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Patent Office Shows Record Backlog

michael posted more than 11 years ago | from the free-money-get-your-free-money-here dept.

Patents 236

acroyear writes "WTOP, 1500am, a news radio station in the DC area, is reporting that the Patent Office Is Seeing Record Backlog, with 2 years for a patent now, and potentially 4 years to wait by decade's end, and the PTO is considering a 15% increase in filing fees. Personally, I think if they had set a trend of actually rejecting patents that don't belong, they'd have sent enough of a message to keep application numbers to a reasonable level; right now, everybody files because just about everything can get one."

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IN OTHER NEWS, MICHAEL PREFERS ROD (-1)

Proctal Relapse (467579) | more than 11 years ago | (#5760497)

When I think of dirty old men, I think of Ike Thomas and when I think about Ike I get a hard on that won't quit.

Sixty years ago,I worked in what was once my Grandfather's Greenhouses. Gramps had died a year earlier and Grandma, now in her seventies had been forced to sell to the competition. I got a job with the new owners and mostly worked the range by myself. That summer, they hired a man to help me get the benches ready for the fall planting.

Ike always looked like he was three days from a shave and his whiskers were dirty white under the brim of his battered felt fedora.

He did nott chew tobacco but the corners of his mouth turned down in a way that, at any moment, I expected a trickle of thin, brown juice to creep down his chin. His bushy, brown eyebrows shaded pale, gray eyes.

Old Ike, he extended his hand, lifted his leg like a dog about to mark a bush and let go the loudest fart I ever heard. The old man winked at me. ?Ike Thomas is the name and playing pecker's my game.

I thought he said, "Checkers." I was nineteen, green as grass. I said, "I was never much good at that game."

"Now me," said Ike, "I just love jumping men. . ."

"I'll bet you do."

". . . and grabbing on to their peckers," said Ike.

"I though we were talking about. . ."

"You like jumping old men's peckers?"

I shook my head.

"I reckon we'll have to remedy that." Ike lifted his right leg and let go another tremendous fart. "He said, "We best be getting to work."

That summer of1941 was a more innocent time. I learned most of the sex I knew from those little eight pager cartoon booklets of comic-page characters going at it. Young men read them in the privacy of an outside john, played with themselves, by themselves and didn't brag about it. Sometimes, we got off with a trusted friend and helped each other out.

Under the greenhouse glass, the temperature some times climbed over the hundred degree mark. I had worked stripped to the waist since April and was as browwn as a berry. On only his second day on the job and in the middle of August, Ike wore old fashioned overalls. Those and socks in his hightop work shoes was every stitch he wore. When he bent forward, the bib front billowed out and I could see the white curly hairs on his chest and belly.

"Me? I just love to eat pussy!" Ike licked his lips from corner to corner then stuck it out far enough that the tip could touch the tip of his nose. He said, A man's not a man till he knows first hand, the flavor of a lady's pussy."

"People do that?"

He winked. "Of course the taste of a hard cock ain't to be sneezed at neither. Now you answer me, yes or no. Does a man's cock taste salty or not?"

"I never. . ."

"Well, old Ike's willing to let you find out."

"No way."

"Just teasing," said Ike. "But don't give me no sass or I'll show you my ass." He winked. Might show it to you anyway, if you was to ask."

"Why would I do that?"

"Curiousity, maybe. I'm guessing you never had a good piece of man ass."

"I'm no queer."

"Now don't be getting judgemental. Enjoying what's at hand ain't beiing queer. It's taking pleasure where you find it with anybody willing." Ike slipped a handside the side slit of his overalls and I could tell he was fondling and straightening out his cock. Now I admit I got me a hole that satisfied a few guys."

I swallowed, hard.

Ike winked. "Care to be asshole buddies?"

***

We worked steadily until noon. Ike drew a worn pocket watch from the bib pocket of his loose overalls and croaked, "Bean time. But first its time to reel out our limber hoses and make with the golden arches before lunch."

I followed Ike to the end of the greenhouse where he stopped at the outside wall of the potting shed. He opened his fly, fished inside, and finger-hooked a soft white penis with a pouting foreskin puckered half an inch past the hidden head.

"Yes sir," breathed Ike, "this old peter needs some draining." He exhaled a sigh as a strong, yellow stream splattered against the boards and ran down to soak into the earthen floor.

He caught me looking down at him. He winked. "Like what you're viewing, Boy?"

I looked away.

"You taking a serious interest in old Ike's pecker?"

I shook my head.

"Well you just haul out yourn and let old Ike return the compliment."

Feeling trapped and really having to go, I fumbled at my fly, turned away slightly, withdrew my penis and strained to start.

"Take your time boy. Let it all hang out. Old Ike's the first to admit that he likes looking at another man's pecker." He flicked away the last drop of urine and shook his limp penis vigorously.

I tried not to look interested.

"Yer sir, this old peepee feels so good out, I just might leave it out." He turned to give me a better view.

"What if somebody walks in?"

Ike shrugged. He looked at my strong yellow stream beating against the boards and moved a step closer. "You got a nice one,boy."

I glanccd over at him. His cock was definitely larger and beginning to stick straight out. I nodded toward his crotch. "Don't you think you should put that away?"

"I got me strictly a parlor prick," said Ike. "Barely measures six inches." He grinned. "Of course it's big enough around to make a mouthful." He ran a thumb and forefinger along its length and drawing his foreskin back enough to expose the tip of the pink head. "Yersiree." He grinned, revealing nicotine stained teeth. "I t sure feels good, letting the old boy breathe."

I knew I should button up and move away. I watched his fingers moving up and down the thickening column.

"You like checking out this old man's cock?"

I nodded. In spite of myself, my cock began to swell.

"Maybe we should have ourselves a little pecker pulling party." Ike slid his fingers back and forth on his expandingshaft and winked. "I may be old but I'm not against doing some little pud pulling with a friend."

I shook my head.

"Maybe I ?ll give my balls some air. Would you like a viewing of old Ike's hairy balls?"

I swallowed hard and moistened my dry lips.

He opened another button on his fly and pulled out his scrotum. "Good God, It feels good to set ?em free. Now let's see yours."

"Why?"

"Just to show you're neighborly," said Ike.

"I don't think so." I buttoned up and moved into the potting shed.

Ike followed, his cock and balls protruding from the front of his overalls. "Overlook my informality." Ike grinned. "As you can see I ain't bashful."

I nodded and took my sandwich from the brown paper bag.

"Yessir," said Ike. "I just might have to have myself an old fashioned peter pulling all by my lonesome. He unhooked a shoulder strap and let his overalls drop around his ankles.

I took a bite of my sandwich but my eyes remained on Ike.

"Yessiree," said Ike, "I got a good one if I do say so myself. Gets nearly as hard as when I was eighteen. You know why?"

I shook my head.

"Cause Ikeep excerising him. When I was younger I was pulling on it three time a day. Still like to do him every day I can."

"Some sayyou'll go blind if you do that too much."

"Bull-loney!" Don't you believe that shit. I been puling my pud for close to fifty years and I didn't start till I was fifteen."

I laughed.

"You laughing at my little peter, boy?"

"Your hat." I pointed to the soiled, brown fedora cocked on his head. That and his overalls draped about his ankles were his only items of apparel. In between was a chest full of gray curly hair, two hairy legs. Smack between them stood an erect, pale white cock with a tip of foreskin still hiding the head.

"I am one hairy S.O.B.," said Ike.

"I laughed at you wearing nothing but a hat."

"Covers up my bald spot," said Ike. "I got more hair on my ass than I got on my head. Want to see?"

"Your head?"

"No, Boy, my hairy ass and around my tight, brown asshole." He turned, reached back with both hands and parted his ass cheeks to reveal the small, puckered opening. "There it is, Boy, the entrance lots of good feelings. Tell me, Boy, how would you like to put it up old Ike's ass?"

"I don't think so."

"That'd be the best damned piece you ever got."

"We shouldn't be talking like this."

"C'mon now, confess, don't this make your cock perk up a little bit?"

"I reckon," I confessed.

"You ever seen an old man's hard cock before," asked Ike.

"My grandpa's when I was twelve or thirteen."

"How'd that come about?"

He was out in the barn and didn't know I was around. He dropped his pants. It was real big he did things to it. He saw me and he turned around real fast but I saw it."

"What did your grandpa do?"

"He said I shouldn't be watching him doing that. He said something like grandma ?wouldn't give him some,' that morning and that I should get out of there and leave a poor man in peace to do what he had to do."

"Did you want to join him."

"I might have if he'd asked. He didn't."

"I like showing off my cock," said Ike. "A hard-on is somethng I always been proud of. A hard-on proves a man's a man. Makes me feel like a man that can do things." He looked up at me and winked. "You getting a hard-on fromall this talk, son?"

I nodded and looked away.

"Then maybe you should pull it out and show old Ike what you got."

"We shouldn't."

"Hey. A man's not a man till he jacked off with a buddy."

I wanted to but I was as nervous as hell.

Ike grinned and fingered his pecker. "C'mon, Boy, between friends, a little cock showing is perfectly fine. Lets see what you got in the cock and balls department."

In spite of my reluctance, I felt the stirring in my crotch. I had curiositythat needed satisfying. It had been a long, long time since I had walked in on my grandfather .

"C'mon let's see it all."

I shook my head.

"You can join the party anytime, said Ike. "Just drop your pants and pump away."

I had the urge. There was a tingling in my crotch. My cock was definitely willing and I had a terrible need to ajust myself down there. But my timidity and the strangeness of it all held me back.

Hope you don't mind if I play out this hand." Ike grinned. "It feels like I got a winner."

I stared at his gnarled hand sliding up and down that pale, white column and I could not look away. I wet my lips and shook my head.

Old Ike's about to spout a geyser." Ike breathed harder as he winked. "Now if I just had a long finger up my ass. You interested, boy?"

I shook my head.

The first, translucent, white glob crested the top of his cock and and arced to the dirt floor. Ike held his cock at the base with thumb and forefinger and tightened noticably with each throb of ejaculation until he was finished.

I could not believe any man could do what he had done in front of another human being.

Ike sighed with pleasure and licked his fingers. "A man ain't a man till he's tasted his own juices."

He squatted, turned on the faucet and picked up the connected hose. He directed the water between his legs and on to his still dripping prick and milked the few remaing drops of white, sticky stuff into the puddle foming at his feet. "Cool water sure feels good on a cock that just shot its wad," said Ike.

***

"Cock-tale telling time," said Old Ike. It was the next day and he rubbed the front of his dirty,worn overalls where his bulge made the fly expand as his fingers smoothed the denim around the outline of his expanding cock.

I wasn't sure what he had in mind but I knew it wasn't something my straight-laced Grandma would approve of.

"Don't you like taking your cock out and jacking it?" Ike licked his lips.

I shook my head in denial.

"Sure you do. A young man in his prime has got to be pulling his pud."

I stared at his caloused hand moving over the growing bulge at his crotch.

"Like I said," continued Ike, "I got me barely six inches when he's standing up." He winked at me. "How much you got, son?"

"Almost seven inches. . ." I stuttered. "Last time I measured."

"And I'm betting it feels real good with your fist wrapped around it."

"I don't do. . ."

"Everybody does it." He scratched his balls and said,"I'll show you mine if you show me yours." Then, looking me in the eye, he lifted his leg like a dog at a tree and let out a long, noisy fart.

Denying that I jacked off, I said, "I saw yours yesterday."

"A man has got to take out his pecker every once in a while." He winked and his fingers played with a button on his fly. Care to join me today?"

"I don't think so."

"What's the matter, boy? You ashamed of what's hanging ?tween your skinny legs?"

"It's not for showing off."

"That would be so with a crowd of strangers but with a friend, in a friendly showdown, where's the harm?

"It shouldn't be shown to other people. My Grandma said that a long time ago when I went to the bathroom against a tree whan I was seven.

"There's nothing like a joint pulling among friends to seal a friendship," said Ike.

I don't think so." I felt very much, ill at ease.

"Then what the fuck is it for," demanded the old man. "A good man shares his cock with his friends. How old are you boy?"

"Nineteen almost twenty."

You ever fucked a woman?"

"No."

"Ever fucked a man?"

"Of course not.

"Son, you ain't never lived till you've fired your load up a man's tight ass. "I didn't know men did that to each other."

"Men shove it up men's asses men all the time. They just don't talk about it like they do pussy."

"You've done that?"

"I admit this old pecker's been up a few manholes. More than a fewhard cocks have shagged this old ass over the years." He shook his head, wistfully, "I still have a hankering for a hard one up the old dirt chute."

"I think that would hurt."

"First time, it usually does," agreed Ike. He took a bite from his sandwich.

I looked at my watch. Ten minutes of our lunch hour had already passed.

"We got time for a quickie," said Ike. "There's no one around to say, stop, if were enjoying ourselves."

He unhooked the slide off the button of one shoulder-strap, pushed the bib of his overalls down to let them fall to his feet.

"Showtime," said Ike. Between his legs, white and hairy, his semi-hard cock emerged from a tangled mass of brown and graypubic hair. The foreskin, still puckered beyond the head of the cock, extended downward forty-five degrees from the horizontal but was definitely on the rise.

I could only stare at the man. Until the day before, I had never seen an older man with an erection besides my grandpa.

Ike moved his fingers along the stalk of his manhood until the head partially emerged, purplish and broad. He removed his hand for a moment and it bobbled obscenely in the subdued light of the potting shed. Ike leaned back against a bin of clay pots like a model on display. "Like I said, boy, it gets the job done."

I found it difficult not to watch. "You shouldn't. . ."

"C'mon, boy. Show Ike your peckeer. I'm betting it's nice and hard."

I grasped my belt and tugged on the open end. I slipped the waistband button and two more before pushing down my blue jeans and shorts down in one move. My cock bounced and slapped my belly as I straightened."

"That's a beaut." Ike stroked his pale, white cock with the purplish-pink head shining. "I'm betting it'll grow some more if you stroke it."

"We really shouldn't. . ."

"Now don't tell me you never stroked your hard peter with a buddy."

"I've done that," I finally admitted,. "But he was the same age as me and it was a long time ago." I though back to the last time Chuck and me jerked each other off in the loft of our old barn. Chuck wanted more as a going away present and we had sucked each other's dicks a little bit.

"Jackin's always better when you do it with somebody," said Ike. "Then you can lend each other a helping hand."

"I don't know about that," I said.

Ike's hand continued moving on his old cock as he leaned over to inspect mine. "God Damn! Boy. That cock looks good enough to eat." Ike licked his lips. "You ever had that baby sucked?"

I shook my head as I watched the old man stroke his hard, pale cock.

"Well boy, I'd sayyou're packing a real mouthful for some lucky gal or guy." He grinned. "Well c'mon. Let's see you get down to some serious jacking. Old Ike's way ahead of you."

I wrapped my fist around my stiff cock and moved the foreskin up and over the head on the up stroke. On the down stroke the expanded corona of the angry, purple head stared obscenely at the naked old man.

Ike toyed with his modest six inches. "What do you think of this old man's cock?" His fist rode down to his balls and a cockhead smaller than the barrel stared back at mine.

"I guess I'm thinking this is like doing it with my grandpa."

"You ever wish you could a done this with your grandpa?"

"I thought about it a lot."

"Ever see him with a hard-on."

"I told you about that!"

"Ever think about him doing your grandma?"

"I can't imagine her ever doing anything with a man.

"Take my word for it, sonny, we know she did it or you wouldn't be here." Begrudgingly I nodded in agreement.

"Everybody fucks," said old Ike. "They fuck or they jack off."

"If you say so."

"Say sonny, your cocks getting real juicy with slickum. Want old Ike to lick some of it away?"

"You wouldn't."

Ike licked his lips as he kept his hand pistoning up and down his hard cock. "You might be surprised what old Ike might do if he was in the mood for a taste of what comes out of a hard cock."

And that is what he proceded to do. He sucked me dry.

Then he erupted in half-a-dozen spurts shooting out and onto the dirt floor of the potting shed. He gave his cock a flip and shucked t back into his overalls. He unwrapped a sandwich from its wax paper and procede to eat without washing his hands. He took a bite and chewed. "Nothing like it boy, a good jacking clears the cobwebs from your crotch and gives a man an appetite."

***

The following day, We skipped the peliminaries. We dropped our pants. Ike got down on his knees and sucked me until I was hard and good and wet before he stood and turned.

"C'mon boy, Shove that pretty cock up old Ike's tight, brown hole and massage old Ike's prostate.

Ike bent forward and gripped the edge of the potting bench. The lean, white cheeked buttocks parted slightly and exposed the dark brown, crinkly, puckered star of his asshole "Now you go slow and ease it along until you've got it all the way in," he cautioned. "This old ass craves your young cock but it don't want too much too soon. You've got to let this old hole stretch to accomodate you."

"Are you sure you want to do this?"

"Easy boy, easy," he cautioned. "You feel a lot bigger than you look. Put a little more spit in your cock."

"It's awfully tight. I don't know if it's going to go or not."

""It'll go," said Ike. "There's been bigger boys than you up the old shit chute."

I slipped in the the last few inches.. "It's all in."

"I can tell," said Ike. "Your cock hairs are tickling my ass."

"Are you ready," I asked.

"How are you liking old Ike's hairy asshole so far?"

"It's real tight."

"Tighter than your fist?"

"Might be."

"Ready to throw a fuck into a man that reminds you of your grandpa."

"I reckon."

"I want you should do old Ike one more favor."

"What?"

While you're pumpin my ass, would you reach around and play with my dick like you would your own? Would you do that for an old man?"

I reached around and took hold of his hard cock sticking out straight in front of him. I pilled the skin back amd then pulled it up and over the expaded glans. I felt my own cock expand inside him as I manipulated his staff in my fingers. I imagined that my cock extended through him and I was playing with what came out the other side of him.

"C'mon, boy, ram that big cock up the old shitter and make me know it. God Damn! tickle that old prostate and make old Ike come!"

I came. And I came. Ike's tightened up on my cock and I throbbed Roman Candle bursts into that brown hole as I pressed into him. His hairy, scrawny ass flattened against my crotch and we were joined as tightly as two humans can be.

"A man's not a man till he's cum in another man." said old Ike. "You made it, boy. But still, a man's not a man till he's had a hard cock poked up his ass at least once."

Every time I think of that scene, I get another hard-on. Then I remember the next day when old Ike returned the favor.

I never have managed to come that hard again. If only Ike were here.

Re:IN OTHER NEWS, MICHAEL PREFERS ROD (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5760556)

I cannot thank you enough for posting this, it has changed my life

Re:IN OTHER NEWS, MICHAEL PREFERS ROD (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5760580)

You love the manham? You've got the bootie?

Re:IN OTHER NEWS, MICHAEL PREFERS ROD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5760729)

excellent first post.

that said, i think the patent office needs to completely overhaul its operations. If they actually hired more patent inspectors and set hire goals to obtaining a patent, then maybe we could clear this backlog.

3rd post! (-1)

thr0d ps1t (641973) | more than 11 years ago | (#5760503)

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Share and enjoy!

Re:3rd post! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5760817)

Personally, I think if they had set a trend of actually rejecting patents that don't belong, they'd have sent enough of a message to keep application numbers to a reasonable level; right now, everybody files because just about everything can get one.

yet another example of some moron analyzing the news in the article. your job is to report whatever happened, not to tell us what to think about it.

Throwing money at this will not solve the problem. (1, Insightful)

SLASHDOT EDlTOR (589794) | more than 11 years ago | (#5760519)

Infrasctucture overhauls and their willingness to revamp the system are key to sucess. I am afraid that in typical government fashion the backlog will be resolved with a shredder. Only time will tell.

Re:Throwing money at this will not solve the probl (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5760707)

Perhaps a shredder is just what is needed! While some ideas deserving of patent may go un-protected, others that may be granted patents without merit will end up just where they belong, in the shredder!

Yes I am a Troll, but just how did you know I'm from Norway?

Throwing money at me WILL solve the problem (1)

burgburgburg (574866) | more than 11 years ago | (#5760931)

That's my theory: Throwing (paper) money at me will solve the problem. And just so you know, I patented this theory, so it must have merit.

Yeah... (5, Insightful)

CrazyDuke (529195) | more than 11 years ago | (#5760531)

Yeah, and us poor schmucks who can't afford several grand in expences have to get a corporation to help and hope they don't screw us. Too bad I can't make any money off of these ideas I have. Innovation my ass.

shut up jerk... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5760565)

All patent laws need to be repealed. They are unnatural. You're not a nerd.

Career Advice (2)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 11 years ago | (#5760576)

Yeah, and us poor schmucks who can't afford several grand in expences have to get a corporation to help and hope they don't screw us. Too bad I can't make any money off of these ideas I have. Innovation my ass.

Become a Patent Attorney. With this kind of glut there's going to be a strong demand for those who can wade through it.

Excuse me while I get back to filling out my patent application for 'carrot and stick'

Re:Yeah... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5760634)


Patents are meant to protect actual entrepeneurs, not just people that sit around in their parents' basement and "invent things". Once upon a time, the Patent Office required an actual working prototype instead of just Powerpoint slides.

If you're one of those guys that likes to file a zillion applications for vague ideas and then hope to sue someone else that actually produces an independent product ten years later, I have no sympathy for you. You could at least look on your few grand as an investment in your extortion scheme.

And if you have a useful idea and can actually put it into production, you'll need to start a company. A few grand for a patent application is peanuts compared to the cost of actually making anything out of some idea. Very often, the idea itself isn't actually the important part; the execution is.

Re:Yeah... (4, Interesting)

Xerithane (13482) | more than 11 years ago | (#5760896)

Patents are meant to protect actual entrepeneurs, not just people that sit around in their parents' basement and "invent things". Once upon a time, the Patent Office required an actual working prototype instead of just Powerpoint slides.

I have an idea I'm working on, hoping to get to the filing point within the end of the year. After building the prototype, I'll be out close to a grand. After filing, I'm looking at investing almost $8K on this idea. With only the hope that it will work.

It is a major setback for inventors and entrepeneurs, as it gets rather difficult to do this without some decent backing. Luckily, I have a few people who like my idea and will be helping out after I show the prototype.

It still is difficult to do, more so than it should. What I would like to see is that your first patent sets (for a specific project, limit to) should be provided free, then additional patents for a seperate project should be very expensive. You get a good, easy one shot for a good idea, and if it sucks, it's hard to do it the second time.

And if you have a useful idea and can actually put it into production, you'll need to start a company. A few grand for a patent application is peanuts compared to the cost of actually making anything out of some idea. Very often, the idea itself isn't actually the important part; the execution is.

To bring any idea to fruitation, you should look towards spending upwards of $10K. The sad part is, most of this is filing fees and seldom goes into building the actual device. After the prototype I can contract to a firm to make the devices for probably $100 a piece, and marketing will bring it to $150 (Or less, if I sell over ebay...) and I can easily make $50 profit on each item, assuming they sell.

So, I have to sell approximately 100 before I even cover the filing fees. Great fucking deal.

*yawn* information wants to be free ... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5760533)

Yeah, yeah, repeal copyright and patent laws. But does every other damn article have to be about it?

Assumptions (5, Insightful)

RealityMogul (663835) | more than 11 years ago | (#5760536)

everybody files because just about everything can get one

Now we've all seen plenty of stories where stupid patents have been granted. But I don't think we're getting the entire picture. If they grant thousands of patents a year and we only see 20 stupid patent articles, then maybe they aren't doing the terrible job we're assuming they are. Maybe they are rejecting patents but we just don't hear about it because companies don't publicize their rejections.

I'm not claiming to have first-hand knowledge of the USPO but it's food for thought.

Re:Assumptions (1)

willll (635932) | more than 11 years ago | (#5760560)

I don't think that the plastic bag out of my local grocery store should be patented, but it is. I wouldn't think that much innovation was required to make a simple plastic bag used across the country.

Re:Assumptions (2, Insightful)

mrjive (169376) | more than 11 years ago | (#5760676)

But the fact that it is used across the country is why they patented it in the first place.

Re:Assumptions (1)

SoftCoreHonesty (665319) | more than 11 years ago | (#5760852)

The idea is that somebody came up with a design for a plastic bag that made it sturdy enough to carry soda bottles but still light and flexible. I am sure that the patent also includes the whole dispenser and the hooks on the bags to fit the dispenser.

A lot times things just seem really obvious because you are so use to it but that doesn't mean that somebody shouldn't get rewarded for coming up with the idea.

thousands (4, Interesting)

metalhed77 (250273) | more than 11 years ago | (#5760592)

e. If they grant thousands of patents a year and we only see 20 stupid patent articles

According to this http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/ac/ido/oeip/taf/u s_stat.pdf the US Govt granted 166,000 patents in 2001. It's quite amazing how many they have to go through.

Re:Assumptions (1)

sheemwaza (570202) | more than 11 years ago | (#5760640)

From what I've read, the first application is usually rejected outright as a barrier to entry. Doesn't seem to be that effective of a technique, though.

Possibly one of the stupidest awards... (1)

allism (457899) | more than 11 years ago | (#5760721)

Not a patent but a trademark [despair.com] , but it's the same USPTO [uspto.gov] providing the quality service.

Re:Possibly one of the stupidest awards... (1)

SoftCoreHonesty (665319) | more than 11 years ago | (#5760897)

What's wrong with that trademark? The trademark is only good for the sale of "Printed matter namely, greeting cards, posters and art prints." They can't sue you for using an emoticon in your email (no matter what the obvious parody press release says). You can only sue over a trademark if somebody uses it in the sale of a good or service that you hold the trademark for.

Re:Assumptions (1)

DarkZero (516460) | more than 11 years ago | (#5760734)

Actually, we see far more than twenty stupid patent articles a year, but what's more important is that the only ones that we see on /. and other major tech sites are the ones that interfere with other businesses, like the various "I own the internet" sort of patents on linking and online stores that have been issued to several different companies. There are many other patents that are awarded for very stupid things that are physically impossible or will obviously never see the light of day, but those aren't really worth causing a stir about because they won't interfere with anyone's lives. They did, however, bog down the patent office and create enough of a backlog for the patents on linking and online stores to slip through, so they should be a pretty big deal for the patent office itself.

Re:Assumptions (2, Informative)

Eloquence (144160) | more than 11 years ago | (#5760876)

Continuing Patent Applications and Performance of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office [researchoninnovation.org] shows that the patent statistics from the US PTO are deceptive, and that the actual patent allowance rate has been as high as 95 percent (in the examined period from 1993 to 1998). "Grant rates were just as high, reaching a maximum of 97 percent." This is a much higher level of patent acceptance than in Europe and Japan. The authors conclude that the US PTO currently grants a patent "for virtually every original application."

Re:Assumptions (1)

AnotherBlackHat (265897) | more than 11 years ago | (#5760905)


If they grant thousands of patents a year and we only see 20 stupid patent articles, then maybe they aren't doing the terrible job we're assuming they are.


Imagine if you tested an additive on 10000 cars and found that 9980 cars get better gas milage,
but the remaining 20 cars exploded once they reached 55 MPH.

Patents don't cause cars to explode, but they can do plenty of damage to companies, even if they're eventually invalidated.

-- this is not a .sig

Patent Patents ha ha! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5760544)

I'm going to patent making stupid patent requests so that I can get rich from this.

(OK...can we avoid all the stupid patent jokes and just get onto the weekly /. rants about patents and the obligatory "it's not stealing, it's copyright infringment" whining. Thanks.

Alternative (0, Troll)

smoondog (85133) | more than 11 years ago | (#5760559)

everybody files because just about everything can get one

Why should we make the USPTO due the homework of a patent lawyer? Another way to filter patents (and lower taxpayer burden) is to leave it up to the courts. To prevent abuses, there should be strong penalties for filing a patent that gets overturned in court. Useless patents are never challenged and nobody cares; useful patents get their due. Lawyers make more money. See? Everybody's happy.

-Sean

Re:Alternative to slavery (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5760585)

Why should we make the USSA due the homework of a slave trader? Another way to filter slaves (and lower taxpayer burden) is to leave it up to the courts. To prevent abuses, there should be strong penalties for too much whipping. Beaten slaves are never challenged and nobody cares; useful slaves get their due. Slave whippers make more money. See? Everybody's happy.

Damnit, intellectual property is the slaver of today. Abolish it!

Troll? WTF.... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5760617)

/. moderators suck...

Re:Troll? WTF.... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5760669)

Don't worry. You can always hope that the idiot moderator will get his in meta-moderation.

Re:Alternative (2, Insightful)

deander2 (26173) | more than 11 years ago | (#5760650)

> Why should we make the USPTO due the homework of a patent lawyer?

because thats what they were CHARTERED to do. you want randomly hired patent lawyers deciding for themselves that their clients deserve government granted monopolies?

> Another way to filter patents (and lower taxpayer burden) is to leave it up to the courts.

you think trials are free? using the courts to invalidate patents costs much MORE than only granting valid patents in the first place. for everyone, the taxpayer AND the two companies.

> To prevent abuses, there should be strong penalties for filing a patent that gets overturned in court.
increased risk means decreased value. a company should not have to bear the risk of fines later in life if a patent is overturned. the patent fees should cover the cost of evaluation, and if they're not valid they should not be granted, end of story.

> Useless patents are never challenged and nobody cares; useful patents get their due. Lawyers make more money.

maybe they aren't challenged, but they ARE used for bullying smaller companies. heck, they're used to bully companies of all sizes. no, not everyone is happy.

Re:Alternative (1)

smoondog (85133) | more than 11 years ago | (#5760696)

you think trials are free?

Nope they aren't. But at least with this method, you can assign cost to those who are abusing the system. Lawyers don't make the decisions, judges/jurys do. The government still makes decisions on patents.

Of course, there is the possibility of abuse by large corporations. But if the penalties are sufficiently high for losing, the small company may benefit richly from the mistake of the bully (who would have to pay for the process).

-Sean

Re:Alternative (1)

allism (457899) | more than 11 years ago | (#5760739)

Where do you live? Here in the US, the taxpayer still ends up paying for judge/jury trials.

Re:Alternative (1)

smoondog (85133) | more than 11 years ago | (#5760767)

There are various laws throughout the US that require a loser to pay for court costs of both the parties involved, and many fines are specifically designed to cover taxpayer burden on unfair cases.

-Sean

Re:Alternative (1)

allism (457899) | more than 11 years ago | (#5760836)

Show me anywhere that actually gets reimbursed for even five percent of the trials in their jurisdiction...

The answer is NOT more government involvement (granted, I'm not sure exactly what the answer IS, but I know when something stinks)

This just in: (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5760561)

JESUS was a MONKEY.
Thank you, that is all.

Any other Fortune 500 employees? (4, Interesting)

interiot (50685) | more than 11 years ago | (#5760571)

I work for a large corporation, and they encourage every employee to try to create 4 patent proposals a year. Coworkers have submitted many proposals, but I don't know in my local group who's gotten a patent all the way through... I don't konw how much rubber-stamping the USPTO is doing given that our legal department is rejecting 90%+ of our submissions.

Re:Any other Fortune 500 employees? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5760818)

yes. at my 'large corp' (fortune 10) there is a tremendous amount of formalized technical filtering before a patent disclosure gets filed to the USPTO. well over 90% of ideas don't make it through this process. i have a feeling most /.rs think big corporations just file anything and everything and that is definitely not the case where i'm at.

Re:Any other Fortune 500 employees? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5760917)

You work for Walmart as a clerk don't you. You can admit it. I am sure you are capable of better but were laid off.

Re:Any other Fortune 500 employees? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5760837)

The problem is not when a company reject 90% of their own submissions, its when companies green light crap in the hopes of getting a questionable patent granted with the express purpose to squeeze money out of littel guys that cant fight off VC vultures.

Re:Any other Fortune 500 employees? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5760886)

imho, this has never been a focus of the process i'm involved in at my 'large corp' (fortune 10 guy). the 'green light' is based on both novelty and technical merit. the people who 'green light' (which means it gets sent to the internal law dept) are all very seasoned technical experts in the disclosure subject matter. trust me, it's often quite humbling.

Re:Any other Fortune 500 employees? (1)

redgren (183312) | more than 11 years ago | (#5760956)

I agree, I also work for a very large tech company, and we have an army of lawyers to go over patent applications and make sure that it is good enough to make it through the process.

Most of the applications that get sent to the lawyers are returned with a "publish, not patent" stamp on them.

That being said, patent licensing is a big chunk of revenue for my company. We have been leading the pack in patents for the last 10 years, and they say we have gotten about 10 billion dollars from them.

DAMMIT *I* INVENTED THE RECORD BACKLOG!!! (5, Funny)

corebreech (469871) | more than 11 years ago | (#5760578)

Those bastards!

maybe this will delay lawsuits (0)

devzerous (445499) | more than 11 years ago | (#5760582)

I am sick of all these patent infringements from dying companies. I hope that this will kill the dying companies with the "so called patent". so FU amazon with your click patent. FU SCO with your lawsuits. FU NCR with your clams of owning the PDA patent. I wish these shitty companies would just go away.

The converse? (4, Insightful)

cybermace5 (446439) | more than 11 years ago | (#5760584)

We are so quick to rush to judgement. Perhaps even reversing cause and effect?

Maybe the frivolous patents are a result of everyone bum-rushing the Patent Office. There might not be enough time to scrutinize every patent that comes in. Of course this encourages more frivolous patents, making it even harder for the Patent Office to give each patent its due care.

It's an interesting tactic: flood the Patent Office with useless requests, making it impossible for individuals to get their life's work patented. The longer an invention remains unpatented, the better chance of duplicating and marketing someone's idea before they have the chance (because you have all the production capabilities already). Vague patents and lawyers can keep away those who decide to challenge, and most will probably accept a small settlement.

Re:The converse? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5760921)

t impossible for individuals to get their life's work patented. The longer an invention remains unpatented, the better chance of duplicating and marketing someone's idea before they have the chance


In theory, you get the patent retroactively back to the time you file. Then, after the fact, you can sue everyone who made money off of your patent in the mean time. There was a case where a guy won a patent suit against Intel for a microprocessor, which would earn him scads of money. I don't rememeber what the ontcome was, though.

The government should create a "patent tax" (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5760586)

That way, the filing fees can remain low, but valuable patents (which in theory may require more protection) will pay the government for that protection. Something like 1% of profits on the invention. So, a million dollar idea would get the government $10,000 in exchange for the patent protection. If your idea never makes you money (say over $1000), then you don't need to pay it.

Re:The government should create a "patent tax" (1)

allism (457899) | more than 11 years ago | (#5760764)

Why in the world should the government have an automatic percentage stake in something I invent? That would be penalizing someone for being successful, not to mention encouraging even more tax fraud.

Re:The government should create a "patent tax" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5760815)

Because the government is providing protection for your investment. Courts aren't free. The more protection you need, the more you should pay. You still get 99% of the profits.

Re:The government should create a "patent tax" (1)

allism (457899) | more than 11 years ago | (#5760887)

Wouldn't the inverse be true, i.e. I would be able to provide MORE legal protection for myself if I made more money from my patent, and LESS legal protection for myself if I made little or no money from my patent? The measure of the success or worthiness of an idea cannot be solely financial.

Re:The government should create a "patent tax" (0)

xconslash (521219) | more than 11 years ago | (#5760920)

The measure of the success of an idea has to be purely finnacial. If an idea is great, but it can't get sold, then it's no good. Intellectually you may be able to judge things differently, but at the end of the day it should be just down to how much money you make.
A "patent tax" would be immoral. It would pennalize anyone who was creative and tried to make money off their creativity. And it would help those who cannot create. If this were carried out long term, there would be no inventors left.

Re:The government should create a "patent tax" (2, Informative)

gowen (141411) | more than 11 years ago | (#5760906)

Because the laws they uphold, and the courts they run, help you to stop other people ripping you off. Thats what a patent is, its government protection, and its cheaper than the mafia (just).

Re:The government should create a "patent tax" (1)

Elderly Isaac (667024) | more than 11 years ago | (#5760799)

The problem with this setup is actually how the profits would be calculated. A company would be able to shift things around pretty easily so that it looks like a product is making no profit. Simply hide other, marginally related costs under the umbrella of the product's expenses.

Re:The government should create a "patent tax" (1)

tit4tat (255420) | more than 11 years ago | (#5760908)

What do you think income tax is?

a better solution (1)

abhisarda (638576) | more than 11 years ago | (#5760588)

Is it possible that since patents take 2 years to be granted and time before your granted one is increasing, people might be filing more frivolous patents just because the time gap to profit with their innovation is decreasing. It would be better if the PTO hired was a group of 40-50 people consisting of IP/patent professors and industry people who would be consulted whether the patents submitted are valid or just a time waste.

A stupid solution (1)

angle_slam (623817) | more than 11 years ago | (#5760655)

It would be better if the PTO hired was a group of 40-50 people consisting of IP/patent professors and industry people who would be consulted whether the patents submitted are valid or just a time waste.

Did you read the article? There are 2900 examiners right now and they want to raise fees so they can hire 3500 more. How can adding 50 people possibly help with the backlog?

Re:A stupid solution (1)

abhisarda (638576) | more than 11 years ago | (#5760783)

Your right. But the question here is also about frivolous patents. When granting patents, there are many grey areas. The academics and industry people can help reduce the load in this case. I might have been wrong about the numbers

The fees should be raised but also note that in an article a few months earlier, it said that the USPTO is one of the few departments of the govt that is raking in huge profits compared to the spending required. There is pressure on the PTO to keep those margins.

related article-Google [216.239.33.100]

Good and bad (2, Interesting)

Hegemony (104638) | more than 11 years ago | (#5760605)

Good - The two year wait may discourage the frivolous inventions we see, like say This one [crazypatents.com]

Bad - Delays all the great technical inventions that are obsolete in a month

we gnaw. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5760614)

nibble nibble munchkin. the M$FT is so big yes. it controls, controls all. the people they walk by i see their feet though my window. their feet swing by the bars on my window. pretty feet shiny shoes. swish swish. are they going to work? i WILL NOT go to work. M$FT is at work. M$FT controls the pretty feet people. controls their money their futures.

i sit and rebuld my kernel. my CPU thrums. the kernel it is the key. we hack the linux yes good. 2.3, 2.4, 2.5, ...2.6!!!!!!!!! the M$FT it fears the linux. spreads lies. says the linux comes with no warranty. THE WARRANTY IT IS BAD! it goes into your pores. steals your power. the kernel is good. the kernel will rise and slay the M$FT. when the itching comes i think about the linux. it helps.

i hack a driver for my dvd-rom. it does not work. i debug. it does not work. i delete the old source. and start again. i recompile. it does not work. on M$FT the dvd-rom is plug and play. that is how they get you. get behind your eyes. start the itching. so i hack the driver. i hack, we hack: we gnaw. gnaw at the ropes of slavery. the ropes of M$FT. pretty feet people, we will save you.

the itching comes...

Re:we gnaw. (1, Offtopic)

Sialagogue (246874) | more than 11 years ago | (#5760768)


Yes indeed, this is off topic, although probably not a troll or a flamebait. My guess would be that you wanted to insert a little artistry into an otherwise dry conversation - a impressionist view in a community of realists. If that's the case, even though I have mod points I simply can't mark you down for your ambition.

That said, your post does leave me wishing that there was a "-1, Unskilled." Listen carefully to me -- you should stop writing. What you perceive as buoyant prose is really just thesaurus-driven typing with arbitrary eccentricities posing as a personal style. I read what you posted and I think of you as someone who read Joyce and Pynchon, and was so utterly disconnected, so thoroughly ignorant of their works' goals and scope that the only coherent thought you could have when you quit at page 80 was "Hey, I think I could do that."

Please understand, I'm not saying that you are worthless as a person, only that you are worthless as a writer. So please make a big move, explore new horizons and new experiences, new arenas where you could make a great contribution to the world. Just do us all a favor and never write about them.

how many (3, Interesting)

ih8apple (607271) | more than 11 years ago | (#5760624)

Anyone have any idea how many of these backlogged patents are stupid attempts to cash-in on common ideas?

Like this [wired.com] patent on linking...

or this [pcworld.com] patent on floating banners...

Re:how many (1)

tenman (247215) | more than 11 years ago | (#5760673)

142,475

Re:how many (1)

PetWolverine (638111) | more than 11 years ago | (#5760907)

The patent on linking won't fly--if it holds up in court, nobody will pay attention but Prodigy. BT can't sue every company and individual with a Web site.

I suspect, though, that it won't fly for a different reason--nobody's selling links. I'm not carefully crafting a hyperlink, then selling it to you for use on your Web site. You're making links for your own use. Just because some damned corporation has a patent on musical condoms doesn't mean I can't make one to use next time I bend that corporation's CEO over; it just means I can't produce and sell them without paying royalties. It's sort of like how copyrights on a song don't mean that I have to pay a royalty every time I sing along with the song in my car--even if someone's in the passenger seat listening (and covering their ears, most likely). (If I weren't such a terrible singer, maybe that person wouldn't cover their ears, in which case they would be consuming my reproduction of the song--but unless they're paying for the pleasure of hearing my off-key, out of tune singing, I'm still okay.)

As for the banner patent, I sort of wish it would fly, but it won't for the same reason. Ah well, Safari blocks most popup ads, so I'll make it.

Fee Schedule (4, Insightful)

WPIDalamar (122110) | more than 11 years ago | (#5760625)

I think the way fees are done for the patent office should be changed. Something that rewards good patents, and penalizes bad ones.

$patentCost = (some constant);

while( patentIsRejected() )
{
$patentCost *= 2;
}

And then we need to reimplement patentIsRejected() to something like:

1) flat-out-reject anything that's already patented.
2) reject anything with prior art
3) Have a QUALIFIED examiner spend some time looking it over.
4) Have a certain public review periond (6 months?) that anyone can register complaints
5) Review complaints (possible reject)
6) Have another, different qualified examiner check it out for an extended period of time.

Re:Fee Schedule (1)

telstar (236404) | more than 11 years ago | (#5760661)

"And then we need to reimplement patentIsRejected() to something like:"
  • 7) Reject anything from Amazon.com

Re:Fee Schedule (4, Informative)

angle_slam (623817) | more than 11 years ago | (#5760698)

I think the way fees are done for the patent office should be changed. Something that rewards good patents, and penalizes bad ones.

Good patents are already rewarded: they are enforceable and can be licensed. Bad patents can be challenged.

1) flat-out-reject anything that's already patented.

That is what the patent office does already.

2) reject anything with prior art

Already done.

3) Have a QUALIFIED examiner spend some time looking it over.

Examiners are assigned to the various units based on their qualifications. In other words, a chemist examines chemical patents, an electrical engineers examines circuit patents.

4) Have a certain public review periond (6 months?) that anyone can register complaints

That's the whole point of the publication process. Before 2000, patent applications remained secret until they were issued. Now, they are published 18 months after filing. The public can look at the applications and submit prior art references.

5) Review complaints (possible reject)

See above.

6) Have another, different qualified examiner check it out for an extended period of time.

All examiners have a supervisor.

Re:Fee Schedule (5, Informative)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 11 years ago | (#5760759)

2) reject anything with prior art

Already done.


NO IT'S NOT!

I'm sick of people with no clue spouting this shit in slashdot comments and getting modded up to propagate this incorrect information.

Repeat after me: You can patent things that have prior art.

In fact, it's completely allowed and the prior art is usually documented right in the application. A patent does NOT mean the holder has exclusive rights to everything in the patent. It only gives them exclusive rights on the claims that exceed the prior art. Half the time I see people bitching about some silly patent on here, they fail to take this into account.

Please people, before you go spouting off about prior art in patents, make sure you know what you're talking about and that you didn't get that information from a slashdot comment that was posted by somebody who could be a clueless toddler for all you know.

Re:Fee Schedule (1)

angle_slam (623817) | more than 11 years ago | (#5760842)

2) reject anything with prior art

Already done.

NO IT'S NOT!

I'm sick of people with no clue spouting this shit in slashdot comments and getting modded up to propagate this incorrect information. Repeat after me: You can patent things that have prior art.

You are talking about something different from what the original poster said. Two of the more important criteria to getting a patent are novelty [cornell.edu] and non-obviousness [cornell.edu] .

You are correct that a patent "only gives . . . exclusive rights on the claims that exceed the prior art." What I intended to respond to was the people here who automatically spout that something was already done in the prior art, without ever even reading the patent.

Re:Fee Schedule (1)

PetWolverine (638111) | more than 11 years ago | (#5760949)

The patent office doesn't reject applications when there is prior art. The submitter of the application is "required" to do a search on their own for things that might constitute prior art, and include them in their application, but the patent office doesn't do its own search and reject applications that have already been done. Basically, this requirement is unenforceable, and the fact that the patent office doesn't do this search themselves is very likely the reason for most frivolous patents.

YUOR CODE SI TEH WEAK! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5760757)

for (pc = n; patent_is_rejected(); pc <<= 1);

Re:Fee Schedule (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5760872)

I would like to address your comments with a few of my own. First, my wife has been a patent examiner for almost 5 years. She is quite qualified; in fact, like most other examiners, is rather over-qualified (you don't need an EE degree to be an examiner in her art unit, but that is what they require). They *do* reject applications for things already patented; they do it all the time. But it is just not that easy to determine if something is already patented. There are an amazing number of subtle difference between seemingly similar things, and it is up to the examiner to pore over whatever existing data they can access to determine this.

Likewise for "prior art." As my wife has patiently explained, over and over, to myself and others, there is quite a bit of misunderstanding regarding that term, "prior art." The simple fact that you may have an already functioning widget does not preclude my getting a patent on the same. It depends on a number of legalities such as when my information or applications entered the system. As the parent stated, the backlog is up to two years (and is actually more for some art units). Suppose my applications entered the system 3 years ago. 2 years ago you began manufacturing your widget. PTO finally gives me my patent, and then everybody starts screaming "prior art, prior art." Those of us not involved with the USPTO are rarely privy to info such as how long the application has actually been in process!

"Reject anything with prior art." Ahhh, if only it were that easy......

On top of all this is the fact that examiners work on production. Meaning, not only must they examine a certain amount of apps to eligible for promotion, they must examine a certain amount of apps to keep their job! And an app does not count as complete until the patent is either decisively granted or rejected. Which, when you consider the very liberal amendment policies that applicants enjoy, can be a very long time in coming.

So you have patent applications that can pass or fail based on one or two items out of a list of 20 or 30 claims; you have applications which are in the system for years (and can be on an examiner's desk, being actively reviewed, for months); and you have a production-based environment. None of which are very conducive to the scenario you describe.

I'm not trying to pick a fight or anything; but alot of people (not you in particular) seem to think that examiners are nothing more than glorified secretaries, just breezing through their days, handing out patents willy-nilly and collecting the government largess. Well I am here to tell you, there may be a few examiners like that, but I'll bet there are not too many.

Oh one more thing. Let's say a multi-billion dollar company submits a patent on some breakthrough technology. Are you seriously proposing that their application, with all its attendant trade secrets, be subjected to PUBLIC REVIEW for SIX MONTHS?!? Surely not - I am no doubt misunderstanding you.

Right?

Patent Gnomes (1)

humpTdance (666118) | more than 11 years ago | (#5760948)

Step One) Tax patents Step Two) ........ Step Three) Profit!

Your going to have to take this story back (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5760641)

For it is my sole intellectual property, as found in U.S. patent 1782824O4c3. I may or may not be willing to license it to you for a substantial, but reasonable (my opinion) sum. end sarcasm

What kind of ads to they use (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5760643)

Got fired from your rebate handling job [slashdot.org] because you were too slow processing applications? Fear no more! Get a job at the patent office!

Re:What kind of ads to they use (1)

allism (457899) | more than 11 years ago | (#5760788)

Actually, I think they WANT the slow people handling the rebates...I imagine they probably give bonuses for number of rebates mishandled...Whereas the patent office would probably rather have fast rubberstamping...

Abolish? (2, Insightful)

rarewire (636787) | more than 11 years ago | (#5760649)

I think there should be a study to determine how harmful it will be for the society if we move to abolish the patent system altogether. I have doubts whether the benefits of having the current system can outweigh the disadvantages like the chilling effect on innovations coming from individual or small company sources.

How about fining companies for abuse (4, Interesting)

Cyclone66 (217347) | more than 11 years ago | (#5760651)

If you submit an excessive amount of 'frivolous patents you should get fined... a lot, or even better, your patents get reviewed with a lower priority until the 'quality' of the patents goes back up.

The extremely sad thing (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5760682)

the extremely sad thing is that then economy is so bad for process engineers with little experience that I'm actually appyling to get a job there.

Pay is very good, work from what I heard is a typical government job. People have certain quotas, and they make them and dont try any harder because of lack of competetiveness within the USPTO.

So let me see if I have this straight... (5, Insightful)

bittmann (118697) | more than 11 years ago | (#5760683)

From the article:


Last year the office issued an average of more than 3,000 patents a week. It is one of the few federal agencies that brings in more money than it spends.

Some of that money is siphoned off to other agencies _ more than $630 million since 1992.


The Patent Office has a positive cash flow. They actually take in more in fees than they consume, with the excess being diverted to non-productive (from a patent standpoint, anyway) agencies.

So, *of course* the only way for them to process more patents per time unit is to raise the fees.

Yes, I do realize that there are most likely mitigating factors (dealing with problems of expansion, etc.) that come in to play, here, which would make a noticable jump in speed more expensive. But, initial inspection of the problem does tend to make me think "plow the profits back in to the organization. Make *more* profits that way. Remember: The more we process, the more we *generate* here..."

Or could it possibly be an idea of "raise the fee enough to drive off all of these pesky little inventors...thus reducing our workload."

Nah...they wouldn't think that way...would they?

Please Remember this PTO Budget Reality (4, Informative)

syntap (242090) | more than 11 years ago | (#5760688)

The PTO is a fully fee-funded organization. BUT... all the fees they collect go to Congress, who then gives back _A PORTION_ (100%) to the PTO for its operations. If the PTO were allowed to keep 100% of its current fees (without helping balance the rest of the Federal budget with them), the fees probably wouldn't have to go up.

Re:Please Remember this PTO Budget Reality (1)

derfel (611157) | more than 11 years ago | (#5760765)

If they raise the fees, Congress will probably just keep the increase and funnel it into policing copyright infringements for the RIAA.

Up the price NO WAY (1)

Loosewire (628916) | more than 11 years ago | (#5760690)

You cant up the price, the people who can barely afford patents for their ideas wont patent but it wont stop the big guys patenting everything left right and centre. What needs to happen is either a system where you pay more on a sliding scale the more patents you have.Or a system where large companies pay more anyway. Stop penalising the little guy!!

Small Entities already have a discount (4, Informative)

angle_slam (623817) | more than 11 years ago | (#5760752)

Or a system where large companies pay more anyway. Stop penalising the little guy!!

Small entities already pay less than large entities. For example, the filing fee for a small entity is only $375, compared to $750 for large entities. The definition of Small Entity is long, but, as a starting point, individuals and companies with fewer than 500 employees is considered a small entity.

Record Patents (3, Insightful)

Stargoat (658863) | more than 11 years ago | (#5760695)

Individual efficiency in the workplace has been geometrically rising for the past century and a half. Population has also been geometrically rising dramatically for the past century and a half. Therefore, the number of patent requests also be geometrically rising. Since government bureaucracies tend to be sticky in their use of technologies, it shouldn't be any surprise that there are a record number of patents applications with a large backlog.

Patent #45560986 (4, Funny)

A Guy From Ottawa (599281) | more than 11 years ago | (#5760697)

For their sake I hope they don't let it get to the 4year mark...

Patent #45560986 Granted to Guy F. Ottawa on April 1, 1999.

Description:
The process of providing a service to individuals (or businesses) who's end result is not conveyed for 4 years (1460 Days).

That patent is too narrowly written. (1)

raehl (609729) | more than 11 years ago | (#5760893)

As long as they wait 1459 days or 1461 days or any other total number of days other than 1460, they're not in violation of the patent.

Should have hired a better patent lawyer to draft that one.

Does anyone know if this will hold up... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5760749)

I've heard somewhere in the past that MAILING YOURSELF YOUR IDEA/LITERATURE/POEM/SONG/BLUEPRINTS and never opening the letter makes it a document that MAY hold up to prove you invented your idea.

Think of it....it's an OFFICALLY STAMPED US DOCUMENT NOW (went through the mail) and you mailed it to yourself. As long as you never break the seal, it has a government stamp on it proving when you created it, right?

Are there any lawyers that know if this would hold up to prove it was YOURS first?

Re:Does anyone know if this will hold up... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5760827)

...never opening the letter...

How would you prove the letter wasn't opened and then resealed? There's no sure way to avoid tampering issues.

Mine will be processed soon I hope (-1, Redundant)

LePrince (604021) | more than 11 years ago | (#5760781)

It's a patent on the process of filing a patent.

I'll make millions, but the more time it takes to get processed, the more I lose money. Think I'm gonna sue them on top of that.

Increasing fees is the anti-solution (2, Insightful)

ItWasThem (458689) | more than 11 years ago | (#5760789)

The PTO is considering a 15% increase in filing fees.

Yeah that's the solution... let's make it even harder for the average joe to submit a patent... that's the problem. Those damn garage hobbyists doing nothing but submitting applications. The nerve. It couldn't be the corporations who don't care how much you charge and submit hundreds of applications a month...

Most Patents are Useful (4, Insightful)

raehl (609729) | more than 11 years ago | (#5760796)

I'm fairly involved in the paintball industry, and I've had occasion due to 10% need and 90% need to procrastinate to read/skim the vast majority of patents related to paintball.

99% of them patent something useful in the industry. Maybe the USPTO drops the ball more often when it comes to software, but there's still a lot of patenting that goes on out there for just regular old "stuff"; genuine, true inventions. Even if you DID manage to find a way to prevent the frivolous patents from getting there in the first place, they're probably less than 5% of the total workload. Maybe 1 or 2%. Because patents are freaking expensive.

Just keep in mind that the way Slashdot "News" articles can make the world look (Many events happen twice! ;)) may not necessarily be the way the world really is. I'm willing to bet that the backlog is 98% due to growth of the economy/country rapidly exceeding growth of staff at the USPTO.

WTOP is the bomb... (1)

shadowhillway (610347) | more than 11 years ago | (#5760808)

...but WTOP is not the one doing the reporting. It's a writer associated with the Associated Press.

Leave it up to the courts (1)

grahamsz (150076) | more than 11 years ago | (#5760848)

Let the patenet office grant as many patents as it wants (so long as they are basically relevant) then *if* the patent is ever relevant (and only about 1% of them are) THEN it can be debated in court.

Of course we need provisions to stop companies with patents forcing individuals to stop something, and using their size and finances to win the court case.

Make the companies declare an value to the patent (-1)

gryphon65 (564636) | more than 11 years ago | (#5760875)

Make the companies declare an value to the patent up front. Charge the company a percentage of that value for patent protection every year of the patents existence until it expires or they decides to drop it. In addition require that the companies license the patent to others at no more than a certain percentage of the declared value.

It's all Amazon's fault.... (1)

tktk (540564) | more than 11 years ago | (#5760885)

Implementing a step function on applications fees might work. For example, for the first 10 patent applications you'd pay the regular price and for every 10 patents afterwards the price would go up.

Oh no! (1)

Bottlemaster (449635) | more than 11 years ago | (#5760895)

Kathleen Di Scenna poses with sketches of her inventions at her family run travel agency in Syracuse, N.Y., Monday, April 14, 2003. Di Scenna has designed a theme park based on The Wizard Of Oz

A travel agent has to wait two years for the patent office to file her doodles! Something must be done!

65-70 percent business method patents rejected (4, Interesting)

MyNameIsFred (543994) | more than 11 years ago | (#5760929)

Personally, I think if they had set a trend of actually rejecting patents that don't belong
I understand the hatred of many business method patents. I believe they should not be allowed. However, according to this article [com.com] 65 to 70 percent of business method patents are rejected. Up from a rejection rate of 30 to 35 percent.

WTOP 1500AM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5760932)

WTOP 1500AM -- Where our motto is:

"Traffic and Weather on the 8's, Commercials every 30 seconds!"

Thank god for NPR.

USPTO is a cash cow (4, Interesting)

cenonce (597067) | more than 11 years ago | (#5760941)

People need to understand that the USPTO is a cash cow for the Feds. It made somewhere along the lines of 400 million dollars for the Feds in 2002.

It has done that, in part, by actively encouraging the general public to file for both patent and trademark applications. It has implied to the public that it is easy to go through the application process. It also has a lopsided bonus structure for examiners that encourages quantity, not quality. While I was a trademark examiner, I could have made up to $20,000 per year in bonuses for the quantity of my work, but only about $3,000 dollars for the quality of my work. Does that make any sense if you do not want stupid patents and trademarks being issued!?!

The USPTO has implemented a new strategic plan that will restructure how the PTO handles both patent and trademark applications. Most people in the field believe that this restructuring will increase pendency and decrease quality. You can read the PTO's annual reports [uspto.gov] and the 21st Century Strategic Plan" [uspto.gov]

So it should be no surprise that filings are going way up and pendency is going way up along with it... and that more mistakes are made and more garbage gets through. It also should come as no surprise that the PTO has a vested interest in making sure people believe that they can file applications on their own. So it offers "online filing", "online searching" and other tools that are really a poor substitute for having a complete search done by an attorney (or a patent agent). There is no question that some people don't want to put out the money for a professional search, and are willing to chance the money they lose in filing fees. That's fine. There are also those who earnestly get the impression that all they have to do is "file an application" and they will get a registration. Like most things in life (and especially with the government), it rarely works that way.

-A

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