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

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread

  1. icon
    PaulT (profile), 12 Aug 2014 @ 11:52pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    "Having an employee do the work and mark twice as many hours doesn't mean the work was not done."

    Of course it doesn't, only a moron thinks that number of hours worked = productivity. But, repeated fraud does indicate dishonest employees, so the work they do is suspect.

    But, of course, you're too dishonest to address the entirety of my comments here. You conveniently ignore the direct questions I asked above so I'll repeat one of them here:

    "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)?"

    Got it? The focus is not on the number of hours worked, it's on the work that was not done. If someone's claiming bonuses that they were not entitled to, while lying to their employers, then the work they do has to be questioned. Unless, of course, you have evidence you're basing your own claims on, in which case please share it.

    Answer that, if you dare to be an honest human being.

    "There is no proof of that here. "

    Apart from what's stated in the article, including the linked primary source. If you have other evidence, cite it, stop whining.

    "However, there is a solid lack of proof in this report."

    In other words: "I don't like it so I'll refuse to believe it just because I say so". Your childish fallback tactic when lying and deflection aren't going to work.

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter

Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Techdirt Gear
Shop Now: I Invented Email
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads


Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.