USPTO to double number of patent examiners

The Director of the US Patent Office has announced that the Office will recruit an extra 1,000 examiners over the next five years according to the Milwaukee Business Journal. This will represent a doubling of the Office’s examiner caucus [it’s not often that an English person gets the excuse to use that word]. It is hoped that this recruitment drive will help the Office to deal with its 600,000 patent backlog.

The IPKat says more power to the US Patent Office – so long as the patent fees don’t double to pay the new examiners’ salaries.

Is WIPO harming developing countries?

The Financial Times reports that Consumers International, an NGO, is claiming that developing countries are suffering as a result of implementing more stringent copyright laws than their international obligations demand. In particular, Consumers International alleges that the developing countries are being given bad advice by WIPO. This advice is allegedly being re-enforced by misleading WIPO model laws which include clauses that go further than countries’ international obligations and which fail to include permitted flexibilities and exemptions from protection. The problem is said to be particularly acute in the field of exemptions for educational use. According to CI:

“As a result, copyrighted educational materials in these countries are expensive and consumers are being priced out of access to knowledge.”

The IPKat says that these are serious charged indeed. He hopes that WIPO will make it crystal clear to all countries (including those who do not necessarily have the funds for expert legal counsel in the field of copyright) which of its policy statements correspond to legal obligations and which are recommendations only.
INSTITUTIONAL ROUND-UP INSTITUTIONAL ROUND-UP Reviewed by Unknown on Monday, February 20, 2006 Rating: 5


Anonymous said...

It is to be hoped, although I fear in vain, that the USPTO recruits examiners who are able to read and write in English. Additionally, it may be hoped that existed senior examiners have the time to train and supervise the new examiners so that the steep decline in examination quality may be halted.

Anonymous said...

The phrase including the words pot, kettle and black comes to mind when reading the above comment.

The USPTO has a serious retention problem due to trained examiners leaving to become highly paid attorneys. One solution would be to increase the salaries of the examiners though I am sure this would lead to squeals of complaint from the customers. Not much chance of a solution then.

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