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Monday, December 8, 2014

Stalling Patents

U.S. Government Has a Secret System for Stalling Patents
December 3, 2014, Yahoo Tech
https://www.yahoo.com/tech/the-u-s-government-has-a-secret-system-for-104249688314.html

Entrepreneurs and established companies alike depend on the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Newly released documents reveal that the office, tasked with evaluating and protecting the rights to intellectual property, has a covert system for delaying controversial or inconvenient patents. It's a system that ... could function as a way to limit or stomp out emerging companies. Before today, the program — named the Sensitive Application Warning System (SAWS) — has been mentioned only anecdotally by examiners who work in or with the office, and in a government memo that was leaked in March 2006. However, a new 50-page document obtained by a law firm's Freedom of Information Act request shows the sweeping scope and conflicting interests of this particular set of rules. The law firm behind the request, Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP, frequently represents major tech companies, including Apple, Google, Twitter, and Oracle. For Thomas Franklin, a partner at Kilpatrick Townsend, applications that he prosecutes typically issue as patents 22 months after filing. Any application that is categorized in SAWS, however ... can be delayed for years. There is no official channel to notify an applicant once her patent is placed in the system. Franklin told Yahoo Tech., "That's what piqued my interest as a constitutional issue. There's a secret program that they're not supposed to talk about."

Note: When the government has a "property interest" in any patent application, it may be rejected, stolen, or classified according to secret criteria. Among new energy technology researchers, it is well known that the patent office can block patents of amazing inventions that could cost oil and energy companies billions of dollars. Read this excellent summary for more on this.


 


 

 

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