Anticipate This!™ | Patent and Trademark Law Blog

Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke on Patent Law Reform.

Posted in Practice Commentary by Jake Ward on May 7, 2010

There is an interesting article at Politico by Gary Locke, Secretary of Commerce, on the reasons that patent law reform should be enacted.  Most notable, in our opinion, are the portions of the current reform bill that were emphasized by the Secretary for their importance.

The Commerce Department just released a white paper that quantifies the effect America’s patent system has on the economy and job creation and describes the benefits of two key elements of pending patent reform legislation.

First, Congress will grant fee-setting authority to the patent office, which will enable it to adjust the actual costs of the services it provides. This could contribute significantly to the office’s ability to reduce the application backlog by 40 percent.

Second, creating an enhanced post-grant review procedure within the office will provide an alternative to costly — and often lengthy — litigation. It could also provide greater marketplace certainty — at lower cost. This review procedure is expected to be 50-100 times less expensive than litigation.

Thoughts from our readership?

2 Responses

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  1. Gena777 said, on May 10, 2010 at 6:25 pm

    It’s certainly laudable, and critical, for the USPTO to reduce backlog, provide alternatives to protracted litigation, improve patent quality, accelerate the examination process, encourage harmonization, and curtail the costs of patent law. The question is whether the legislation currently on the table can accomplish these things, or whether there are better means. Somehow I doubt that the patent reform bill’s provisions for post-grant review and fee-setting authority present the requisite magic bullet.

  2. Robert J. von Gutfeld said, on June 8, 2010 at 12:17 pm

    Dear Mr. Secretary,

    I’m forwarding the correspondence below as I think there is something drastically wrong at USPTO when a filing error they have made for the past ~4 years can’t be corrected. It is their filing error, not mine, and I think I have a right to have my application listings filed correctly when the USPTO, something USPTO refuses to do for some absurd, bureaucratic reason.

    Thank you for your help in this matter.
    RJ von Gutfeld, PhD
    Columbia University

    Quoting “Koontz, Tammy” :

    > Mr. von Gutfeld-
    > While I understand the error, since there has been no written
    > request for correction within the 2 month statutory period,
    > regrettably there is nothing further that I can do to assist you.
    > Sincerely,
    > Tammy Koontz
    > —–Original Message—–
    > From: Robert J. von Gutfeld []
    > Sent: Monday, June 07, 2010 8:54 PM
    > To: Koontz, Tammy
    > Subject: Re: FW: RE: patent publicatiions
    > Dear Ms. Koontz,
    > I see that there may be an everlasting misunderstanding here for
    > reasons that I simply cannot comprehend. There is nothing wrong with
    > any of my published applications. The problem is with the filing (or
    > mis-filing) system of the US Patent Office.
    > What I have been asking time and again is to please see to it that
    > my published applications appear under the name ‘von Gutfeld’, not
    > ‘Gutfeld’ since ‘Gutfeld’ is not my name. In other words, the
    > problem has nothing to with anything I can fix, just the USPTO can,
    > and must fix it.
    > At present there are 39 publications of mine listed under ‘Gutfeld’
    > but only 32 under ‘von Gutfeld’. I don’t know how to make this any
    > clearer. Please let me know if this problem is now clear and I would
    > appreciate the Office fixing a problem that I simply cannot fix.
    > Oddly, all my issued patents appear properly under my name ‘von Gutfeld’.
    > Thank you,
    > RJ von Gutfeld, PhD
    > Columbia University
    > Quoting “Koontz, Tammy” :
    >> Mr. von Gutfeld-
    >> I apologize that you have not received satisfactory response to your
    >> inquiry. All requests for a corrected patent application
    >> publication must be filed within 2 months of the publication date of
    >> the application.
    >> See the following link regarding corrected patent application publications:
    >> If you could provide copies of the papers that you filed in each
    >> application requesting the changes you indicate below, I will be
    >> happy to look into this matter on your behalf.
    >> Correspondence should be directed to:
    >> USPTO, Commissioner for Patents
    >> P.O. Box 1450
    >> Alexandria, VA 22313-1450
    >> Please be advised that according to 37 CFR 1.2, all business with
    >> the USPTO should be transacted in writing. In addition according to
    >> 37 CFR 1.4(b), since each file must be complete in itself, a
    >> separate copy of every paper to be filed in a patent application…
    >> Must be furnished for each file to which the paper pertains even
    >> though the contents of the papers filed in two or more files may be
    >> identical.
    >> Sincerely,
    >> Tammy Koontz
    >> Office of Data Management
    >> —–Original Message—–
    >> From:
    >> Sent: 6/4/2010 02:46:21 PM
    >> To: USPTO Info
    >> Cc: “”
    >> Subject: RE: patent publicatiions
    >> Thank you for your note.
    >> I called the 800 number given below and was given a menu asking me
    >> to press a certain key, somewhat related to the matter at hand. That
    >> gave rise to another recorded menu, again asking me to push a key.
    >> I finally reached a live person who said he would transfer me to the
    >> Applications Unit but instead I got yet another menu with choices not
    >> relevant to my question.
    >> It seems there is no way to penetrate the USPTO entrenched
    >> bureaucracy. If I can’t get help within the coming week on this
    >> simple matter, I will write a formal complaint to the Secretary of
    >> Commerce. The service I received today is nothing short of
    >> abominable and I plan to relay that to Secretary Locke.
    >> RJ von Gutfeld, PhD
    >> Columbia University
    >> Quoting
    >>> Thank you for contacting the USPTO Contact Center.
    >>> For certificates of correction inquiries, please contact the
    >>> Application Assistance Unit (AAU) at 571-272-4200 Monday through
    >>> Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time. You may also call
    >>> us on our toll-free line, 800-786-9199 and ask to be transferred to
    >>> the Application Assistance Unit.
    >>> If you have any further questions or if you require additional
    >>> information, please call the USPTO Contact Center at 1-800-786-9199
    >>> or (571) 272-1000 and reference the following Service Request
    >>> number: 1-169691656.
    >>> [THREAD ID:1-2T0BD5]
    >>> —–Original Message—–
    >>> From:
    >>> Sent: 6/3/2010 10:16:51 AM
    >>> To: USPTO Info
    >>> Subject: patent publicatiions
    >>> Ladies and Gentlemen,
    >>> It is now more than two years since I notified the Patent Office
    >>> that my patent applications are listed incorrectly. My name is Robert J.
    >>> von Gutfeld
    >>> with von Gutfeld the last name. However, you have listed my
    >>> publications both under Gutfeld and von Gutfeld.
    >>> The problem is that there are 39 listings under Gutfeld and only 32
    >>> under von Gutfeld. I would like all my listings to be under the
    >>> proper last name, i.e. von Gutfeld.
    >>> I hope this can be straightened out before another 2 years roll by.
    >>> Thank you,
    >>> RJ von Gutfeld
    >>> Columbia University

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