Print 18 comment(s) - last by aharris02.. on Dec 13 at 11:26 AM

Michelle Lee  (Source:
Her role begins January 13, 2014

An ex-Googler will now head the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) until it can find a new director. 
According to a new report from Yahoo News, former Google executive Michelle Lee has been made deputy director of the USPTO. She is currently head of the U.S. patent office's Silicon Valley outpost. 
Before that, Lee was a former deputy general counsel and head of patents and patent strategy at Google.
Lee is stepping in due to former USPTO director David Kappos leaving in February, and acting director Teresa Stanek Rea also recently leaving. 
Lee will start her new role January 13, 2014, and it's not clear when a permanent director will take her place.
But Lee has quite an agenda for her time as director, noting that she plans to "attack" the backlog of unexamined patents (which is at about 590,070 applications right now) and work to improve patent quality with a new inter partes review system
Lee also wants to get a better handle on "frivolous" patent infringement lawsuits, and while Google happens to be apart of that crowd, Lee said that wouldn't affect her work. 
"None of the policy positions of my former employers has guided my work," said Lee. "I certainly would be very welcoming of everybody's input."

Source: Yahoo News

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Free advice
By Motoman on 12/12/2013 10:51:51 AM , Rating: 3
Here's what you need to do in just 5 easy steps:

1. Take the current patent system, including all existing patents and patent laws, and throw it away.

2. Create a new system whereby only actually new & novel inventions are granted patents. And only by rigorous review by subject-matter experts.

3. Craft new patent laws that leave no room for patent trolling.

4. ???

5. Profit.

RE: Free advice
By retrospooty on 12/12/2013 11:05:38 AM , Rating: 2
LOL... I always love your commen sense take on things... I dont know that it would work in the real world but it would be nice if it did.

At the very least they need to stop granting patents before the patents are reviewed and make some clear rules about software... Simply doing the same thing slightly different than a previous invention should never be patent-able. Possibly stopping patents on all software would be a good idea. NZ did it.

RE: Free advice
By Motoman on 12/12/2013 11:18:28 AM , Rating: 2
I will admit that it's hard to deal with the IP of software...and of course there's still copyright in addition to patents.

I think software should probably be treated more like a copyrighted book. Which is to say, I wrote a bunch of code that looks like [this] and you can't just copy & paste it for your own use without giving due credit. At least that's my first inclination.

And to give a painfully simplistic example, if someone writes some code with an if-then-else statement that does something, and you find a way to write a for-do loop that does the same thing? Then patent and no copyright was involved. Even if the thing you managed to make happen was to make icons bounce naturally on a some other smartphone already did.

RE: Free advice
By retrospooty on 12/12/2013 11:24:55 AM , Rating: 2
Yup... And simple concepts like bounce animations, icons, and rewording the old patent for "a capacitive screen" shouldn't be allowed. It just makes companies flood the patent office with ridiculous patents and then they don't have time to thoroughly review them because they are overwhelmed with submissions. Govt. in action. Ugh...

RE: Free advice
By aharris02 on 12/12/2013 5:47:09 PM , Rating: 2
I'm generally against software patents as well, but there's always that one nagging question that makes me take pause:

I agree that they're a bane for simple concepts, but what about for complex software concepts?

If a software concept & solution is complex, takes an inordinate amount of time to research, and truly hasn't been done before, what then? Should companies not have the ability to protect something that's truly innovative?

RE: Free advice
By Reclaimer77 on 12/12/2013 6:19:30 PM , Rating: 1
Should companies not have the ability to protect something that's truly innovative?

That depends. Are they profiting from products or just camping on the patents and trolling with them?

RE: Free advice
By JediJeb on 12/13/2013 11:20:01 AM , Rating: 2
Should be a change to state that if you or a licensee don't produce product within two years, the patent is nullified and the idea becomes public domain.

RE: Free advice
By aharris02 on 12/13/2013 11:26:53 AM , Rating: 2
Not a bad idea, but that won't pass the pharmaceutical IP lobby since they often patent a product and have to spend 7 more years in R&D before the product actually makes it to the market.

Unfortunately they influence a lot of what happens with IP in this country. :\

RE: Free advice
By aharris02 on 12/13/2013 11:24:23 AM , Rating: 2
Good question. IMO patents should only be granted, deemed valid, and be licensable if the owning company is actually using them or has made a good-faith attempt to use them in commerce and failed.

RE: Free advice
By DrizztVD on 12/12/2013 11:40:37 AM , Rating: 2
Yep. Most countries don't actually allow for software patents. It's not necessary because no one can see the source code if you don't show it to them. So the first step would be to invalidate all software patents.

RE: Free advice
By Reclaimer77 on 12/12/2013 12:43:50 PM , Rating: 3
I like your ideas here Moto (don't faint).

But the problem as I see it is time: They don't have enough.

The patent office is flooded with direct submissions. They're overwhelmed. I suspect many of these patents have been granted because there simply is no time to thoroughly evaluate them all.

We need to come up with a system so that ONLY patents that meet these qualifiers even make it into the hands of the patent office workers in the first place. So they have ample time to evaluate them.


RE: Free advice
By Reclaimer77 on 12/12/2013 12:45:29 PM , Rating: 2
p.s. I just saw after I posted this that Retro said the same thing about being overwhelmed. Doh.

RE: Free advice
By Arkive on 12/12/2013 1:44:10 PM , Rating: 3

I can see you legitmately want reform as much as any of us, but forgive my trolling response of, "Wha?!"

Why abandon all existing patents? What about those businesses who legitmately rely on the patents they have to stay alive? Also, you propose SME's reviewing every patent. Sure, but who's going to pay to keep SME's on staff for every conceivable field/discipline? Part three I agree with wholeheartedly and is the bulk of the issue with the existing patent system.

RE: Free advice
By Motoman on 12/12/2013 2:03:50 PM , Rating: 2
1. In order to weed out the, um, weeds, you're going to have to go through everything anyway. Everybody who wants to have a patent...or preserve an existing patent...needs to re-apply.

2. As to who's going to pay the SMEs...we are. Just like we pay for all government employees. We're currently paying a bunch of abject retards to do this job...and they suck at it and the patent system is a sh1thole. If we have to pay more money to better-qualified people so that the system won't be a sh1thole, then that's the way it works. and it may not necessarily be a need to keep them on staff for every concievable topic...frankly, I could imagine that there'd be a way to "draft" such people on an as-needed basis, not dissimilar from how jury duty works. Only they'd have to make it suck less than jury duty.

RE: Free advice
By Motoman on 12/12/2013 2:04:47 PM , Rating: 2
Further to #2 I guess...ultimately the issue is that if you're not going to bother having properly-qualified people reviewing patent applications, then what is the point?

RE: Free advice
By JediJeb on 12/13/2013 11:26:48 AM , Rating: 2
A good way to help pay for the new system is to make a patent an ongoing charge. Have an initial low cost to file, but then after it is approved give the USPTO a royalty fee. If you patent something worth $100,000,000 then it should be worth something to keep it.

It is the same thing the patent trolls try to do by sitting on their patents then charging everyone else who comes up with something close to it with infringement. Why not hit them where it hurts too.

RE: Free advice
By tamalero on 12/12/2013 2:28:54 PM , Rating: 2
6.- Have it taken down and smashed by lobbying companies (specifically Apple who Obama loves so much).

7.- End in a desktop job in a tiny town in Alaska for daring to try to fix the "system".

Elop part 2
By Lord 666 on 12/12/2013 2:56:42 PM , Rating: 3
Sounds like a Manchurian Candidate to me.

"Paying an extra $500 for a computer in this environment -- same piece of hardware -- paying $500 more to get a logo on it? I think that's a more challenging proposition for the average person than it used to be." -- Steve Ballmer

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