Thu, Mar 27th 2014 4:01pm
from the no-kidding dept
In the ongoing maelstrom known as the controversy surrounding the Washington Redskins NFL team name, we've covered before how the trademark they've obtained may soon be under siege. Trademark law has a provision that prohibits marks on disparaging and/or racist terminology, of which the term "redskin" is most assuredly included. This provision is a huge pain in the ass of Daniel Snyder, owner of the Redskins, who, on one hand, insists the team retain their racist name while on the other hand throws around accusations of antisemetism willy-nilly. Building on that worry is the recent case of the USPTO coming out and rejecting another trademark attempt on the word "Redskin" for those very reasons.
Well, unfortunately for Snyder, that case isn't a lone example. The USPTO has rejected another such trademark, this for "Washington Redskins Potatoes", in part of the same reason.
"Registration is refused because the applied-for mark includes matter which may disparage or bring into contempt or disrepute persons, institutions, beliefs, or national symbols," the decision, handed down on March 17, says. It concludes: "Given that "REDSKIN" in the mark is a derogatory slang term that refers to, and is considered offensive by, American Indians, registration of the applied-for mark must be refused" under the Trademark Act, a 1946 law that prohibits the trademarking of offensive or derogatory terms. The examining attorney's decision cites dictionary definitions of the word "Redskins" that say it is "usually offensive" or "offensive slang," and it also notes that groups like the National Congress of American Indians and the Oneida Indian Nation regard the word as a disparaging slur.Now, I know all you staunch libertarians out there are going to get your boxers in a twist over this, issuing all the same proclamations about how it isn't your responsibility to not offend people, how this is an infringement of speech, or how this is a sign of our increasingly politically correct society. Look, I get you. A large portion of the time on this type of question, I agree with you. But in this case, the law is pretty clear, as is the accepted definition of the term "redskin." And if the NFL team's mark was removed, it wouldn't mean Snyder had to change the name of the team, it would just mean that anyone else, were they so inclined, would be able to use the term in football commerce at that point (although, not the logo, or other trademarked identifiers for the team). The point, as it has been since day one, is that the United States government should not be in the business of sanctifying racist language via grants of trademarks.
It should be noted that the offensiveness of the term was only partly to blame for the denial of the mark. The USPTO also thought there might be some confusion between the team's existing mark and the potatoes (which might not be entirely crazy given the combination of both "washington" and "redskin" for the potato).
Meanwhile, the appeal on the NFL Redskins mark has been heard, and we're all just awaiting their ruling. If the USPTO is anything to go by, Snyder may want to look for a new name -- or at least recognize that the name won't be trademarked any more.
by Mike Masnick
Thu, Mar 27th 2014 7:31am
from the not-this-again dept
Through earning the patch girls learn about the importance of the intellectual property system to their lives and to local and national economies. “As STEM fields become increasingly popular, it is important that we teach young people about the incentives and protections available to them through the patent system. IPO Education Foundation is excited about the opportunity to work with the GSCNC and the USPTO to bring the patent system to girls through the IP patch," said IPOEF Executive Director Herb Wamsley.Yes, so you have this biased, one-sided organization, whose entire mission statement is to push bogus propaganda, exaggerating the importance of "intellectual property" and intellectual property maximalism, and the Girl Scouts just say "no problem" without thinking that the organization run by corporate lobbyists might be just a little bit misleading? Even worse, is the idea that IP is somehow tied to "STEM" fields. Considering that many in all of those fields believe that intellectual property laws have been stifling efforts towards innovation and education, to pretend that the two are aligned is ridiculous.
Even more ridiculous? The US government is now endorsing this sham propaganda campaign.
This morning a group of Girl Scouts in Washington, DC will be the first to receive the IP patch. The patch curriculum was developed jointly by IPO Education Foundation (IPOEF), U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), and Girl Scout Counsel of the Nation’s Capital (GSCNC). Patches will be presented by U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker and USPTO Deputy Director Michelle Lee at a ceremony at the Langdon Education CampusIn trying to think of an equivalent, I wondered if the Girl Scouts would offer an "energy conservation" badge designed by an oil company... and then discovered that, well, yes, they do. Apparently, if you have a powerful enough industry, you can push propaganda on kids in the form of "merit badges." Incredible.
by Glyn Moody
Wed, Feb 19th 2014 11:00am
from the I-don't-even dept
Here on Techdirt, we're pretty inured to the excesses of the patent system. But just when you think you've seen everything and plumbed the deepest depths of ridiculousness, along comes something like this:
Korean researcher Hwang Woo-suk electrified the science world 10 years ago with his claim that he had created the world's first cloned human embryos and had extracted stem cells from them. But the work was later found to be fraudulent, and Dr. Hwang was fired from his university and convicted of crimes.
But it would be too easy to mock the USPTO for explaining that:
Despite all that, Dr. Hwang has just been awarded an American patent covering the disputed work, leaving some scientists dumbfounded and providing fodder to critics who say the Patent Office is too lax.
the system operates on an honor code and that patent examiners cannot independently verify claims.
Instead, I'd like to draw attention to this revealing comment from Kevin E. Noonan, a biotechnology patent lawyer, as quoted in the New York Times story:
"If it's bad, it's not going to be worth very much," Mr. Noonan said. "Who is going to sue on this patent?"
The answer, of course, is many people would -- specifically, patent trolls, who have no problems taking a worthless patent and using the mere threat of litigation to squeeze money out of companies just to get them to go away. That, and patents being granted on discredited ideas, as here, are just some of the many problems that the USPTO needs urgently to address.
Mon, Jan 13th 2014 4:05pm
from the paging-Dan-Snyder dept
And now, amazingly, we appear to have our answer. And that answer is that you of course can't trademark the term "Redskins" because it's derogatory.
Late last month, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office denied an application to register a trademark for "Redskins Hog Rinds," a product wholly unrelated to the Washington football team. The USPTO's reasoning for refusing the trademark is simple: It's offensive. From the USPTO decision:
"Registration is refused because the applied-for mark REDSKINS HOG RINDS consists of or includes matter which may disparage or bring into contempt or disrepute persons, institutions, beliefs, or national symbols."As Deadspin notes, this is unrelated to the Washington team, which already has their mark and does not have to go through this same review process, but the point appears to be clear: the USPTO says you can't trademark "Redskins" because of the nature of the word. The timing of this is likely worrisome to Dan Snyder, owner of the Redskins, given that there is a lawsuit brought by a group of Native Americans sitting before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, who is sure to point to this application denial as evidence in their claim. Losing the mark wouldn't infringe on Snyder's speech by preventing him from using the word for his team and merchandise. It would simply allow everyone who wanted to use an openly racist term on merchandise to do so, which would almost certainly lead to Snyder changing the name of the team to something less horrific.
by Mike Masnick
Thu, Jun 13th 2013 3:04am
from the it's-not-quite-that-weak dept
I'd argue that Mims is seeing symptoms of the broken patent system, and suggesting that they are the problems, and I think he underestimates how some of the proposals may fix the "problems" he sees. First, on the question of an understaffed patent office, that's clearly a symptom, not the cause. The real problem is that the patent office has been issuing a ton of ridiculous patents: patents that are broad and covering obvious things. Furthermore, the courts have been awarding huge sums in litigation on those patents. The end result: more people applying for more patents, hoping to get their own lottery ticket. If you take away the broad patents and you make it easier to invalidate bad patents that already exist, combined with potential fees for suing over bad patents, you diminish (greatly) the value of the lottery ticket. End result? Fewer patent applications, less backlog, and no need to focus on hiring. The whole "patent office is understaffed!" claim is a red herring. It's the result of a patent system that has been encouraging a growth in patents, rather than a growth in innovation.
As for the software patent issue, I know that lots of people are sympathetic to this claim, but as we've argued for years, it's not that easy. If you outlaw "software patents," patent lawyers will rewrite those patents to look like they're not "software patents." And that's because there is no real definition of "software patents." Mims dismisses the stuff about rejecting functional claiming by saying that it's just some vague notion of stopping "broad" claims. But that's not true. He should read Mark Lemley's paper on functional claims. If the USPTO was properly recognizing and rejecting functional claims, it would have the impact of basically getting rid of many of the worst kinds of software patents, because they're really about functional claims. That's the real problem with most software patents. Get rid of functional claims and much of the "software patents" problem is dealt with.
Furthermore, it also has the benefit of stopping similar problems in hardware patents. Because while there's been a lot of focus on software patents, there's been a growing problem on the hardware side as well, and it's only going to get worse as we enter a new era of hardware startups and disruption. And, of course, getting rid of functional claims also, means fewer bogus patent applications as the lottery ticket aspect dies down as well... and, once again, that solves the "problem" of not enough patent examiners.
So, no, the proposals from the White House aren't perfect and don't solve everything. But, I wouldn't dismiss the suggestions out of hand either. If the USPTO actually did its job and rejected functional claims, the potential impact could be huge.
by Mike Masnick
Tue, Jun 4th 2013 3:00am
from the well-that's-nice dept
And now, it's been reported that President Obama is going to come out strongly against patent trolling, directing the USPTO and others to fix certain issues, while also asking Congress to pass further laws to deal with patent trolling. The President will flat out note that patent trolls represent a "drain on the American economy." The announcement will directly say that "patent trolls" (yes, they use the phrase) are a problem, while also talking about the problem of patent thickets like the infamous "smartphone wars."
The plan is scheduled to be released later today, but we've got a preview of the specific plan, and let's take a look at each of the suggestions quickly. I'm sure we'll be discussing the concepts in much more detail for the near future. The plan is split into two different parts: legislative actions (i.e., asking Congress to do something) and executive actions (i.e., ordering administration agencies/departments to do things). Let's start with the executive actions, since those are likely to have the more immediate impact.
Making “Real Party-in-Interest” the New Default. Patent trolls often set up shell companies to hide their activities and enable their abusive litigation and extraction of settlements. This tactic prevents those facing litigation from knowing the full extent of the patents that their adversaries hold when negotiating settlements, or even knowing connections between multiple trolls. The PTO will begin a rulemaking process to require patent applicants and owners to regularly update ownership information when they are involved in proceedings before the PTO, specifically designating the “ultimate parent entity” in control of the patent or application.We were just discussing this issue because of the This American Life episode where Intellectual Ventures was able to hide behind a shell, something it's been accused of doing many, many times. This is also one of the proposals we've seen in Congress. The details here will matter, and note that, with this, it will only apply to patents that are involved in proceedings before the PTO. It's a step in the right direction, but clearly could go much further -- though, much of that needs to be done legislatively (see below). Also, the definition of "in control of" may need to be specific here. In the TAL story, IV got 90% of the profits but argued that it had no actual control over the patent.
Tightening Functional Claiming. The AIA made important improvements to the examination process and overall patent quality, but stakeholders remain concerned about patents with overly broad claims — particularly in the context of software. The PTO will provide new targeted training to its examiners on scrutiny of functional claims and will, over 3 the next six months develop strategies to improve claim clarity, such as by use of glossaries in patent specifications to assist examiners in the software field.This is a big one, and everyone, if you get a chance, go thank Mark Lemley for campaigning strongly on this point over the last year. Lemley has been pointing out for quite some time that the broadness of software patents almost certainly violates the 1952 Patent Act's prohibition on so-called "functional claiming." In short, these are claims to a general function, rather than a specific solution. So... claiming a patent on "podcasting" rather than a very specific way of doing podcasting. Telling the USPTO to retrain examiners to recognize functional claims as ineligible for patent protection could be very helpful in knocking out a lot of bad patents in the future.
Empowering Downstream Users. Patent trolls are increasingly targeting Main Street retailers, consumers and other end-users of products containing patented technology — for instance, for using point-of-sale software or a particular business method. End-users should not be subject to lawsuits for simply using a product as intended, and need an easier way to know their rights before entering into costly litigation or settlement. The PTO will publish new education and outreach materials, including an accessible, plain-English web site offering answers to common questions by those facing demands from a possible troll.This is an increasing problem, which we've discussed a bunch of times, with the various patent lawsuits against podcasters, cafes offering WiFi and networked scanners. Of course, providing them "education and outreach materials" seems like a weak response, but that may be all that's possible at the exec level on that front. The legislative side (which we'll get to) tries to tackle this problem more broadly.
Expanding Dedicated Outreach and Study. Challenges to U.S. innovation using tools available in the patent space are particularly dynamic, and require both dedicated attention and meaningful data. Engagement with stakeholders — including patent holders, research institutions, consumer advocates, public interest groups, and the general public — is also an important part of our work moving forward. Roundtables and workshops that the PTO, DOJ, and FTC have held in 2012 have offered invaluable input to this process. We are announcing an expansion of our outreach efforts, including six months of high-profile events across the country to develop new ideas and consensus around updates to patent policies and laws. We are also announcing an expansion of the PTO Edison Scholars Program, which will bring distinguished academic experts to the PTO to develop — and make available to the public — more robust data and research on the issues bearing on abusive litigationYes, more outreach is important. While some may brush this off as meaningless, those who don't spend any time around actual innovators facing regular patent shakedowns really just don't realize how big a problem this is.
Strengthen Enforcement Process of Exclusion Orders. Once the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) finds a violation of Section 337 and issues an exclusion order barring the importation of infringing goods, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the ITC are responsible for determining whether imported articles fall within the scope of the exclusion order. Implementing these orders present unique challenges given these shared responsibilities and the complexity of making this determination, particularly in cases in which a technologically sophisticated product such as a smartphone has been successfully redesigned to not fall within the scope of the exclusion order. To address this concern, the U.S. Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator will launch an interagency review of existing procedures that CBP and the ITC use to evaluate the scope of exclusion orders and work to ensure the process and standards utilized during exclusion order enforcement activities are transparent, effective, and efficient.This is a specific issue specifically related to the ITC efforts (more on that in a bit), which would be helpful, but won't move the needle for most patent disputes.
So, the executive actions represent a recognition of the nature of the problem, and have some good ideas on how to deal with it under existing law (the functional claiming bit could be huge), but there are still limitations from the law. And that's where Congress comes in. Here are the President's suggestions:
Require patentees and applicants to disclose the “Real Party-in-Interest,” by requiring any party sending demand letters, filing an infringement suit or seeking PTO review of a 2 patent to file updated ownership information, and enabling the PTO or district courts to impose sanctions for non-compliance.Above, we noted that he's already telling the PTO to require this for issues before the PTO, so this is asking Congress to extend that mandate to cover all the other situations, down to sending a demand letter. Without this, the orders to the PTO above are a lot less helpful, since owners could still hide behind a patent until it went up before the PTO. Having Congress add this component would, hopefully, severely minimize the shell companies and hidden owners issues with patents.
Permit more discretion in awarding fees to prevailing parties in patent cases, providing district courts with more discretion to award attorney’s fees under 35 USC 285 as a sanction for abusive court filings (similar to the legal standard that applies in copyright infringement cases).This is similar to the proposal first floated in Congress last year. Basically, this will allow those who are hit with a bogus patent lawsuit to seek legal fees. The "legal standard" here is a bit too high, as we've seen that it's still quite rare (though not unheard of) to see fees awarded in copyright cases. Still, it could weed out the worst of the worst.
Expand the PTO’s transitional program for covered business method patents to include a broader category of computer-enabled patents and permit a wider range of challengers to petition for review of issued patents before the Patent Trial and Appeals Board (PTAB).This is basically Senator Schumer's bill, and we're all for it. Making it easier and faster to get the USPTO to dump bad patents? Yes, please.
Protect off-the-shelf use by consumers and businesses by providing them with better legal protection against liability for a product being used off-the-shelf and solely for its intended use. Also, stay judicial proceedings against such consumers when an infringement suit has also been brought against a vendor, retailer, or manufacturer.As mentioned above this is a relatively new, but quickly growing issue. Of course, the details here mater quite a bit. Better legal protection against liability sounds great, but the wording and the specifics will matter. Still, this brief description sounds right. Using a WiFi network you bought in a store for exactly what it says it will do shouldn't lead to you facing a patent troll suit. Same with using the "scan to email" function on your office scanner.
Change the ITC standard for obtaining an injunction to better align it with the traditional four-factor test in eBay Inc. v. MercExchange, to enhance consistency in the standards applied at the ITC and district courts.This is important. We've talked for years about the ITC loophole that trolls have been exploiting lately. Basically, this gives patent holders two cracks at anyone they're going after, once in the courts and once at the ITC. Even worse, the ITC is not (currently) bound to follow the rules set out by the Supreme Court. This proposal would try to make the ITC process aligned with what the Supreme Court said in the very important MercExchange ruling. Prior to MercExchange, courts would commonly issue an injunction, barring the production or sale of products found to be infringing. So, say your smartphone was infringing on a single patent for a tiny little bit. The patent holder could cause the entire product to be blocked from sale if you're found to infringe. That's crazy.
Under the MercExchange ruling, the courts were told to take a more reasonable view of things, and to see if other remedies might be less harmful to innovation. Of course, with the ITC, the only power they have is to issue an injunction. That is, they can't require royalty payments or anything like that. So, if they have to follow MercExchange, it could just mean that even if they find a product infringing, they could still decide not to issue an injunction.
Use demand letter transparency to help curb abusive suits, incentivizing public filing of demand letters in a way that makes them accessible and searchable to the public.This is another good one. We've written a few times about the practice of some trolls to try to even keep their demands secret, such that many who receive demand letters don't know that they're one of a group -- and a group that might team up to fight back against bogus threats. Basically, it sounds like this might help lead to a "Chilling Effects" website for troll demands. That sounds quite useful
Ensure the ITC has adequate flexibility in hiring qualified Administrative Law Judges.Further to the ITC point above -- though this seems more specific to just making the ITC feel a little less overwhelmed with all the cases coming its way lately.
All in all, it's a pretty comprehensive proposal with a lot of good ideas -- nearly all of which have been discussed or proposed in Congress already. So there really aren't any "shockers" other than the fact that the White House really seems to be taking this issue seriously, and that should lead to some action in Congress.
That said, get ready for the pushback. Pharmaceutical companies, giant patent trolls like Intellectual Ventures (and some other legacy tech companies who are long past their innovation days) and a gaggle of people claiming vaguely to represent "small inventors" are about to go ballistic over these proposed changes, and will seek to block any real progress, while simultaneously looking to water down the proposals as much as possible. It's what they did the last time, and it worked. Of course, the problem has only gotten progressively worse since then, so hopefully people realize that their complaints are really more about protecting their own chosen business models, rather than innovation as a whole.
Finally, it'll probably come as no surprise that I think there are many other proposals that would have been nice to see. A couple years ago I wrote a post suggesting what real patent reform should entail, and I still think many of those suggestions would be useful, including a real independent inventor defense, the use of independent invention as a sign of obviousness, and having patent examiners in the PTO include talking to actual people skilled in the art (i.e, people in the field working) to explore whether or not a patent application passes the "non-obvious to those skilled in the art" test. I'm still hopeful that eventually these suggestions will be picked up, but until then, the suggestions above are definitely a good start.
by Mike Masnick
Fri, May 3rd 2013 3:03pm
Angry Patent Lawyer Still Angry, Claims PatentlyO's Dennis Crouch Is Both A 'Dickhead' And Violated CFAA
from the andrew-schroeder,-have-you-met-charles-carreon? dept
But that's apparently not how Andrew Schroeder rolls.
Both posts are filled with poorly designed graphics, mostly mocking Crouch, which Schroeder proudly takes credit for late in that first post. These aren't even "bad in an ironic way" graphics. They're just bad. In the way that someone is when they first discover how Photoshop works and suddenly thinks they're a master of design bad. But the rant is just as wacky. He never apologizes for the language he uses, beyond noting that it was "less than flattering." No, his focus is on the claim that his insane rant -- in which he accused a patent examiner of taking drugs, being drunk, not reading the patent application, of having to write with crayons and a variety of other euphemisms to suggest that the examiner has mental problems -- was a "confidential" communication between himself and the examiner, and revealing it involved both (a) illegal hacking into the USPTO site and (b) being a "dickhead" for thinking it might be entertaining to highlight his ranting.
One of the things I find fascinating about this whole ordeal is the fact that many of the articles written since Patentlyo’s blog post all assume that this was some sort of “PUBLIC” rant or tirade. Everyone assumes that this was some sort of “Open Letter” to the USPTO that I wrote to shame this particular Examiner (in fact, this was just between the Examiner, his Senior Examiner and me…and no one else). In fact, this was a confidential letter and anyone who tells you anything to the contrary is full of shit, I don’t give a fuck what they tell you.Uh, no, it wasn't.
From there, Schroeder goes into a big rant about how terrible it is to use the USPTO's filing system. That may be true, but so what? That has nothing to do with the inappropriate nature of his rant. Schroeder, however, connects the dots to claim that because the USPTO site is so complicated, he would have thought that it would protect his "confidential" communications better (there's an assumption in there that's not quite true...). He also includes some totally gratuitous ad hominem attacks on Crouch, because no Schroeder rant is complete without resorting to sophomoric trash talking.
He further complains that Crouch appears to be "sympathizing with the Examiner!" because no one could possibly sympathize with a patent examiner. Now, we're generally no big fans of patent examiners around here, because we tend to think they approve all sorts of junk patents, but I think it's rather easy to sympathize with the recipient of Schroeder's rage rant. Of course, Schroeder hates examiners for the opposite reason we do. He insists they're not approving nearly enough patents, and that their default is to reject patents. In fact, he gives an anecdotal "side note" about some mythical patent examiner who has a 100% rejection rate. That's amusing, since (as we pointed out recently) in 2012, nearly 90% of all patent applications were eventually approved. And Schroeder thinks examiners are too quick to reject?
In the second post, Schroeder insists that as far as he can tell it's absolutely impossible that Crouch could have found his rant in the PAIR system, and therefore, he believes that Crouch hacked into the USPTO's computers and violated the CFAA.
I’m gonna have to crowdsource this one because I’ve been doing research and can’t seem to figure out how Dennis Crouch was able to access my account with the USPTO. It has always been my understanding that patent applications less than 18 months old and their office action responses are to remain confidential. I’m starting to think that Patentlyo’s Dennis Crouch just wants me to believe that it is common knowledge that you can access anyone’s records there at the USPTO. However, from my own research I have found no evidence whatsoever that it is possible. And more importantly, I DON’T EVEN KNOW IF HIS ACTIONS WERE EVEN LEGAL!That one comes complete with a poorly executed graphic showing Crouch's head mixed in with the text "Computer Hacking is Cool" and pretending that this is a class that Crouch teaches at the University of Missouri Law School.
The more I think about it, the more likely it is that Dennis Crouch may have broken a whole bunch of laws. When it comes to cyber crimes there are state laws (one for where he lives, possibly where I live, and that of Alexandria, Virginia (USPTO).
And then of course there are Federal laws as well such as the CFAA (Computer Fraud & Abuse Act) which makes it a felony to hack and steal documents similar to what Dennis mother fucking menace may have done.
Randomly, at the end of the first blog post, Schroeder goes off on how proud he is of the hard work he puts into designing his websites:
I love building websites. I get absorbed in it, and I can’t tell you how many times I have looked up at the clock to see “3:AM”, and wonder where the past 12 hours went. Some guys have video games, girls have shoe hunting expeditions, I have the website munchies. So, if any of you have gotten this far and think you need a website, go ahead and give me a call, and I’ll hook you up!
by Tim Cushing
Wed, May 1st 2013 10:43am
from the should-try-to-patent-a-scotch-that-isn't-also-a-whiskey dept
There's a lot of anger directed at the US Patent Office, but it mainly originates with people frustrated by the office's "rubber stamp" approval process that has littered the road to success with hundreds of trolling speedbumps, each one waving a stack of overly broad patents and demanding that actual innovators hand over enough cash to cover the rent on their empty East Texas offices.
Patently O has uncovered some anger directed at the USPTO, this time coming from the opposite direction. After a client's application for a telescoping sprinkler was rejected for not being anything the patent office hadn't seen before, patent attorney Andrew Schroeder fired off an apoplectic set of "remarks" to the patent examiner. It starts by suggesting the examiner has a drinking problem and then sinks even lower. Way lower.
REMARKS: Are you drunk? No, seriously…are you drinking scotch and whiskey with a side of crack cocaine while you "examine" patent applications? (Heavy emphasis on the quotes.) Do you just mail merge rejection letters from your home? Is that what taxpayers are getting in exchange for your services? Have you even read the patent application? I'm curious. Because you either haven't read the patent application or are… (I don't want to say the "R" word) "Special."Andrew Schroeder is too genteel to actually use the word "retarded," but that doesn't stop him from throwing around a bunch of synonymous phrases.
So, tell me something Corky…what would it take for a patent application to be approved? Do we have to write patent applications in crayon? Does a patent application have to come with some sort of pop-up book? Do you have to be a family member or some big law firm who incentivizes you with some other special deal? What does it take Corky?The USPTO briefly posted these "remarks" before taking them down (and there's more of this spectacular rant at Patently O). As for the patent in question (posted below), the patent reviewer found the tripod sprinkler wasn't anything special, citing U.S. Patent No. 2,694,600, Patent No. 4,824,020 and Patent No. 5,484,154.
Perhaps you might want to take your job seriously and actually give a sh.t! What's the point in having to deal with you Special Olympics rejects when we should just go straight to Appeals? While you idiots sit around in bathtubs farting and picking your noses, you should know that there are people out here who actually give a sh.t about their careers, their work, and their dreams.
Apparently, attorney Andrew Schroeder sent another set of "remarks" to the examiner who rejected this patent application. Oddly enough, it was the same examiner who rejected the sprinkler: Alexander Valvis. This unlucky lightning rod/government employee lists seven patents in this rejection. These remarks have also been removed by the USPTO, somewhat limiting Schroeder's infamy.
Clients hiring Schroeder to assist them in filing patent applications may be surprised to learn that "antagonizing the USPTO" is one of the bonus services the attorney provides. It's certainly not included in the long list of services on his fee page. (It does, however, list an intriguing option called "Office Action," which is available in 2 or 3-hour sessions [$500-$750].) Schroeder's offerings cover a whole range of IP-related services, many of which are thoroughly "explained" by pages that appear to be still under construction. (Click on the "IP Piracy" page to watch a not-yet-uploaded video futilely attempt to buffer itself into existence and marvel as the attorney's phone number [the only text on the page] tells you all you need to know about how "IP Law Stops IP Theft.")
At the end of the day, it appears that patent examiners just can't catch a break, especially if that patent examiner is Alexander Valvis, bane of Andrew Schroeder's existence and destroyer of dreams.
by Mike Masnick
Wed, Apr 3rd 2013 1:11pm
USPTO Issues Final Rejection Of Apple's Rubberbanding Patent, Which Were Among Those The Jury Said Samsung Infringed
from the oops dept
We had noted a non-final rejection last fall, and now the USPTO has reiterated that with a final rejection. Of course, even "final rejection" is a bit of a misnomer, since Apple can (and probably will) still appeal to the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB). Still, given the significant doubt over the quality of the patent, it seems crazy to assume that it was valid as part of the lawsuit.
Also, in the meantime, if we're going to grant massively powerful, technology-landscape-changing patents to companies, is it really so much to ask that the USPTO not get it wrong so damn often? The fact that, on second review, they suddenly realize "oops, that was a mistake!" seems like the kind of thing that we should be worried about, given just how much power there is in a single bad patent.