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rj22
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Re: Final Office Action
« Reply #5 on: Mar 23rd, 2007, 3:47am »
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Thanks for the comments.
 
I was only told "you have two months to respond because it is a final". I thought I must be missing something important about the normal progress of prosecution. Your answers reassure me that this is only useful in special circumstances.
 
Anyway, the examiner has had my amendment after final for about 6 weeks now, and no advisory action. I may just go ahead and file a RCE before any advisory action is mailed, to avoid the late fees.
 
rj
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TataBoxInhibitor
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Re: Final Office Action
« Reply #6 on: Mar 23rd, 2007, 4:16am »
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on Mar 22nd, 2007, 9:51am, JimIvey wrote:

Now, examiner's don't really have direct authority to allow cases.  Oftentimes, the case goes through various levels of administrative review prior to being allowed.  So, the perception I have is that examiners really don't want to allow cases because of all the bureaucratic headaches it entails.  So, right now, it's rather useless to talk to the examiner -- they don't have final authority like they used to.
Regards.

 
I have to admit, I am not entirely clear on the process within the USPTO as to granting applications and the authority of Examiners.  Who has the authority to allow cases now?  The Supervisor? Is the process different if the case is allowed during non-final?
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JimIvey
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Re: Final Office Action
« Reply #7 on: Mar 23rd, 2007, 8:27am »
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on Mar 23rd, 2007, 4:16am, TataBoxInhibitor wrote:
I have to admit, I am not entirely clear on the process within the USPTO as to granting applications and the authority of Examiners.  Who has the authority to allow cases now?  The Supervisor? Is the process different if the case is allowed during non-final?

Here's my tale of woe:
 
October 2005.  In-person interview with the examiner -- a new examiner after 4 non-final Office Actions.  All that remained was Section 101 issues.  At the risk of giving away too much, her nickname in the PTO was "Miss 101" and, since I had been involved with computer-implemented applications since 1991, we immediately came to agreement and all was beautiful.
 
Later October 2005.  I submit the essence of our interview in paper and eagerly await a Notice of Allowance.
 
March 2006: I place a telephone call to ask for the whereabouts of my Notice of Allowance.  "I won't get to it for 6 to 8 weeks."
 
May 2006:  "I won't get to it for 6 to 8 weeks"  Huh?  "2 more examiners quit and I got their caseloads."
 
Ah, but you see, my case is easy and it will be an easy "count".  We met, we agreed, all that remains is Section 101 stuff and that's easy for Miss 101, right?  Not quite.  You see, if she were to allow the case, she would first have to convene a meeting with herself, her SPE, and one other (another SPE, I think).  They're hard to get ahold of because they're always in these meetings about allowing cases.  (a bottleneck in the bureaucracy there)  
 
Then, if that groups decides to allow the case, she must convene a second meeting of three -- the "second pair of eyes program in the PTO."  Those people are even harder to get into meetings.  That represents yet another bottleneck.  
 
So, if you want a quick response from the Patent Office, it absolutely must be a rejection.  Those aren't vetted for any sort of quality issues.  Examiners can more or less reject on any grounds they like.  But it practically takes an act of Congress to get a case allowed.
 
Prologue:  Late 2006.  New examiner.  New rejection.  New rejection (3rd) on Section 101 grounds.  So, having two other examiners say Section 101 was satisfied means that you must find a 3rd examiner who can think of another reason to reject under 101 or who disagrees with one of the other examiners who thought differently.
 
If the PTO's job is to reject all patent applications, it's functioning perfectly well.  If you read propaganda by anti-patent lobbies, you'll read 10-15 stupid applications/patents and conclude that all 7 million of them are crap and will like that assessment of the PTO.  
 
However, if you think that the patent system, in some significant way, encourages innovation and serves the purpose for which is was created only one year into our constitutional government here, it's a bit alarming that examination isn't conducted in a more professional and effective manner.
 
Manufacturing jobs are way down worldwide.  Technology jobs are way up worldwide.  This is a fundamental shift in global economics -- no less significant than how the industrial revolution altered the aggricultural industry.  Should the US foster and encourage innovation?  You decide.  You vote, right?  
 
The two things that seem to have the most impact on how well we innovate here in the US are public education and the Patent Office.  Perhaps there are others that some can think of, but I'd say those are no less than 2 of the top 3.
 
My perception is that both of those are suffering and there appears to be little, if any, political will to really and truly address that suffering adequately.
 
Regards.
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James D. Ivey
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