Friday, August 1, 2008

USPTO forces patent examiners to issue dumb rejections

Patent lawyer John Starsiak, in an online article with Genetic Engineering News ( makes an interesting observation: Virtually all of the problems of the U.S. Patent system, including the high cost of obtaining a patent can be attributed to examiners issuing improper "bogus" rejections. While I know this is true from my experience as a patent examiner, ... Nice confirmation from a former examiner. ... I performed a survey {using the PTO's Patent Application Information Retrieval (PAIR) system} of the 50 most recently issued patents classified in Class 435, Chemistry: Molecular Biology and Microbiology. In 76% of these patents, the examiner indicated in the first Office action that there was no allowable subject matter, i.e. none of the claims are patentable. Are the abilities of patent attorneys so low that over 75% of patent applications as filed do not contain at least one allowable claim? Or are the examiners writing "bogus" rejections? The answer is the latter. Currently a "culture of rejection" controls the operation of the PTO. Good questions. Congress should have a hearing on excessive rejections.