EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

08.25.18

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 this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

What Else is New


  1. Today's Example of Microsoft's Faked 'Love'

    “On 7 September 2017, users began noticing a message that stated “Skype for Business is now Microsoft Teams”. This was confirmed on 25 September 2017, at Microsoft’s annual Ignite conference,” according to Wikipedia



  2. Links 10/12/2019: Kubernetes 1.17, Debian Init Systems GR

    Links for the day



  3. 'Cancel Culture' as 'Thoughtpolice' Creep

    Richard Stallman spoke about an important aspect of censorship more than 2 decades ago (before “Open Source” even existed); it was published in Datamation (“Censoring My Software”) 23 years before a campaign of defamation on the Internet was used to remove him from MIT and FSF (censoring or ‘canceling’ Stallman himself)



  4. Microsoft Still Hates GNU/Linux and Mark Shuttleworth Knows It (But He is Desperate for Money)

    We're supposed to believe that a PR or image management (reputation laundering) campaign alone can turn Microsoft from GNU/Linux foe into friend/ally



  5. Actions Against EPO Corruption and Unitary Patent (UPC) Injustice/Lobbying

    The EPO is apparently going on strike again and an action against the UPC is scheduled for later this week (protest in Brussels)



  6. “The Fifth Freedom as a Meme”

    The issue with systemd (or SystemD) has provoked or at least stimulated discussions about the limits of the famous Four Freedoms



  7. IRC Proceedings: Monday, December 09, 2019

    IRC logs for Monday, December 09, 2019



  8. Demonstration Against Unitary Software Patents, Thursday 12 Dec in Brussels

    FFII's call to demonstrate against the UPC



  9. Links 9/12/2019: China on GNU/Linux, Canonical Wants Help to Improve Ubuntu

    Links for the day



  10. Links 9/12/2019: Linux 5.5 RC1, EasyOS Buster 2.1.9

    Links for the day



  11. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, December 08, 2019

    IRC logs for Sunday, December 08, 2019



  12. Mandatory Education for Those Who Use and Misuse Buzzwords Would Go a Long Way

    In an age of substitution — where marketing terms replace meaningful words and concepts — it has gotten more difficult to have honest debates, for example about the scope of patents



  13. Once Upon a Time Banter Was Allowed on Mailing Lists

    Hours ago Torvalds announced RC1 of the next Linux (kernel) release; it has been a while since he last said something ‘controversial’ (following his month at the penalty box); free speech deficit can make us weaker, not stronger (advantage to those who work in the dark)



  14. Links 8/12/2019: Debian Init Systems GR, NomadBSD 1.3

    Links for the day



  15. Can We Quit Celebrating DRM in GNU/Linux?

    Over the past couple of days various news sites and "Linux" sites expressed great satisfaction [1-5] over the passive embrace of Disney's DRM ploy (Disney+), even when Disney itself rejects DRM, seeing the harms practically caused by it [6,7]



  16. You Know WSL is Bad for GNU/Linux Because Anti-Linux People, Microsoft and Its Propagandists, Want People to Use That

    Microsoft and its boosters (and media partners) haven’t grown tired of spreading falsehoods to stigmatise and take control of GNU/Linux by creating their own versions and traps for it



  17. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, December 07, 2019

    IRC logs for Saturday, December 07, 2019



  18. 5 Years Ago the Linux Foundation Turned Linux.com Into a Non-Linux Site

    One can leverage the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine to better understand how, over time, the Foundation called “Linux” deviated or diverged away from its mission statement for the sole purpose of raising corporate funds and selling influence to corporations (passing the community’s hard work to them — a form of tacit privatisation)



  19. Microsoft Redefining Ownership and Identity of GNU/Linux

    The idea that “Microsoft loves Linux” is as insane as it gets; but the lie which is “Microsoft loves Linux” is a powerful enabler of Microsoft entryism, e.g. if Greg steps down, does a Microsoft employee become the deputy of Linus Torvalds?



  20. Things That Cannot Be Said

    The limits on what we can say are mostly defined by what sources permit us to say publicly (for the sake of source protection)



  21. Fake European Patents (on Algorithms) Leading to Fake Embargoes

    Law firms have gotten their way in Germany; instead of supporting the productive workers the patent system is nowadays promoting the litigation 'industry' and it ought to be corrected



  22. From Moderate Advice to FUD and Misinformation: The Case of a VPN Vulnerability (CVE-2019-14899)

    What should have been a trivial bugfix in a variety of operating systems and bits of software — both proprietary and Free software — somehow became anti-Linux FUD, clickbait and worse



  23. Dangerous Thinker

    Society oughtn't be alarmed by people who say unusual things; it should be wary and sceptical of those corporations ever so eager to silence such people



  24. Unitary Patent (UPC) Died Along With the Credibility of Managing IP and the Rest of the UPC Lobby

    It is pretty astounding that Team UPC (collective term for people who crafted and lobby for this illegal construct) is still telling us lies, even in the absence of underlying supportive facts, and pressure groups disguised as "news sites" latch onto anything to perpetuate an illusion of progress (even in the face of a growing number of major barriers)



  25. IRC Proceedings: Friday, December 06, 2019

    IRC logs for Friday, December 06, 2019



  26. Links 7/12/2019: Fedora 31 Elections Results, Lots of Media Drama Over VPN Bug

    Links for the day



  27. Links 6/12/2019: DRM in GNU/Linux and Sparky Bonsai

    Links for the day



  28. The EPO Rejects Innovation

    The EPO ceased caring about the needs of scientists whose work involves invention; instead, EPO management crafts increasingly lenient guidelines that yield illegal European Patents (not compatible with the EPC) that heavily-besieged EPO judges are unable to stop



  29. Startpage CEO Robert Beens in 'Damage Control' Mode, Trying to Get Startpage Relisted After Selling to a Massive Surveillance Company

    PrivacytoolsIO is being lobbied by the CEO of Startpage to relist Startpage, based on no actual refutations at all



  30. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, December 05, 2019

    IRC logs for Thursday, December 05, 2019


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