back to article Google's patent chief slammed the US patent office – now she's the agency's acting director

Google's former head of patents and patent strategy Michelle Lee has been appointed as deputy director of the US Patent and Trademark Office and will run the troubled agency until a new director is named, the USPTO announced on Wednesday. Speaking at a conference at Stanford University in 2007, Lee said that the US patent system …

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Anonymous Coward

Trojan horse.

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Wouldn't be the first (see Yahoo, Nokia).

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@ Fihart: Wouldn't be the first (see Yahoo, Nokia).

"Wouldn't be the first (see Yahoo, Nokia)."

"Yahoo, Nokia"? Fuck that. See Andrew McLaughlin.

http://insidegoogle.com/2010/12/ex-googler-leaves-the-white-house/

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> And the quality of patents coming out – it could be better.

Spoken like.....someone looking for the position.

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Another kick in the..

balls for the Microsoft/Apple patent trolling

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Some sanity soon

The US Supremes are about to hear a case on software patents. Hopefully they'll just broadly outlaw them all together. That would be sweet.

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@Mikel: Re: Some sanity soon

"The US Supremes are about to hear a case on software patents. Hopefully they'll just broadly outlaw them all together. That would be sweet."

"Sweet" but only because Google is built on one and only one patent: the Page Rank patent. So if patents were outlawed, there would go Google's $50bn/year extortion racket right down the toilet.

But then how ever would Google pay that "laundry list" of shills and Google Tools that you trust to look after your interests, eh? (Eighth post down on http://forums.theregister.co.uk/forum/1/2012/08/24/google_amended_shills_list/ )

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Re: @Mikel: Some sanity soon

Do you really think that Google actually needs that patent anymore? It has a strong brand and the patent isn't overly related to how it ranks pages _now_

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If the patent office was tougher on BS patents, then companies wouldn't submit BS patents just to be knocked back and thus less backlog and a net result of better quality patents

When they allow the patenting of the obvious, more and more people patent the obvious and go into the trolling business for a quick buck.

The patent office made this rod for their own back.....

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Mayhaps a better solution

would be additional charges for failure. As a bad example with figures from the air.

A patent costs £500 to register

Instead of charging the £500, double the fee to £1000. If the patent is successful, the extra £500 is returned to the inventor etc, if the patent fails, the money remains with the USPTO as a "you wasted our time and yours" fee. I bet that'd also encourage the USPTO to be a bit less lenient with which patents they allow.

Then again I'd also like to see them completely remove software design patents, and limit software patents in general to specific algorithms or proceses, rather tahn "A device that puts stuff somewhere"

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Re: Mayhaps a better solution

Its an idea.. but maybe have patent fees based on company value? i.e. if your Apple each application costs you $10Million, but if your an individual, its just $100?

That way the little guy is not screwed, but the rich guy is incentivised to only patent what they can make a profit on and NOT to patent tiny things that are of no real value to anyone....

Oh and if a patent is used in court to sue, 10% of the award should go to the USPTO but if a patent is overturned in court, the USPTO should be forced to fork out compensation to the victim of the lawsuit....

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While in principle a very good idea...

It is important that the quality of patents be improved, and vastly improved. But an ex-Googler is not someone I would trust to do it.

Relatedly, I would not want to see anyone working in any capacity, let alone a leadership or policy-making position, for the USPTO unless they agree not to work for any other patent-originating or owning entity for at least five years after leaving the USPTO. (Obviously such a contractual undertaking would need to be worded far more carefully than I have done here but the gist should be clear.)

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Backlog ?

Nobody asks the question. Why is there a backlog ??? Perhaps it's because the patents office hasn't been allocated the resources to do it's job ??? Amerikan antipathy to government is a well established majority opinion formulated as "starve the beast then drown it in the bathtub". Unless of course it's the NSA conducting "Total Information Awareness" or the Department of "Defense" conducting endless foreign wars of aggression !!!

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Re: Backlog ?

The weird thing is that the patent office, like the post office, is supposed to be revenue neutral. So in theory, it should be a simple matter of setting the price to file a patent correctly so that the fee actually pays for people who have to review it.

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Backlog!

More please! This is one of the few things the USPTO does well. I look forward to the backlog getting big enough for patents to expire before they are granted.

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Re: Backlog ?

Yes..

Unless the money is siphoned off into the general government kitty that is.

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Re: Backlog!

How can something expire before existing? Think about that one.

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Re: Backlog ?

Amerikan antipathy to government is a well established majority opinion formulated as "starve the beast then drown it in the bathtub". Unless of course it's the NSA conducting "Total Information Awareness" or the Department of "Defense" conducting endless foreign wars of aggression !!!

You need to understand where that antipathy comes from. It comes from voting against the party that started the problem of expanding the NSA and starting wars of aggression and for the party that railed against those things only to have them not only fully embrace those positions once they were handed the crown but expanding them and beginning ever more expansive and expensive pseudo-populist programs.

In short it's because the current two party cartel in which each has chosen a very small subset of 'hot button' issues to differ their respective platforms and polarize the public with the help of an obedient fourth estate and each party candidate is a special interest owned lying elitist.

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Anonymous Coward

slam bam thank you ma'am

'GOOGLE'S PATENT CHIEF SLAMMED THE PATENT OFFICE ...'

"The Patent Office is overburdened," she said. "The volume of patents going in is huge. And the quality of patents coming out – it could be better."

Slammed ? Slammed you say ?

Look I understand journalists take daily hyperbole supplements but really - this is more like gently brushing with a kipper.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: slam bam thank you ma'am

'Look I understand journalists take daily hyperbole supplements but really - this is more like gently brushing with a kipper."

Yeah, smells appetizing for the first week or two and then you know what happens...

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Big Brother

So... lady who complains about the USPTO, giving all the right moans is put in charge of USPTO?

This sounds like too much of a sensible decision... I am suspicious...

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Big Brother

INSIDIOUS

Goggles tentacles are fuckin everywhere.

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"the ability and extent to which software can be patented"

That's easy : nil. Nowhere. None. There is nothing done in software which justifies a patent. A copyright, sure, but not a patent.

And as for non-practicing entities, they can fuck right off out of the tribunal. If they're not practicing, they have no right to burden the economy with lawsuits.

My solution to patent trolls is simple : what they stand to gain should be based directly on how much money they lost in sales. Not selling anything ? No loss, get out.

And do not pass Go.

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Re: "the ability and extent to which software can be patented"

You patent an "invention" which apparently can be a product or a process. Last time I checked processes can be implemented in software, so in a generic sense there is no reason that software and patents cannot co-exist, or that processes implemented in software are capable of violating a patent.

I do however strongly agree that the already extant tests of "obviousness" and "prior art" are not followed anywhere near rigourously enough for the vast majority of stuff filed by certain large corporations. "Sliding bolts but on a phone" is a case in point, there being physical prior art for several centuries and it being an obvious concept to anyone familiar with using physical locks as present on gates or doorways.

I'm pretty sure patents were never intended to allow people to monetise re-inventing existing products or processes, they are intended to protect novel products and processes.

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Re: "the ability and extent to which software can be patented"

So while you could not patent an improved mathematical algorithm for, say, solving the general transportation problem in linear time, you should be able to patent a device containing a logic interpreter controlled by a list of instructions to do so?

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