyone should pay the same fees. Why in the hurl should the PTO of all places have a progressive fee system? Do I get to pay a reduced parking fee or reduced speeding ticket because I earn less? Nope.

    Get rid of the distinction. Pain in the axx and not worth it.

  149. 7

    I thought Government Agencies were only allowed to charge fees to recover their costs.

    When I pay a patent maintenance fee I am not paying the Patent Office to do something. I am paying them to *not* do something – take away my patent.

    It’s extortion.

  150. 6

    “I say triple the fees.”

    This was the approach in Europe in the 1800’s. They found that the number of patents decreased exponentially for every year that an applicant had to pay an annuity. The argument was that this was more effective at weeding out unworthy patents than the US system of examination. link to bit.ly (This should show up as mechanically translated English from the original French)

  151. 4

    Yo anon,

    Any increase to large entity fees should be (inversely) proportional to decreases to small entity fees, OK buy U?

  152. 3

    I say triple the fees. No, make them four times higher. For example, raise the oral hearing fee to $5000.00. Why not? Raise the appeal fee to $10,000.00. It doesn’t matter that many rates have been frozen or effectively reduced. Do it PTO.

  153. 2

    “…the Obama administration’s support…for S 515”

    Judging from the effect of the Obama administration’s support for healthcare reform, I predict S 515 will end up where it belongs – dead in the water.

    Looks like the administration is a trainwreck looking for a place to happen. Let’s hope it doesn’t happen at the PTO.

  154. 1

    The standard application fee should be raised considerably so that the process is accorded the gravitas it deserves by applicants. Then the RCE fees should also be raised to discourage clients from arbitrarily protracting prosecution.

    Of course all of this rests on the presumption that the Examining Corps will raise their level of play accordingly.

    We can dream can’t we?

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