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XMNR
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Except that you will still have to be part of one of the telecommuting programs to be able to take the laptop home. An examiner might have a laptop but it will be chained to their desk. Unless they qualify and have been accepted into the laptop program, the telework program, etc. they won't have the combination to remove it.
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I have to agree with TheBobs, Herbert and xmnr (who is neither me nor my little brother). My anecdotal experience is that since the downturn, applicants are MUCH more likely to make a substantial amendment, which often leads to an allowance. Also, my level of knowledge of my art--I've been here for about 5 years--has risen to the point that I am better able to recognize unclaimed patentable subject matter, search it, and offer it as an examiner's amendment. The fact that the Office now gives me an hour to conduct an examiner initiated interview to suggest the amendment doesn't hurt either.
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Ned Heller: "Twenty years from filing expiration dates today largely confine the relevancy of terminal disclaimers to drug patents. Most divisionals will expire on the same day as the parent." Doesn't a terminal disclaimer also bind the patents such that they cannot be sold/licensed separately and therefore end up with cross-infringement?
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6 said: "So change it to fri at 5, not sat at 12. Why half as everything we do here?" First, MVS - thanks for setting 6 straight on reviewing cases. 6, dude, the bi-week ends at midnight Saturday. You are allowed to work regular examining hours on Saturday. Therefore, the deadline is midnight Saturday. They couldn't make it before that or POPA would (rightly) scream their heads off.
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"If an examiner does a thorough search of the invention at first action, the chances that an RCE will be necessary diminish greatly." Not only that, who can disagree (with a straight face) that RCEs are way, way, way easier to work than a new FAOM? I think the added time makes up for the diminished RCE count, although I may be in a low RCE art compared to some. I know that in my five years here, I have only one case that went to a third RCE and one that went to a fourth, and in that case the fourth was in order to get references from a foreign search considered of an already allowed case (in a other words a *very* easy two counts.
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Two potential problems for prosecutors: 1. RCEs will be going on our "Special New" docket, rather than our "Regular Amended" docket. Regular amended cases have a two-month deadline for examiner action (one-month for those of us trying for the pendency reduction bonus). Examiner's must work their oldest "special new" case every other bi-week (each bi-week for the pendency reduction bonus). This plus the reduced count total for RCE cases will mean increased pendency for those applications. 2. Added incentive to go 'Final' will mean (more) improper final rejections. Currently there is incentive to go 'final' since it moves the case toward disposal and a count, but the gratification is delayed and the time spent on the instant action isn't getting anything for the examiner. I would imagine that more examiners will make second actions final improperly under the new scheme in order to get the fractional count. I hope the PTO is prepping for more withdrawal of finality petitions.
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"I hope I am wrong, but I don't think he is negotiating with the Examiners about the counts. I think he is giving you one last chance to "get with the program"." I think the negotiations are done. The committee was equal parts management and POPA officers, so my guess if the rank-and-file will take it as blessed by POPA and ratify. But what does happen if POPA membership fails to ratify? Also, any predictions on the increase in dues-paying membership (which makes one eligible to vote)?
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Dennis said Re: restriction practice: "In that scenario, the examiner can earn multiple counts for reexamining what are essentially identical inventions." Restricting identical inventions is improper (I'm not saying is isn't done, I'm just saying that nobody says it is correct). If there is a problem with improper restrictions, we don't need new rules, we need enforcement of the current rules. My understanding is that part of QR's mandate on in-process review is improper restrictions.
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"And why on earth he would move the cutoff to sat night I have no idea about." Midnight Saturday is the end of the bi-week. They're trying to diminish the biweekly end loading. "How can they predict which cases will get an RCE and which won't? Or will it all be determined retroactively at the end of the quarter?" The presentation says the additional examining time (in order to ensure a net at least one hour per BD increase) will be determined by the examiner's FY09 mix of actions.
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"If you bothered to read my comment you might understand why this is a less than wonderful suggestion." I did read your comment. A primary familiar with the art would be able to advise you as to how strictly to interpret "solution" in your situation.
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"Everyday nonsense I get to put up with. What to do, what to do?" How about - consult with a primary examiner in TC 1600 or 1700, perhaps one with responsibility for Class 516 (Colloidal Systems), rather than an internet blog. Or do you cite Patently-O on your Search Notes?
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"The Examiner's "BRI" reads your claim element "using sodium chloride salt" onto a prior art process using a mixture of 50% sodium chloride, 30% sucrose, and 20% calcium carbonate. "How do you introduce the proposed narrowing amendment without also introducing new matter? --- If your claim read "...treat with a composition comprising sodium chloride salt..." then prior art disclosing sodium chloride, sucrose and calcium carbonate would read on it. So change to "consisting of" language or file a CIP so you can use "...consisting essentially of..."
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"If the PTO were to move to a low cost of living city, wouldn't the examiners' salaries be reduced under the "locality pay system"?" I understand that this is part of the reason for the 2-days(hours) reporting requirement for hotel-ers. By requiring reporting to the Office, the duty station remains Alexandria and locality pay is not an issue.
Toggle Commented Jul 16, 2009 on Office Actions at Patent Law Blog (Patently-O)
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"Office is not reviewing all allowances." I have to concur with this - I just had an allowance go from "counted not mailed" to "mailed" in a matter of hours. If someone post-reviewed it, they did is really fast.
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"Is the Office still indulging in the type II error propagation by second eyeing all allowances? Wasn't this put on hold due to the, ahem, budget constraints?" The "second pair of eyes" has always been transparent to me. When it started I was a junior and all my allowances were reviewed by my SPE anyway, so no difference (primaries were required to have an "allowance conference" prior to allowing a case). Since then, the conferences have been eliminated. I am led to believe (but have never had anyone in management explicitly spell out) that all allowances are counted and then reviewed (by SPE, QAS, I don't know) and then mailed if they "pass". This seems plausible to me as allowances seem to linger a little longer on the "Counted not Mailed" tab than other actions. I have never had an allowance bounced back to me after counting because whomever didn't like it, so I can't confirm the process. I've never questioned exactly what happens since I see it as a reasonable role of SPEs and QASs to review my work on an audit basis. Type II error propagation? Maybe, but I'm also led to understand that rejections are reviewed on an audit-basis as well. Word on the "street" is that there is going to be a shift (or already has been) from end-of-process (allowance) review to in-process (rejection) review. Is this a response to the hubbub over crappy rejections? A way of encouraging allowances and therefore fees? Beats me. Also, I have not heard anyone from management encouraging allowance of non-allowable subject matter, but then again I have never been told to not allow something I thought was allowable (except as a junior and then over what I feel were legitimate differences in opinion on the art/claims). I have also never heard a manager make a blanket statement that "nothing is allowable" or "this one will never issue" the like. I certainly don't mean to say this doesn't happen, maybe I just work in a charmed art unit. My allowance rate is up as of late, but I attribute that more to everyone getting comfortable with KSR and to applicants being currently more willing to make significant amendments after a rejection rather than get into an "argue and RCE" cycle. Is this due to applicant's budget constraints? I guess so, but don't know for sure. Bad for my counts from RCEs, but good for the backlog.
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"The work of assistant examiners is reviewed by primary examiners, and both are reviewed by supervisory patent examiners as well as quality control specialists." It should be noted that each action written by an assistant examiner is reviewed (and signed) by a primary. SPE (unless they are the primary) and QA review is much more limited -- "second pair of eyes" for allowances and enough review for performance management for SPEs and only audits of actions for RQAS. It is not like each action written by a junior is reviewed three times.
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