08.25.18

Gemini version available ♊︎

The USPTO’s New Strategic Plan Should be to Keep Services Available and Actually Explain a Week’s Downtime

Posted in America, Patents at 10:09 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Of course patent quality too should be a priority

A businessman

Summary: The USPTO faces legitimacy problems after a long downtime, failure to explain this downtime, and persistent questions about enforceability of USPTO-granted patents in courts, not to mention in the USPTO’s own Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB)

THE MONTH of August was a tough one for the USPTO and we can imagine that some technical staff needed to be recalled from holidays.

“Iancu sounds like PR person.”“The recent failure of USPTO PALM database is a direct result of John Owens, Tony Chiles and Pam Isom’s incompetency,” an insider wrote. “This time Owens cannot blame a power failure,” this insider added, alluding to previous incidents which were nowhere as severe as the latest [1, 2].

“After a week of the USPTO’s electronic patent filing systems being down, the office says “the director will prescribe a procedure that will allow you to seek a refund of the paper filing fee”. But some observers say this will be tricky,” Michael Loney wrote. The USPTO was still ‘on fire’ (as in up in flames) until a few days ago. Every page came up with pop-ups containing a face-saving message about key services being down. At the moment (minutes ago) the pop-up instead says: “You have been randomly selected to take part in this survey that is being conducted by ForeSee on behalf of the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The feedback you provide will help the United States Patent and Trademark Office enhance its site and serve you better in the future. All results are strictly confidential – see our Privacy Policy for details.”

So we assume that the downtime is over, well over a week after it started. Now comes Director Iancu with ‘damage control’. A nontechnical director, selected by Trump after he had worked for him, is talking about a technical problem. Patently-O has the full text, which is pure spin from Iancu (a lawyer, spin is what these people do for a living), spinning over a week’s downtime as a ‘feature’ or ‘improvement’…

“In the process of getting everything back up and running, we sought not merely to restore but also to improve our PALM operating systems,” he wrote. “Among other things we now have enhanced servers and performance optimization, such that the resulting condition is better than it was before the outage.”

Aha! So people should really be thankful for the outage! A blessing in disguise? Iancu sounds like PR person. But see the comments. They’re rightly upset. To quote the first couple of comments:

What challenges? I guess it doesn’t matter how/why it happened? Any interest in explaining how the PTO plans on it not happening again? This is now the second time that a lengthy outage has occurred, on top of the daily sporadic outages.

Also, is there any logical a reason to tie the contingency EFS in with the same system that houses the primary PALM database? What’s the good in a contingency system if its availability is inextricably tied to the availability of the system that it’s supposed to back up?

It’s simple: Two is one and one is none.

And the second:

It is part of the citizens of the US becoming peons. People in charge don’t have to explain. I don’t think that contained an apology either. And it described “the outage” as if it was an act of G*d.

There’s lots more along those lines. Why the USPTO was down is still unexplained. What a mystery. From a government-connected entity better can and should be expected.

Patently-O has meanwhile published the “USPTO New Strategic Plan (Draft),” to which I replied with: “a good strategy for the USPTO would be to first brings its service back online :-) there has been a one-week downtime!” (it was still down at the time).

From Patently-O: “The Strategic Goals reflect the fact that the PTO is primarily a bureaucratic agency — and the main goal is quality bureaucracy. That means efficient, correct, and timely work. Thus, the PTO’s first strategic goal is “Issuing reliable IP rights.””

If patent quality is improved rather than lowered, patents would be more reliable in courts (the same goes for trademarks).

They speak of “optimizing patent and trademark quality,” so Iancu should just formally forbid software patents at the USPTO (it’s about time to do so, but of course he wouldn’t, he used to advocate these for money). IP Watch wrote about this draft as well:

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is seeking comments on its draft strategic plan for the years 2018-2022. The draft plan covers a range of goals, including optimizing patent and trademark quality and timeliness, and providing “domestic and global leadership to improve intellectual property policy, enforcement, and protection worldwide.”

Remember that the USPTO said its systems/services would be restored by last Tuesday. But no… that did not happen. It was down for over a week! The issues were apparently resolved in the past few days, maybe a couple of days ago.

Iancu’s response appears to have mostly angered stakeholders, who still don’t know what happened and whether anyone (company or person) was held accountable. Perhaps the above draft was released (prematurely even) as a form of distraction from Iancu and his team.

In other news, this one from Joseph Herndon, patents on candles were brought up in relation to a Federal Circuit ruling. Luminara is upset and is complaining that its own patents are utter rubbish. They should never have been granted by the USPTO (which merely profits from granting anyway, whenever there’s doubt). To quote Herndon:

Luminara Worldwide, LLC appealed from three inter partes review (IPR) decisions, in which the Patent Trial and Appeal Board held unpatentable a total of 31 claims across Luminara’s three patents. On appeal, Luminara challenged the Board’s decisions as to one claim from each patent and asserted that the Board’s application of the 35 U.S.C. § 315(b) time-bar was improper as to the ’319 patent. The Federal Circuit dismissed the IPR with respect to the ’319 patent, holding that the § 315(b) time-bar applied, and affirmed the other two IPR decisions.

The patents here are directed to making flameless candles that look and behave like real candles. Shenzhen Liown Electronics Co., Ltd. (Liown) requested inter partes review of 31 claims of the Luminara patents including U.S. Patent Nos. 8,696,166; 8,070,319; and 8,534,869. The three patents, which employ moving pendulums to simulate the appearance of a natural flame, are related.

In summary, Iancu’s Office (leadership) needs to seriously think about the quality and thus legitimacy of the patents it grants. It needs to do more to demonstrate that it can handle technical matters (over a week of outage certainly disputes this) and improve transparency, e.g. regarding the cause of the outage.

As things stand at the moment, the Office loses credibility even within or among its own stakeholders, who complain that their US patents are worthless, the service is poor, and the Office is facetious. Don’t make the USPTO another Battistelli-esque EPO.

Share in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email

Decor ᶃ Gemini Space

Below is a Web proxy. We recommend getting a Gemini client/browser.

Black/white/grey bullet button This post is also available in Gemini over at this address (requires a Gemini client/browser to open).

Decor ✐ Cross-references

Black/white/grey bullet button Pages that cross-reference this one, if any exist, are listed below or will be listed below over time.

Decor ▢ Respond and Discuss

Black/white/grey bullet button If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

DecorWhat Else is New


  1. StatCounter: GNU/Linux (Including ChromeOS) Grows to 8% Market Share Worldwide

    This month’s numbers from StatCounter are good for GNU/Linux (including ChromeOS, which technically has both GNU and Linux); the firm assesses logs from 3 million sites and shows Windows down to 66% in desktops/laptops (a decade ago it was above 90%) with modest growth for GNU/Linux, which is at an all-time high, even if one does not count ChromeOS that isn’t freedom- or privacy-respecting



  2. Journalism Cannot and Quite Likely Won't Survive on the World Wide Web

    We’re reaching the point where the overwhelming majority of new pages on the Web (the World Wide Web) are basically junk, sometimes crafted not by humans; how to cope with this rapid deterioration is still an unknown — an enigma that demands hard answers or technical workarounds



  3. Do Not Assume Pensions Are Safe, Especially When Managed by Mr. EPOTIF Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos

    With the "hoax" that is the financial assessment by António Campinos (who is deliriously celebrating the inauguration of illegal and unconstitutional kangaroo courts) we urge EPO workers to check carefully the integrity of their pensions, seeing that pension promises have been broken for years already



  4. Links 04/06/2023: Why Flatpak and Wealth of Devices With GNU/Linux

    Links for the day



  5. Gemini Links 04/06/2023: Rosy Crow 1.1.3 and NearlyFreeSpeech.NET

    Links for the day



  6. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, June 03, 2023

    IRC logs for Saturday, June 03, 2023



  7. Links 04/06/2023: Azure Outage Again (So Many!) and Tiananmen Massacre Censored

    Links for the day



  8. Links 03/06/2023: Qubes OS 4.2.0 RC1 and elementaryOS Updates for May

    Links for the day



  9. Gemini Links 03/06/2023: Hidden Communities and Exam Prep is Not Education

    Links for the day



  10. Links 03/06/2023: IBM Betraying LibreOffice Some More (After Laying off LibreOffice Developers)

    Links for the day



  11. Gemini Links 03/06/2023: Bubble Woes and Zond Updates

    Links for the day



  12. Links 03/06/2023: Apache NetBeans 18 and ArcaOS 5.0.8

    Links for the day



  13. IRC Proceedings: Friday, June 02, 2023

    IRC logs for Friday, June 02, 2023



  14. The Developing World Abandons Microsoft Windows, GNU/Linux at All-Time Highs on Desktops/Laptops

    Microsoft, with 80 billion dollars in longterm debt and endless layoffs, is losing the monopolies; the media doesn’t mention this, but some publicly-accessible data helps demonstrate that



  15. Links 02/06/2023: Elive ‘Retrowave’ Stable and Microsoft's Half a Billion Dollar Fine for LinkeIn Surveillance in Europe

    Links for the day



  16. Linux Foundation 'Research' Has a New Report and Of Course It Uses Only Proprietary Software

    The Linux Foundation has a new report, promoted by Clickfraud Spamnil and others; of course they’re rejecting Free software, they’re just riding the “Linux” brand and speak of “Open Source” (which they reject themselves)



  17. Links 02/06/2023: Arti 1.1.5 and SQL:2023

    Links for the day



  18. Gemini Links 02/06/2023: Vimwiki Revisited, SGGS Revisited

    Links for the day



  19. Geminispace/GemText/Gemini Protocol Turn 4 on June 20th

    Gemini is turning 4 this month (on the 20th, according to the founder) and I thought I’d do a spontaneous video about how I use Gemini, why it's so good, and why it’s still growing (Stéphane Bortzmeyer fixed the broken cron job — or equivalent of it — a day or two after I had mentioned the issue)



  20. HMRC Does Not Care About Tax Fraud Committed by UK Government Contractor, Sirius 'Open Source'

    The tax crimes of Sirius ‘Open Source’ were reported to HMRC two weeks ago; HMRC did not bother getting back to the reporters (victims of the crime) and it’s worth noting that the reporters worked on UK government systems for many years, so maybe there’s a hidden incentive to bury this under the rug



  21. Our IRC at 15th Anniversary

    So our IRC community turns 15 today (sort of) and I’ve decided to do a video reflecting on the fact that some of the same people are still there after 15 years



  22. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, June 01, 2023

    IRC logs for Thursday, June 01, 2023



  23. Links 02/06/2023: NixOS 23.05 and Rust 1.70.0

    Links for the day



  24. Gemini Links 02/06/2023: Flying High With Gemini and Gogios Released

    Links for the day



  25. Links 01/06/2023: KStars 3.6.5 and VEGA ET1031 RISC-V Microprocessor in Use

    Links for the day



  26. Gemini Links 01/06/2023: Scam Call and Flying High With Gemini

    Links for the day



  27. Links 01/06/2023: Spleen 2.0.0 Released and Team UPC Celebrates Its Own Corruption

    Links for the day



  28. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, May 31, 2023

    IRC logs for Wednesday, May 31, 2023



  29. Tux Machines Closing the Door on Twitter Because Twitter is Dead (for a Lot of People)

    Tux Machines recently joined millions of others who had already quit Twitter, including passive posting (fully or partly automated)



  30. Links 31/05/2023: Inkscape’s 1.3 Plans and New ARM Cortex-A55-Based Linux Chip

    Links for the day


RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

Recent Posts