Patent Examiners Regularly Engaged In Fraud And Abuse Via Telework Program

from the and-lied-about-it dept

For quite some time now, we've discussed how the USPTO had a massive backlog, and that former boss David Kappos solved this "problem" by getting examiners to approve more patents faster, mainly by lowering their standards and granting more patents. Whenever we write about this, we hear about overworked patent examiners who are really trying their best. Except, it appears that the system is actually rife with abuse and fraud by patent examiners:
Some of the 8,300 patent examiners, about half of whom work from home full time, repeatedly lied about the hours they were putting in, and many were receiving bonuses for work they didn’t do. And when supervisors had evidence of fraud and asked to have the employee’s computer records pulled, they were rebuffed by top agency officials, ensuring that few cheaters were disciplined, investigators found.

Oversight of the telework program — and of examiners based at the Alexandria headquarters — was “completely ineffective,” investigators concluded.
This comes on the heels of a similar report about the paralegals who work at the USPTO. We had skipped that story, because it wasn't the actual examiners, but it appears that the story with examiners is basically the same. Generally, the ability to telework is a good thing, offering lots of flexibility for those who can handle it, but it's certainly also open to abuse by those who can't (or by those who wish to abuse the system). It appears that the USPTO set up the worst of all worlds in creating a telework system with no way of either truly monitoring how it was being used or any way to stop any abuses.

Oh, and worse, the USPTO then tried to hide all of this... but I'll leave that for my next post...

Filed Under: abuse, patent examiners, telework, uspto

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  1. icon
    PaulT (profile), 12 Aug 2014 @ 12:34am

    Re: Re: Re:

    "Nothing here at this point indicates that patents were passed without due consideration"

    FTFA: "many were receiving bonuses for work they didn’t do"

    Which work would they be bonused for, if not the number of patents were processed (and therefore passed/rejected)? There may be other work under the bonus schemes, but to my mind that seems to be one of the most logical areas where a bonus would apply. Given that they repeatedly lied about the hours and work they were doing, it's a logical conclusion that patents were indeed being passed without due consideration by those lying about those things.

    Do you have access to documentation that details how their bonus works, and therefore prove that no patents were passed without due consideration? What are you basing your claim on, apart from your obsessive need to be contrarian against every article here?

    "not in the hiring or trustworthiness of that staff"

    Unless you've mistaken the comment you were replying to as an attack on teleworking itself (which it wasn't), how the hell did you come to this conclusion? The fact that staff repeatedly lied about the work they were doing doesn't reflect on the trustworthiness of the staff? WTH?

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