GAO: USPTO Hiring Won’t Reduce Backlog

Wednesday the Government Accountability Office released a report [Summary] [Full Report] that found “it is unlikely that the [Patent Office] will be able to reduce the growing backlog simply through its hiring efforts.” The report provided, “The agency has also estimated that if it were able to hire 2,000 patent examiners per year in fiscal year 2007 and each of the next 5 years, the backlog would continue to increase by about 260,000 applications, to 953,643 at the end of fiscal year 2011.” Therefore the report stated, “Despite its recent increases in hiring, the agency has acknowledged that it cannot hire its way out of the backlog and is now focused on slowing the growth of the backlog instead of reducing it.”

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Software and Information Industry Association Questions State Immunity

siia.jpgThe Software and Information Industry Association (SIIA) filed an amici curiae brief asking U.S. Supreme Court to hear a case where State sovereign immunity for patent infringement is at issue. The issue is whether a State waives its Eleventh Amendment immunity in patent infringement actions by regularly and voluntarily nvoking federal jurisdiction to enforce its own patent rights. The SIIA asserts that it is equitable for States to have immunity from damages for patent infringement while they are free to sue private sector organizations for violations of State held intellectual property rights. The SIIA joined the U.S. Camber of Commerce in filing the brief.

BMPG v. Calf Dept of Health Services, No. 07-956 [Docket Link] [SIIA Brief] [SIIA Press Release].…

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Intellectual Property Resources

European Patent Attorney Ralph Beier has compiled a massive list of links to intellectual property related websites worldwide. [link]

As of today he lists:

  • Intellectual Property Offices (110)
  • Intellectual Property Organizations (103)
  • IP Database Providers (22)
  • Official Registers and Databases (114)
  • Official Examination Guidelines and Publications (14)
  • IP Classifications Standards (4)
  • Official Gazettes (24)
  • Courts (58)
  • Texts of Legal Regulations (13)
  • Case Law Databases (11)

Ralph’s list is a great resource worthy of a place in any intellectual property attorney’s bookmark list.…

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Method of Rewarding Waiting Customers

ibmwaitingreward1.jpgA statement in a IBM patent application caught my eye and made me wonder whether the yet-to-be-released-results of the Federal Circuit’s en Banc rehearing of In re Bilski [Patently-O’s coverage] could effect the patentability of the claims in this application. In Bilski the court will consider, among other things, whether a method or process must result in a physical transformation of an article or be tied to a machine to be patent-eligible subject matter under section 101.

The IBM patent application involves a method of reducing waiting-customer dissatisfaction by monitoring a waiting queue, calculating rewards based on the wait, and communicating the reward to the customer. A customer may be waiting on the phone, or at recreational, restaurant or lodging facilities. The IBM application provides, “although the concepts of the …

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Google Seeks Patent on Chinese Spell Check Program

GoogleCNSpellPatAppA patent application, published on January 31, shows Google is continuing to develop for the Chinese market. The application discloses a program for spell checking non-Roman character based languages, such as Chinese, Japanese, and Korean. Although the summary of the invention section provides that the program may cover any non-Roman based language, the dependent claims show the application is focused on the Chinese language.

The program identifies potentially incorrect inputs, identifies alternatives, determines the proximity between the potentially incorrect input and the alternative, and computes probabilities of possible correct “word” based on the proximity measurement and optionally on a context of the possible conversion. Then it determines the most likely conversion from all the possible conversions.

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“Fault-Tolerant Romanized Input Method for Non-Roman Characters,” Wu et. al. (U.S.

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IBM Patent Application: Customized Client-Side Search Indexing of the Web

ibmclientsideindexpatapp.jpgA recently published application shows IBM seeking a patent on a client-side search indexing program that works in conjunction with a server based search index to provide a users with personalized search results. Search result personalization is a long sought after goal. Google personalized search attempts to provided user customized results by retaining user data on the server-side. However, others have sought client side solutions. Jaime Teevan, et al.’s article “Personalizing Search via Automated Analysis of Interests and Activities” demonstrates that personalized client-side algorithms can significantly improve on current Web search results. Demand for improved search methods will increase with the ever expanding amounts of data.…

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How to Admit or Exclude Prelimary Breathalyzer Results

IBJFeb08CoverThe February issue of the Illinois Bar Journal carries my article on “How to Admit or Exclude PBT Results” [Subscription Req.] [1]. PBTs are preliminary breath tests that are typically administered by the police on the scene of a traffic stop. The police use the results of a PBT as a factor to help establish probable cause to arrest a driver for driving under the influence of alcohol. PBTs are different and less reliable than the breath tests typically given at the police station—a.k.a. chemical tests—and therefore PBT results are treated differently than chemical test results. The article explains (1) when PBT results are admissible in court, (2) when the State is required to lay a foundation for their admission, and (3) what constitutes an adequate foundation.

This …

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3D Printing and the Future of Innovation

Guy Kawasaki pointed me to this video of Chris Anderson talking about the topic of his next book–"the emerging world of free." His discussion of 3D printing technology got me thinking about how it might create a new class of inventors and innovation.

3D Printing in the World of Free. At 14:57 in the video, Chris states that 3D printing technology is introducing aspects of free into the world of physical products. He says 3D printing makes complexity free. Traditionally every bit of complexity in an item added more cost. However, every additional level of detail and complexity–i.e. grove in the surface–in a 3D printed item is free. The additional complexity cost nothing; the 3D printer head just takes a different path to make the detail required.

Chris …

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