Steve Morsa writes:
Thought you/your readers might like to take a look at a lawsuit that myself and three like-minded brave souls just filed against the US Govt over their appointment of an unqualified 2nd in command to the critically important Patent and Trademark Office.
Given that trademark law is an important component in the domain space, it's pretty relevant to our business/es.
The govt continuing to appoint unqualifed "leaders" to the USPTO is only bad news for us and all innovators...
Here's what the WSJ says:
""UPDATE: U.S. Commerce Secretary Sued Over Patent Office Appointment
By Stuart Weinberg
Of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES
TORONTO (Dow Jones)--A group of inventors and patent lawyers have sued U.S. Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez, alleging his appointment of Margaret Peterlin as Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Deputy Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office was illegal and an abuse of discretionary power.
According to the suit, filed Monday in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, Congress amended the Patent Act in 1999 to require that the Director and Deputy Director of the USPTO each have "professional experience and background in patent or trademark law." Peterlin's appointment, announced May 8, violates the statute because she "lacks the requisite professional experience and background," the suit said. The suit was filed by Gregory Aharonian, a professional patent analyst and inventor; David Lentini, a patent lawyer and inventor; David Pressman, a patent lawyer; and Steve Morsa, an inventor. They are asking the court to order Gutierrez to dismiss Peterlin immediately and establish rules to assess what qualifies as a professional background and experience in patent or trademark law. They also want the court to order Gutierrez to appoint a replacement for Peterlin who fulfills those requirements.
According to the suit, the plaintiffs and other patent professionals sent a letter to Gutierrez dated May 26 requesting comment concerning the criteria used to identify candidates for the Deputy Director position. They also wanted to know how that criteria satisfied statutory requirements and how the appointment of Peterlin was justified under that criteria. As of July 9, the date the suit was filed, the plaintiffs have not received a response, the suit said. Representatives for Gutierrez weren't immediately available for comment.
According to the suit, the USPTO has suffered serious deterioration in the quality of issued patents and trademarks, the timeliness of examination and trademark applications, and the overall morale of patent and trademark examiners due to senior management who lack professional experience in patent and trademark law. Peterlin's appointment "perpetuates USPTO management's inability to handle egregious delays in processing patent applications and halt the decline in the quality of issued patents," the suit said.
The poor quality of patent examinations harms Aharonian and Morsa by forcing them to pay from thousands to tens of thousands of dollars in fees to argue "spurious rejections" of their patent applications, the suit said. Suit Alleges Peterlin Not Qualified For Position.The suit alleges, among other things, that Peterlin has never drafted or prosecuted a patent or trademark application and never managed professionals who work in the patent, trademark, or information management fields.
Before joining the USPTO, Peterlin was Counsel for Legal Policy and National Security Advisor for the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, Dennis Hastert, according to biographical information on the USPTO's Web site. In this role, she advised Hastert, House and Senate leadership, and senior staff on legislative policy and strategy, including judiciary issues such as intellectual property protection, the Web site said.
Peterlin also served as general counsel to Richard Armey, majority leader of the House of Representatives, the Web site said. She clerked on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals for Judge Jerry Smith and also served as an officer in the U.S. Navy for four years, working in the communications field, the Web site said. She holds a bachelor of arts degree from the College of the Holy Cross and earned a law degree cum laude from the University of Chicago, the Web site said.
"Margaret Peterlin is well qualified for her job as Deputy Under Secretary and Deputy Director, having had direct involvement in oversight of the USPTO and every piece of patent, trademark, and copyright-related legislation considered on the House floor over the past five years,"the USPTO said in an emailed statement. "We will not comment further due to the pending litigation."
Intellectual property has become more central to the U.S. economy in recent years, as innovation supplants manufacturing as a key driver of economic growth. The number of patent applications has soared, climbing to nearly 444,000 in 2006 from 206,000 a decade ago. The deluge is at least partly responsbile for delays in processing patent applications, but Aharonian isn't prepared to cut the USPTO any slack. Reached for comment Wednesday, Aharonian said the increase in patent applications makes it that much more important for the USPTO to have qualified managers in place to handle the massive flow of information. He said the USPTO has a long history of mismanagement at the senior level. This has led to strained relations with patent examiners and a "multi-year" inability to supply examiners with the computing tools needed to process patent applications in a timely manner. "The people at the top level of the patent office don't have any experience with these types of managerial issues," he said. "So how can you expect any of them to solve the problems?"
-Stuart Weinberg, Dow Jones Newswires; 416-306-2026;
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
Copyright (c) 2007 Dow Jones &Company, Inc.""
Here's what my area Scripps newspaper says:
And here's the actual lawsuit:
***FS*** Thanks a bunch Steve .. Anything that makes the USPTO stronger is good for America and good for all individual and commercial domain name registrants, inventors and entrepreneurs. Good luck with your action.. I hope it achieves those goals.