Commissioner John J. Doll
Commissioner for Patents
P.O. Box 1450
Alexandria, VA 22313-1450
Dear Commissioner Doll,
This is a formal complaint against the
following USPTO employees:
Examiner Chirag R. Patel (Group 2141) for malfeasance;
SPE Rupal Dharia (Group 2141) for malfeasance and nonfeasance;
Group Supervisor Jack B. Harvey (Group 2100) for nonfeasance;
This is concerning Application 09/947,801 Distributed Computing System filed September 6, 2001. I am the inventor and pro se applicant.
The application was docketed to five Examiners. The First Office Action was issued by Examiner Chirag R. Patel on January 26, 2005.
My patent activities go back to 1977. I have 15 U.S. patents. I have successfully prosecuted my last several patents entirely pro se. I have never before been treated by an Examiner with such a disregard for the Patent Office's own rules, not to mention the discourtesy and duplicitous behavior exhibited by Examiner Patel and SPE Dharia.
1. Examiner Patel refuses to follow the Patent Office Rules, feels free to make up his own Rules, and has acted duplicitously in two telephone interviews.
Examiner Patel’s malfeasance is detailed in my August 10 fax to Group Director Peter Wong, which is attached to this complaint.
2. SPE Dharia’s nonfeasance consists of being completely unavailable both to me and, it appears, to Examiner Patel.
a. My numerous attempts to contact SPE Dharia were unsuccessful. SPE Dharia has not answered his phone or responded to phone messages.
b. SPE Dharia failed to be present for a scheduled conference telephone. Primary Examiner Frantz Jean (from Group 2151) was pressed into service. Unfortunately, PE Jean was unfamiliar with the case. Previously, Examiner Patel had asked PE Nabil El Hady for help.
c. A telephone interview with SPE Dharia was eventually held but only after I sent Group Director Peter Wong a fax and then spoke with him.
3. SPE Dharia’s malfeasance consists of being completely unable or unwilling to understand even the simplest logical argument. My summary of the August 25 Telephone Interview is attached. I am beginning to wonder if I am being used as a Training Example, possibly because I am a pro se Applicant. Or perhaps Examiner Patel feels I am an easy way for him to get more counts.
4. Group Supervisor Jack B. Harvey’s nonfeasance consists of being completely unavailable. My numerous attempts to contact him have been unsuccessful. He has not answered his phone or responded to phone messages.
I note that Examiner Patel’s name does not appear on any issued patents so he is apparently a new Examiner. I also note that in GAO Report to Congressional Committees June 2005 INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY - USPTO Has Made Progress in Hiring Examiners, but Challenges to Retention Remain (Report Page 24, PDF page 28):
Managers and examiners told us that examiners usually become fully proficient in conducting patent application reviews in about 4 to 6 years.
and from PDF page 2:
USPTO faces three long-standing challenges that could also undermine its efforts to retain a qualified workforce: the lack of an effective strategy to communicate and collaborate with examiners; outdated assumptions in the production quotas it uses to reward examiners; and the lack of required ongoing technical training for examiners. According to patent examiners, the lack of communication and a collaborative work environment has resulted in low morale and an atmosphere of distrust that is exacerbated by the contentious relationship between management and union officials. Also, managers and examiners have differing opinions on the need to update the monetary award system that is based on assumptions that were established in 1976. As a result, examiners told us they have to contend with a highly stressful work environment and work voluntary overtime to meet their assigned quotas. Similarly, managers and examiners disagree on the need for required ongoing technical training. Examiners said they need this training to keep current in their technical fields, while managers believe that reviewing patent applications is the best way for examiners to remain current.
In this case, Examiner Patel’s training is being done at my expense. This is unacceptable.
There is a solution to this. The Inventors Assistance Center (IAC) is staffed by many great retired (and experienced) Examiners. I recommend that you hire more of them to work part-time to mentor the new Examiners. As such they should not be subject to the productivity metrics that may have caused many of them to retire. The new Examiners should have the same opportunity to benefit from the experience of these retired Examiners that Independent Inventors have.
Unfortunately, that will not help with the current problem.
My deadline for filing a Notice of Appeal is September 15.
I do not feel that I should have to spend money and lose the enormous amount of time that the Appeal will require just so BPAI will send the application back to Examiner Patel and SPE Dharia with the instruction to, ”Do it again, and this time follow the Rules.”
If I do not hear from you by September
9, I will file a Notice of Appeal. However, I will also make a rather large,
public stink about how I am being mistreated by the Patent Office. (That’s
the same Patent Office that writes such glowing articles about itself and
how friendly it is to Independent Inventors.)
I will suggest to Congressman Lamar Smith, Congressman Howard Berman, Senator Orrin Hatch, Senator Patrick Leahy, and others that allowing the USPTO to keep all of its User fees may be a mistake because you are using it to hire more Examiners than you can properly train and supervise.
Commissioner, I do not commit to this course of action lightly. I do so only because the problems at the Patent Office appear to be serious enough to require the actions of the Congressional committees that oversee it.
My preference is that this matter be handled
by the Patent Office. Unfortunately, I do not see any procedures in place
for handling matters of this type. By now the well has been poisoned and
I do not believe there is any way for me to get a fair treatment from the
I hope to hear from you before September
pro se Inventor
enc: Fax to Group Director Wong
Summary of Telephone Interview of 8/25/05