InventHelp Sues Gene Quinn (IPWatchDog)

Tn96Invention Submission Corporation v. Gene Quinn & IP Watchdog (N.D.N.Y.)

Plaintiff, “InventHelp” is the most recent DBA name of the Invention Submission Corporation.  Defendant, Gene Quinn runs the IPWatchdog.com website and works with the same type of individual-inventor clients as InventHelp. The following two statements are taken directly from the InventHelp website:

From 2003 to 2005, we signed submission agreements with 6,592 clients. As a result of our services, 119 clients have received license agreements for their products, and 15 clients have received more money than they paid us for these services.

From 2006-2008, we signed Submission Agreements with 5,692 clients. As a result of our services, 94 clients have received license agreements for their products, and 21 clients have received more money than they paid us for these services.

During the 2003–2008 time period, fewer than 1 out of 300 InventHelp clients “received more money than they paid [to InventHelp] for these [invention promotion] services.”

For years, Gene Quinn has been writing about InventHelp and arguing that the company is “one of the most notorious of all invention scams.”  Now, the company has sued Quinn (and his wife) under the Lanham Act for providing a “misleading representation of fact … in commercial advertising or promotion…”; for defamation (apparently under NY Law?); for trade libel; and for interference with prospective clients.

106 thoughts on “InventHelp Sues Gene Quinn (IPWatchDog)

  1. 106

    Unintentional irony by Gene:
    “One final thought… you have to love the First Amendment, don’t you? I have a right to express my opinion and even if some don’t like it, I can still say it! God Bless America!”

    Sayeth Mr. Only-Registered-Toadies-May-Comment Quinn. Also, he seems to not grasp that there is a difference between saying that many invention submission services are scammers, and saying that Invent Help in particular are scammers. If they complied with the law, then they are not scammers.

  2. 105

    Good one, JV.

    Also, what if the application contains US missile secrets or the like? Treason is punishable by death, if I’m not mistaken.

  3. 104

    Or rather, no provision in the law for jail, no jail lol”

    It would be a mistake to conclude that an examiner could not receive fines or jail time for publishing an unpublished application simply because Title 35 does not have criminal provisions. Consider, for example, 18 USC 1905.

  4. 103

    Considering the law only provides for the office keeping things in confidence, as opposed to individuals, I would say the office.

    The law doesn’t generally provide for not doing things you know you’re not supposed to do that will cause harm to somebody else?

  5. 102

    Question: Regarding the one in 300-400 chance of breaking even with a submission to Invention Submission Corporation (“ISC” a.k.a. “InventHelp”), can anyone imagine why such a company would publish such damning statistics on their website?

    Answer: Such a company would certainly NOT do so. Fortunately for consumers, it appears that ISC was forced to implement this practice as part of a settlement with the FTC in 2004. Search for “Invention Submission Corporation” in the FTC 2004 Annual Report, downloadable from here:

    link to ftc.gov

    Bruce

  6. 101

    “Considering the law only provides for the office keeping things in confidence, as opposed to individuals, I would say the office.”

    But you would be wrong.

  7. 100

    ” hope you didn’t want a piece of the pie, so to speak. ”

    Nah man just a teaching fee up front is fine with me.

    “Either it’s in violation of 35 USC 4 or it’s inequitable conduct – take your pick, the patent is still worthless. So good luck finding an investor.”

    How is that inequitable conduct sir? And who committed the conduct in this instance? Remember you have to plead that stuff with specificity now.

    “I’m still watching you…”

    K, don’t get too bored. Can we watch Hulu while you watch me?

    IANAE I didn’t steal on anyone’s invention, nor did I make an obvious variation thereof.

    “what is the remedy?”

    Um, nothing? Maybe you could sue the office. Maybe they’ll give you your filing fees back. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAAHAHA

    “Would the examiner be fined (not just fired) or go to jail?”

    Hah, go to jail, you crack me up Broje. I can’t speak for any examiners, but homeless guys on the side of the road know how to address this situation. Any inventor/ceo even alleging such nonsense would be killed immediately after bail and before trial if the homeless person were taken to jail. No testimony, no jail amirite?

    Or rather, no provision in the law for jail, no jail lol. Still, inventor/ceo has to go :(

    “Could the applicant sue the office or sue the examiner personally?”

    Considering the law only provides for the office keeping things in confidence, as opposed to individuals, I would say the office.

  8. 99

    35 usc 122 states that an unpublished application shall be held in confidence, but if an examiner published it on his blog, what is the remedy? Would the examiner be fined (not just fired) or go to jail? Could the applicant sue the office or sue the examiner personally?

  9. 98

    6, on his own invention:

    There is no law against my enablingly teaching you how to build a spaceship, for example, that goes faster than the speed of light while running on water. There is also no law against you looking at a published application and incorporating that knowledge and my teachings into an invention relating to a spaceship that goes faster than the speed of light while running on water which has a door. There is also no law against you filing on such an invention, and such a filing would not be fraudulent as you are the sole inventor.

    6, on other examiners’ inventions:

    Plus 102 f helps stop any evil examiners stealing ideas and 103 stops an examiner from running with an idea and inventing around it in obvious ways and filing on those things.

    I wonder what ordinary household item 6 put a clock in to arrive at his invention.

  10. 97

    “Fair enough – it’s clear that the issue is questionable.”

    Not it’s not, it’s quite clear. There’s absolutely no way a court would determine that the patent was legally procured simply because the patent examiner skipped the formality of signing a declaration. Either it’s in violation of 35 USC 4 or it’s inequitable conduct – take your pick, the patent is still worthless. So good luck finding an investor.

    Yes, the law is as much about preventing the appearance of impropriety as anything else, but it’s not that much different from what you encounter in the private sector. If you work for XYZ Corp., your inventions typically belong to XYZ, at least to the extent they’re related to your work and/or XYZ’s business and/or developed on company time/resources (per your employment agreement). If you work for the public sector, it stands to reason that you can’t leverage related IP for personal gain.

    I’m still watching you…

  11. 96

    I quickly read the complaint. Are they saying that he is falsely advertising by saying they are the bad ones and not him? Not that he has made false statements about them.

  12. 95

    Fair enough – it’s clear that the issue is questionable.

    Here’s a hypo: say you assign all right and interest in the patent over to someone else, and don’t sign the oath, to avoid 35 USC 4. I hope you didn’t want a piece of the pie, so to speak. You have no right to the invention anymore, and I doubt this person or company that you have signed it over to will be so altrustic to pay you anything. Unless of course, you signed some shady, behind the curtain deal. Would that ever see the light of day? Maybe, maybe not. Personally, I try to avoid that type of trouble if I have a choice in the matter.

    So what’s the point in you going through this process then, anyway? Why not just dedicate your invention to the public and publish it right now without any expectation of a patent?

    BTW, this is not legal advice.

  13. 94

    I haven’t even really told you my take on that case. I agree with what you say about what was specifically held in the case, but the case goes on to provide a bit of background. I also agree with the bit of background the case provides.

    “That gave the assignee all rights to the invention, free to do whatever they want with it. In your case however, you CURRENTLY work for the patent office, which applies under 35 USC 4 as making you INCAPABLE of applying for the patent.”

    I’m pretty sure that everyone here understands very well that I do not personally plan to file.

    “In the case of American Cyanamid, the Patent Office refused to assign a filing date to the application, and that was overturned. In your case the Patent Office would refuse to assign a filing date, but that would not be overturned because you currently work for the patent office, and, as I mentioned, have access to confidential information which gives you an unfair advantage (and would certainly look bad for the government).”

    I didn’t have access to any information relevant to this invention save a publicly available pub. But, you may be right, it might not get a filing date if I were to personally file. Then again, the court specifically did not hold on that issue because it is a thorny issue as to whether or not the app will get a filing date if I’m listed as inventor, but I assign all rights and interests in the patent to someone else who does the actual filing. And I think I might need to refuse to sign the dec.

    An interesting question to say the least. I’d bet that if we lived in more patent friendly times me and an assignee could do it and the courts would bless it. That is because the assignee is the one filing, not me, since I refused to sign the dec and that is the sticking point in 35 usc 4.

  14. 93

    6, I disagree with your take on American Cyanamid v. Ladd (225 F.Supp 709, 140 USPQ 364 (D.D.C. 1964)).

    “It has been said that law isn’t justice, and in many cases it isn’t, but as far as this Court is concerned the contention of the Patent Office that 35 U.S.C. § 4[1] constitutes a limitation or exception to 35 U.S.C. §§ 116, 118,[2] is not sound with 711 respect to the situation at bar, where the invention had been completed prior to Shust’s employment by the Patent Office and he had no interest therein at that time.”

    The reason 35 USC 4 did not apply in that case was because Shust had invented and signed all right over to his employer PRIOR TO being employed by the Patent Office. That gave the assignee all rights to the invention, free to do whatever they want with it. In your case however, you CURRENTLY work for the patent office, which applies under 35 USC 4 as making you INCAPABLE of applying for the patent. In the case of American Cyanamid, the Patent Office refused to assign a filing date to the application, and that was overturned. In your case the Patent Office would refuse to assign a filing date, but that would not be overturned because you currently work for the patent office, and, as I mentioned, have access to confidential information which gives you an unfair advantage (and would certainly look bad for the government).

  15. 92

    Perceptions often have nothing to do with the reality nor was I implying you were stealing ideas. I’m sure your invention is perfectly legitimate except for the fact that you’re an examiner and can’t patent it.

    You waived your fundamental constitutional rights, 6, when you signed the PTO’s onerous employee agreement. Maybe your due process were violated somehow? America will not sleep well tonight.

  16. 91

    Well agree the idea of the evil examiner stealing the idea is ridiculous but it’s one some inventors do voice. However, corporations would not want the added competition from someone who they don’t have the 18 month head start on.

    Regardless, that law, which prevents examiners from patenting, is a perception based law. It is to prevent the perception of the possibility of examiners being unethical. Just like the rules that govern gifts examiners can receive and the rules that dictate examiners cannot openly display a political opinion. Perceptions often have nothing to do with the reality nor was I implying you were stealing ideas. I’m sure your invention is perfectly legitimate except for the fact that you’re an examiner and can’t patent it.

  17. 90

    “The real concern is if examiners start inventing or at least disclosing their ideas then people will stop wanting to file. Whether it is because a lone inventor fears some “evil examiner” will steal his idea or the big businesses decide it’s not worth the risk of an examiner possibly taking their idea and running with it and inventing around it. Such a case as you have outlined would only serve to reinforce these fears.”

    Well sht son, there’s already practically nothing to stop it from happening.

    And that all assumes that the examiners disclosed ideas involve the applicant’s submitted invention. My invention doesn’t really even involve the current application. Sure, it is similar, but it doesn’t even involve the same materials being used :p.

    Plus 102 f helps stop any evil examiners stealing ideas and 103 stops an examiner from running with an idea and inventing around it in obvious ways and filing on those things. If it is nonobvious then why would the corp be concerned? They can’t think of the idea themselves presumably.

    I think your reasons are a bit contrived sir. Such a lone inventor or corp would already be concerned about this “problem” even under the system you propose where examiners have to wait a year or so to be able to file.

    And even if your reasons are valid, they do not apply to my situation. I didn’t steal their invention. And certainly this app isn’t unpublished. There is plenty of information in the public domain on which to distill inspiration for the instant invention.

    And let’s be clear, keeping someone’s application confidential doesn’t mean that someone else in the office might not read it and invent something different than what was disclosed in the application. And I don’t think that should be a concern to an inventor. I sure know it isn’t of concern to me in my role as inventor. If someone in the office sees my invention and thinks of yet a different invention then that’s cool. It’s kind of petty to say “well if my patented tech is worthless or I can’t get a patent then it is unfair for someone else to patent a different tech that is inspired by my own and profit from it”. In fact, that seems just plain stu pid and even contrary to the language of the constitution.

  18. 89

    Mooney,

    the point is examiner’s doing it and the loss of faith in the office over its ability to keep unpublished applications confidential. It wouldn’t be much of a leap of faith for people to start wondering what unpublished documents the examiner’s are mining for information.

  19. 88

    The real concern is if examiners start inventing or at least disclosing their ideas then people will stop wanting to file

    Doubt it. People file all the time on ideas that have already been disclosed.

  20. 87

    6,

    The real concern is if examiners start inventing or at least disclosing their ideas then people will stop wanting to file. Whether it is because a lone inventor fears some “evil examiner” will steal his idea or the big businesses decide it’s not worth the risk of an examiner possibly taking their idea and running with it and inventing around it. Such a case as you have outlined would only serve to reinforce these fears.

    However, I agree it’s perfectly possible for you to do what you propose, just a shade on the unethical side. But that certaintly doesn’t bother some people.

  21. 86

    “35 USC 4”

    I’m not filing and I’m also not acquiring an interest in any applications or patents. I will be paid prior to any such hypothetical filing.

    “35 USC 102(f)”

    I just teach, and someone else then invents the exact same thing as I have already done in secret. I’m keeping my invention as a trade secret, except my corporation is kind of leaky. I can use leading questions to get them there, I don’t really care how it is done.

    “As the sole inventor, you would presumably be the applicant?”

    Hah, no, whomever wants to file on the invention can be the inventor all they want. I just get paid a small teaching fee. I don’t particularly need my name anywhere near the patent app itself.

    If someone were ungentlemanly and decided to stiff me my teaching fee then I’d probably have some guys break a leg or two somewhere on the continent. No leg in particular, you understand. This is ghetto “inventing”.

    “Meaning you plan to have someone else pretend to be the inventor.”

    Surely not, I teach, they invent.

    Everyone is making a big deal about me not being listed as the inventor when this is standard practice in big corps and nobody bats an eye. It’s true, everyone is against the small time inventor, including pro-patenting people. It seems that some people on here believe patenting, and more specifically the disclosure, is the best thing ever so long as someone outside the office does it instead of someone inside the office teaching. Wouldn’t want someone inside the office advancing the useful arts or anything like that would we now? HEAVENS NO!

    In any event, if it is that big of a problem then I can teach indirectly, never revealing the invention, and lead the other person to invent it on their own.

    “If I’m not mistaken, you are proposing fraud on the Office.”

    That’s fraud upon the office? How so? I wasn’t aware that obtaining a lawfully invalidatable patent was fraud upon the office. People do that all the time.

    Ok, ok, so let’s assume that them patenting exactly what I teach them would be fraud upon the office even though that seems a bit of a stretch. There is no law against my enablingly teaching you how to build a spaceship, for example, that goes faster than the speed of light while running on water. There is also no law against you looking at a published application and incorporating that knowledge and my teachings into an invention relating to a spaceship that goes faster than the speed of light while running on water which has a door. There is also no law against you filing on such an invention, and such a filing would not be fraudulent as you are the sole inventor. Do I have that pretty much correct?

    link to scholar.google.com

    Interesting. However:

    It has been said that law isn’t justice, and in many cases it isn’t, but as far as this Court is concerned the contention of the Patent Office that 35 U.S.C. § 4[1] constitutes a limitation or exception to 35 U.S.C. §§ 116, 118,[2] is not sound with 711 respect to the situation at bar, where the invention had been completed prior to Shust’s employment by the Patent Office and he had no interest therein at that time.

    *The Court does not decide at this time whether Congress intended to apply these sections where the invention was made by an employee of the Patent Office during his employment.*”

    However:

    “Section 4 merely restates the old rule of law that “since 1836, officers and employees of the Patent Office have been disqualified from obtaining any right or interest in a patent issued by the Office, except by inheritance or bequest, during their terms of office.” Federico, Commentary on the New Patent Act, 35 U.S. C.A. at p. 11. As shown by the facts, the Patent Office employee, Nestor Shust, has no legally recognizable right or interest in the joint invention since all right, title and interest in said invention is vested in the America Cyanamid Company. The evils to which that section is directed are not present in this case.”

    That was how I saw it myself. And I certainly wouldn’t call this hoodwinking the office. The statute clearly provides that patent office folks shall not have rights and interests in patents and shall not apply for them. That doesn’t stop office people teaching others stuff that the others can patent. The office people have no right or interest in the application.

    If it turns out such a thing is legal whomever can put me on as an inventor if they want :p

  22. 85

    You know I often come up with ideas while performing my duties here at the office but I’d never try to patent them. However, I have toyed with the idea of merely disclosing all my ideas in a blog or some such other public forum which is adequately time stamped for citation purposes. The one snag would be distinguishing between things I invented (namely in my head) and those that I might have picked up from the art, particularly the unpublished things. But it’s a very rare day I see an unpublished case so that’s not too much of a problem. Sure you’d never make a dime off it but maybe that’s not everyone’s concern.

  23. 83

    “It has been said that law isn’t justice, and in many cases it isn’t, but as far as this Court is concerned the contention of the Patent Office that 35 U.S.C. 4 1 constitutes a limitation or exception to 35 U.S.C. 116, 118, 2 is not sound with respect to the situation at bar where the invention had been completed prior to Shust’s employment by the Patent Office and he had no interest therein at that time.”

    Still, it is slightly different than what 6 is proposing.

  24. 82

    Where’s all the pro-patent people to support me? Hmmm? Doesn’t anyone want to advance the useful arts?

    They’re too caught up in the other thread trying to defend America from our mortal enemies, the Chinese.

  25. 81

    Hmmm, interesting. You’re one smart cookie. I wonder if that application ever matured into a patent?

  26. 80

    American Cyanamid v. Ladd (225 F.Supp 709, 140 USPQ 364 (D.D.C. 1964)) seems to indicate that it’s actually kosher to do that.

  27. 79

    “Can the patent issue in that circumstance if the assignee submits a petition under rule 47, 35 USC 4 notwithstanding?”

    Sure, it is possible to hoodwink the office. But that thing which some people allege does not exist, called “the spirit of the Law,” would put a real snag in the validity of the patent.

  28. 78

    What happens if 6 assigns all rights in the invention to someone else and then refuses to sign the declaration? Can the patent issue in that circumstance if the assignee submits a petition under rule 47, 35 USC 4 notwithstanding?

  29. 77

    Meaning you plan to have someone else pretend to be the inventor. Only the inventor can apply for the patent. Failure to correctly identify the inventor is grounds for invalidating the patent.

    This has not been legal advice.

  30. 76

    ******And so long as I don’t file on it, is there some kind of law against someone else under my instruction filing so long as I don’t divulge information about a hypothetical unpublished app?******

    If I’m not mistaken, you are proposing fraud on the Office.

  31. 75

    And so long as I don’t file on it, is there some kind of law against someone else under my instruction filing so long as I don’t divulge information about a hypothetical unpublished app? I’m not aware of any such law, but you can feel free to tell me all about it.

    Well, there’s 35 USC 4:

    “Officers and employees of the Patent and Trademark Office shall be incapable […] of applying for a patent […]”

    As the sole inventor, you would presumably be the applicant?

  32. 74

    “And so long as I don’t file on it, is there some kind of law against someone else under my instruction filing so long as I don’t divulge information about a hypothetical unpublished app? I’m not aware of any such law, but you can feel free to tell me all about it.”

    35 USC 4, 35 USC 102(f)

    “I’m rather proud to have invented it.”

    Indeed, it is a positive feeling.

  33. 73

    “6, the reason as an examiner you can not file for a patent is because you have access to unpublished US patent applications. You could tweak what is disclosed in those confidential applications, and say you invented something new. You would have an unfair advantage. ”

    First of all, so what? An invention is an invention. And so long as I don’t file on it, is there some kind of law against someone else under my instruction filing so long as I don’t divulge information about a hypothetical unpublished app? I’m not aware of any such law, but you can feel free to tell me all about it.

    Second, that’s not applicable in the instant case. The application from which my inventive subject matter was inspired is certainly published, and was before I even picked it up. I had no unfair advantage other than my inventiveness. Besides, one may be inspired by numerous other publications in the field on practically the same subject matter as the current application. There is hardly anything special about the current applicatin which inspired my invention. My invention is certainly novel and is way more non-obvious than the current inspirational application.

    Furthermore, even if you are right, it wouldn’t be an issue, nor would anyone ever figure that out in this context.

    Where’s all the pro-patent people to support me? Hmmm? Doesn’t anyone want to advance the useful arts? I just jumped 5 years into the future and nobody even fin gives two shts on a patent blog where there are allegedly pro-patenting folks. Pro-patenting folks whom are presumed to be greedy and would know how to monetize this easily. This is a killer disclosure, tweak though it may be, it is novel and non-obvious under our lawls. That’s what you guys get off on every night right? It’s even quite instructive to those of ordinary skill and I’m rather proud to have invented it.

  34. 72

    Huh?

    Sorry, here it is in all one-syllable words.

    “It lets you make a guy not do a thing. In court.”

  35. 71

    “See, that’s a much better example. Even so, in practice it’s essentially a rule of evidence, and a negative right to stop the prosecution from introducing improperly obtained evidence in a criminal proceeding.

    You don’t have a cause of action if the police somehow force you to talk, do you? Disregarding, of course, the fact that pretty much everyone waives this right.”

    Huh?

  36. 70

    You have the right to remain silent.

    See, that’s a much better example. Even so, in practice it’s essentially a rule of evidence, and a negative right to stop the prosecution from introducing improperly obtained evidence in a criminal proceeding.

    You don’t have a cause of action if the police somehow force you to talk, do you? Disregarding, of course, the fact that pretty much everyone waives this right.

  37. 69

    6, the reason as an examiner you can not file for a patent is because you have access to unpublished US patent applications. You could tweak what is disclosed in those confidential applications, and say you invented something new. You would have an unfair advantage.

  38. 67

    “6, assuming that your description of the “facts” is accurate, why in the world would it not be legitimate for a non-examiner to go throught that thought process and file that patent application? Yes, it would be better if he/she were also active on the commercial side to try to bring the invention to commercial reality, but your comments and usual snide demeanor suggest that failing to do so on the commercial side should disqualify him from a patent on the legal side.
    Why do you think that might be the law?
    Why do you think it is good public policy?”

    It would be legitimate for someone to go through that thought process and file that application. However, I will guide you to the invention for a small proceed which you can determine if you feel as if I made a contribution which you would like to pursue.

    I don’t think that practicing the invention is very realistic to your everyday joe. Special equipment costing at least tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars would be required at a minimum. That’s if you got old old old used equipment. Besides the invention is only useful when combined with many other “inventions”, like a small part in a cell phone is only useful when used in a cell phone.

    I don’t think they’d be disqualified for being an NPE. Trolling is perfectly legal. I don’t know why you believe I might think the law might be different. It might be good public policy to prevent me and my cohort from extorting money from a huge industry because I can replace a few letters in a current patent application and be in an excellent position to do so.

    Trust me broj, this is better than your small gadget that you can sell in a magazine. You might want to get in on this.

  39. 66

    copyright.

    Now go and take a primer course in IP and see why copyright is considered a positive right and patents are considered a negative right (try to remember to stay in context).

    The right to stop other people from reproducing or performing your work?

    I hope your office action responses usually provide more exposition than a single word, because I don’t find your argument persuasive.

    This action is [ ] non-final [X] FINAL.

  40. 65

    IANAE (which should be renamed INANE):

    copyright.

    Now go and take a primer course in IP and see why copyright is considered a positive right and patents are considered a negative right (try to remember to stay in context).

    Bonus: Come up with the best meaning to the acronym INANE.

    Class dismissed.

  41. 64

    “Einstein was just a file clerk. He would glance at the title and decide which category to put the application in so it could be examined by someone else. It left him plenty of time to constructively reduce to practice the ideas of his college professor, the one who drummed him out of acedemia, while taking naps every two hours.”

    To be fair to the professor Einstein was admittedly an arse in his younger days.

    Oh and broje, don’t kid yourself, he read a lot of the patents that went through, at least according to the history I’ve read. Remember, back then that really was as near to the cutting edge of tech that you could get. And they were written with conveying something inventive in mind rather than the nonsense we have all too often now.

    If he could have had a job as an examiner he probably would have jumped at it.

    He would have said “it’s all obvious” and still had plenty of free time tho :)

  42. 63

    pretty much an ignorant statement.

    Thanks. I feel kind of educated now. Guess I’ll wait for Signal above Law to back up that statement with an example of a positive right.

  43. 62

    ********Really smart and creative dudes don’t examine other folks patents for a living (Eistein was one notable exception)******

    Einstein was just a file clerk. He would glance at the title and decide which category to put the application in so it could be examined by someone else. It left him plenty of time to constructively reduce to practice the ideas of his college professor, the one who drummed him out of acedemia, while taking naps every two hours.

  44. 60

    Folks, 6 does not understand simple fact that patent is a NEGATIVE right

    Yeah, he really showed his lack of understanding when he said this:

    “This is subject matter that will block an entire industry in a few years.”

    Of course patents are negative rights. Pretty much all rights are negative rights.

  45. 59

    Folks, 6 does not understand simple fact that patent is a NEGATIVE right

    Not the right to make something but the right to exclude others from making, selling etc.

    Unless this is changed (it can’t be changed BTW, not in high-tech at least) we will always have industry-blocking patents and nasty patent litigations

  46. 58

    Folks, 6 is being facetious.

    6, assuming that your description of the “facts” is accurate, why in the world would it not be legitimate for a non-examiner to go throught that thought process and file that patent application? Yes, it would be better if he/she were also active on the commercial side to try to bring the invention to commercial reality, but your comments and usual snide demeanor suggest that failing to do so on the commercial side should disqualify him from a patent on the legal side.
    Why do you think that might be the law?
    Why do you think it is good public policy?

  47. 57

    What actually is the penalty for an employee of the USPTO (or a former employee within the 1-year bar) filing a patent application with the USPTO?

    Presumably the penalty is that they “shall be incapable” of so doing. I’m thinking invalidity/unenforceability of any PTO filing or contractual obligation that runs afoul of the statute.

    What’s the penalty for you filing an application naming 6 as the sole inventor? Naming yourself as the sole inventor?

  48. 56

    Purported PTO manager: “I’m watching you.”

    What actually is the penalty for an employee of the USPTO (or a former employee within the 1-year bar) filing a patent application with the USPTO? Even the MPEP is silent on this, merely requoting the statute in MPEP 309.

  49. 55

    As much as I do enjoy the “let’s gang up on Jules” game, I actually have some work to do. Playtime comes later.

  50. 54

    You know, 6, sometimes I enjoy reading office actions for other folk’s patent apps (I only had one for my own app – a partial allowance, and it cost me 3K to bring my attorney down to Wash DC to clear poor sob’s brains)

    it is funny – in many cases it looks like poor sob examined a completely different patent app
    In my case i’m sure he did not understand 95% of the specification until I gave him a tutorial at the interview

    Don’t try to fool us
    Really smart and creative dudes don’t examine other folks patents for a living (Eistein was one notable exception)

  51. 53

    Jules,

    Not to smack you with the broad side of the sword, but would you say that your attempt at humor was foiled? (I did enjoy it).

    Anyone else find humor in Sarah posting that someone never makes any sense? That was like Malcolm accusing others of being a Troll.

  52. 52

    “The only possible thing that could prevent this is an unpublished app …”

    … and the fact that you’re prohibited by law from filing an application.

    I’m watching you.

  53. 51

    “(Yes, 6, inventing IS work, a hard 24/7 work of your mind, even when you are not tinkering with something)”

    I just inventedlol something that is dam near assured to make someone a lot of money. And it was no harder than reading a specification on my docket and using my brain. No tinkering required. This is not some small town home workshop nonsense dealing with a little gadget to use around the house or whatever. This is subject matter that will block an entire industry in a few years.

    Seriously. I know, nearly for a fact, that it would be patentable since I myself would allow it, and anyone in the AU would do the same. I know for a fact that it is enabled. I have looked over literally a sht ton of art. Furthermore, I and my associates know this area. Even if there is art out there somewhere that could 103 it, the liklihood of finding it is so remote that you’d sooner get struck by lightning inside a solid metal spherical enclosure. And I can absolutely assure you there is nothing close to a 102b.

    The only possible thing that could prevent this is an unpublished app that is currently pending that I haven’t seen or perhaps a very very very recently published journal article. That is unlikely in the extreme. Gazillion to one chance. A Google to one chance that the specific manners of implementing the invention would have an unpub application covering them right now or a recently published journal article about it.

    My application would likely cost about 10k to have someone of the highest quality do all the legwork for, but you could get a cutrate shop to do most of it probably. I could do most of the drafting myself. Heck most of the drafting would be nothing more than copy/paste. It would be a first action allowance and would be as broad as the invention is, and that will be plenty, no “meat left laying on the table”. The application could get split up into species if one wants to spend additional dollars trolling to cover more species. Fine with me. One could probably get all the claims brought back in after the genus claim is allowed. Either way, it is still going to be a huge payout. One of these species is nearly assured to be the direction of the industry. Not to worry, it is likely we could get numerous genus claims on the first action as well.

  54. 49

    Allow me to clarify. That was a metaphor for a fencing match combined with a comical image of the possibility that my swiped miss did in fact hit what was holding up your trousers, and on top of that combined with a reference to popular media hit Pants on the Ground. Make sense?

  55. 47

    *******No, that invention is lame compared to this one. At least in terms of the amount of money one will make when the industry shifts to this material. ******

    soylent green is people

  56. 46

    “If that was a swipe at me you missed.”

    Touche. Expect your pants to hit the ground any second now.

  57. 45

    “Probably the most shocking thing I see in the numbers above is that 70-90% of the people who got a license apparently didn’t get enough royalties to cover the cost of a cut-rate patent application.”

    “the cost of a cut-rate patent application.” ???

    What are you talking about ?

    At 20K it’s peanuts compared to several years of work to come up with patentable invention (Yes, 6, inventing IS work, a hard 24/7 work of your mind, even when you are not tinkering with something)

    Even at my lowly engineer’s hourly rate it translates to hundreds of thousands of dollars I did not make

  58. 44

    The fraction of “worthy” patents increases greatly with the size of the patent holder – regardless of patent merits

    While that might have some truth to it, I’d say it’s far more significant that large companies:
    – have their applications drafted by more qualified agents
    – are more familiar with the prior art when they draft their applications
    – file such volume that one or two are bound to have some value
    – know the market for their products
    – know whom to approach for licenses

    Also, even if only a tiny percentage of patents turn a profit, that might be reasonable if the profit is sufficiently large compared to the cost of the losers. Take pharmaceutical patents, for example. Definitely a business model there.

    Probably the most shocking thing I see in the numbers above is that 70-90% of the people who got a license apparently didn’t get enough royalties to cover the cost of a cut-rate patent application.

  59. 43

    No, that invention is lame compared to this one. At least in terms of the amount of money one will make when the industry shifts to this material.

    Trust me.

    I have my serious face on.

  60. 41

    BTW, if anyone wants to make a few million let me know. I have come up with an “invention”, i.e. a bunch of claims, that is obvious as sht to one of ordinary skill in the patent drafting arts and yet unobvious as sht to the person of ordinary skill in the art to which it belongs. Not only that, but the industry is almost assured to move towards this invention in about 5-10 years. Contact me for more information.

    Trust me, nobody has even come close to teaching this invention. There is not a hint of suggestion for the invention in the art.

    P.S. I’m not lying.

    P. P. S. You will need at least a basic background in materials to really make this patent trolling shine.

    P. P. P. S. I’m really not lying. For serious.

  61. 40

    to counter fatalist’s view, long live the King Killer – the so-called trolls

  62. 38

    Re:
    “An interesting question — Dennis, are there any hard numbers on this? More generally, what fraction of patents are worth more than they cost to procure and maintain?”

    The fraction of “worthy” patents increases greatly with the size of the patent holder – regardless of patent merits

    e.g. same patent is worth much more when it’s owned by IBM as opposed to being owned by a garage inventor

    Patents are a sport of kings after all
    Little guys are not to bother…

  63. 37

    Of course if MM dyed his brown hair black, he would look a lot like the patent troll. I think this explains the problems we have been having on this board recently.

  64. 35

    “Oh and 6, I don’t find your position on that video in any way persuasive. I thought the video was very well done.”

    Sorry for you then :(

    I agree though that the vid was well done. The graphics were a tad cheesy at times, but very nice overall.

  65. 34

    And I was beginning to think I was surrounded by people who make sense, and have at least a minimal understanding of basic things. Silly me.

    Oh and 6, I don’t find your position on that video in any way persuasive. I thought the video was very well done.

  66. 32

    Of course, if 6 were 9, and if 6 used words correctly, then everything he said would be correct.

    No matter what MM says or does he will always be a baboon.

  67. 31

    Off topic, and I missed a post here about it, but the second Patent Troll Tracker defamation lawsuit settled earlier this month.

  68. 30

    that patent troll vid relies on mis-defining words a lot :(

    Other than that, it’d be a ok.

    Problem is, if you correctly define words, all the “myths” become “reality” and the opposite of all his points are true :(

  69. 27

    Dear TheTwoBobs,

    Re:
    “An interesting question — Dennis, are there any hard numbers on this? More generally, what fraction of patents are worth more than they cost to procure and maintain?”

    What ever the number is, it has been taking a nose dive in the recent several years due to Festo, eBay, KSR etc.

  70. 26

    Dear Noise above Law,

    Re:
    “Still, “streams” has a point – everyone posts at their own peril.”

    You got that right — subpoenas are always possible if litigation breaks out,
    and we all know the IP industry is fraught with litigation, including slander.

  71. 25

    Caesar asks: “what percentage of clients of IP law firms receive more money than they pay for patent procurement services?”

    An interesting question — Dennis, are there any hard numbers on this? More generally, what fraction of patents are worth more than they cost to procure and maintain?

  72. 24

    7 said:
    “Amen. Ever seen the applications they draft? I had a walk in come to me with an office action and the application an invention submission company drafted. My god. It was one page, contained virtually no disclosure, and had ONE (ridiculously overbroad) claim.”

    Yeah, whatever application you’re looking at, it was written by a USPTO-registered hack who is getting paid a fixed fee. These companies probably couldn’t stay afloat without the cooperation of unethical registered agents and attorneys.

    Send the 1-page application to Harvey if you think it’s below the ethical standards we are obligated to uphold. In fact, I would question whether you don’t have an ethical obligation to out this guy/gal.

    I’m not disagreeing with your position. I have only had 1 client come to me after being scammed by one of these submission companies, but, whew!, was it disgusting what they did to the guy.

    They can run the “submission” part of these scams without patent practitioner involvement, but they can’t run the “we’ll draft and file your application for $1000” part without unethical practitioner collusion.

  73. 22

    caesar,

    My question to Dennis runs along your comment – their is no room for fraudulent practices before the PTO or with potential inventors.

    HOWEVER – you might note that ISC does NOT operate before the PTO, and is outside of their tiny-armed grasp. That’s why I wondered about the Law that does affect such types of companies – those that want a piece of the action, yet operate so that they are outside the purview of the Office and the Ethical Rules.

    Gene MUST operate inside the Office ethical rules. The same cannot be said of ISC.

  74. 21

    No peril here. Self aggrandazement? Yah that’s it.At least hopeful in his quest. If someone says they are going to post your comment but not your name, and they are a Lawyer, should you believe them? Or should you on the other hand not believe them because they are a Lawyer. I ponder!

  75. 20

    Friends, Romans, Countrymen:

    I come to bury ISC, not to praise it.

    But seriously, my point above wasn’t to defend (or condemn) ISC’s practices. I have no personal knowledge about the company. My only point was that a 1 in 300 chance of making money is not necessarily bad, as DDC concedes.

    Nevertheless, if ISC is not truthful in its business, that’s another story. There’s no room for fraudulent practices before the PTO or with potential inventors.

  76. 19

    If you don’t want your name Posted on Patently-O, use a pseudonym when commenting. You can also use a fake e-mail address and a fake website.

    To be clear, your name will be posted with your comment. Your e-mail address will not be posted. Your website address (if included) will be used as a hyperlink on the comment.

  77. 18

    Dennis,

    Is the fact that Gene is licensed by the USPTO any factor in what has to be reported (since the law was passed in part to combat those that the Office does not have oversight control over)?

    I think Caesar asks a provocative question, but I am not sure it is a legally pertinent one.

    JAOI,

    Nice point – Gene has a similar line posted: “Mail (will not be published) (required)”

    But notwithstanding the Confidentiality Pledge on IPWatchdog (which is not geared to the blog section), you might read Gene’s Privacy Policy, as this covers his disclosure. Thus, I have less of a problem with the publication transgression given the email address being so personally attacking Gene and the message so disgruntled, that knowing the background of the message paints a clear view, rather than the transgression somehow painting an incorrect view.

    Still, “streams” has a point – everyone posts at their own peril.

  78. 16

    Ths scam part it the sales pitch, where the so-called market studies and accompanying oral statements make the inventor feel like making money is a near-sure-thing, when in fact the odds are 1 in 300 or worse.

    The people they take advantage of are naive: I heard of one who said “1 in 10000 makes more money than they spend. Is that bad?”

  79. 15

    Caesar Said: You seem to assume that ISC is in the wrong because fewer than 1 out of 300 InventHelp clients “received more money than they paid [to InventHelp] for these [invention promotion] services.”

    DDC Response: I agree with you that this information does not necessarily lead to a conclusion that ISC is in the wrong or that ISC is a scam.

  80. 14

    Dear the streams are crossed:

    Re:
    As to what he does with comments coming into his site, I think we both can agree that he has every right to do as he sees fit. It is his sight after all. Sure, I wouldn’t be too happy with a disclosure, but that’s a risk I take. I (nor you nor anyone) HAS to post after all.”

    Not so; Patently-O says:

    “(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)”

  81. 13

    Dear caesar,

    IP law firms produce an honest product for their fees.

    The scam promotion firms are con-men — they prey on the naive.

  82. 12

    Dr. Venkman,

    Your characterization is false and just as myopic as you claim for Mr. Quinn.

    If you actualy read the thread you would see that the “outed” information had to do with people posting with hidden agendas. Mr. Quinn was merely making sure that his readership was aware of that.

    As to what he does with comments coming into his site, I think we both can agree that he has every right to do as he sees fit. It is his sight after all. Sure, I wouldn’t be too happy with a disclosure, but that’s a risk I take. I (nor you nor anyone) HAS to post after all.

  83. 9

    “Invention Submission Companies are scams. I think we all know that.”

    Amen. Ever seen the applications they draft? I had a walk in come to me with an office action and the application an invention submission company drafted. My god. It was one page, contained virtually no disclosure, and had ONE (ridiculously overbroad) claim.

  84. 7

    @ceaser: InventHelp is actively seeking small, solo inventors. I don’t see IBM or GSK seeking RFPs on patent prosecution work from them. With this in mind, let’s now consider InventHelp’s business model. If you can’t see what goes on there, then why don’t you attend one of my Get Rich Quick Real Estate Seminars for a low introductory price of $500?

  85. 6

    The best part about his blog is that if anyone posts anything that slightly varies from his myopic view of the world, he finds their IP address and outs their location.

  86. 4

    DC,

    You seem to assume that ISC is in the wrong because fewer than 1 out of 300 InventHelp clients “received more money than they paid [to InventHelp] for these [invention promotion] services.”

    Perhaps it is; perhaps it isn’t. For example, what percentage of clients of IP law firms receive more money than they pay for patent procurement services? I don’t know that answer, but it’s unfair to assume the ISC’s rate is necessarily too law without comparing to what other clients get from IP law firms.

    Gene Quinn may be in trouble.

  87. 3

    I am taking this opportunity to broadcast (Tweet/Facebook) this lawsuit far and wide to make this into the PR nightmare that Invention Submission Corporation / InventHelp never intended. You should, too!

  88. 2

    and his wife? that seems like a bit much. and from 2006-2008 0.37% recieved more money than they paid… do I have that correct?

Comments are closed.