Every so often the IPKat receives a piece of email which, he suspects, was not primarily addressed to him. One such item is a circular email received from Gaurav Goel, a Registered Patent Agent in the United States. The circular reads as follows:
"PLEASE WRITE TO YOUR CONGRESSIONAL REPRESENTATIVES! [The IPKat wishes he had some. Fictional felines sadly are unrepresented in even the most generous of democracies ...] SEND THIS FORM LETTER ABOUT ILLEGAL OUTSOURCING OF PATENT APPLICATIONS!The IPKat would dearly like to know more about this in terms of the governing US law, also taking into account the economic and moral arguments for and against the outsourcing. Please feel free to post your comments below.
Re: Blatent Disregard or Violation of U.S. Commerce and Trade Regulations by Outsourcing of Patent Applications
Dear Congressman / Congresswoman / Rep. / Sen. ____________________:
I am writing to seek your legislative initiative to stop the unlawful export of subject matter of U.S. patent applications being prepared abroad for filing in the U.S.A.
Exporting subject matter for the purposes of filing a U.S. patent application requires a clearance from the Bureau of Industry and Security at the U.S. Department of Commerce. Judging from the activity evident just on one website, LinkedIn.com, either the U.S. government is allowing a massive number of U.S. patent disclosures to be sent abroad for preparation, or this is being done without the appropriate government clearances [If nothing else, this shows the effectiveness of LinkedIn as a means of enabling professionals to send work to each other].
If the former is true, then this suggests the U.S. government is undermining our own national interests [Doesn't this depend on how "national interests" are defined? Is getting the filing of US patents done quickly and cheaply not itself in the "national interest"?]. If the latter is true, it suggests that many patent owners are exporting subject matter in violation of U.S. commerce and trade policies, while trying to gain advantage of those very same commerce policies, i.e., patent protection, here in the U.S.A. [This isn't so clear, is it? When is an invention a "US invention", in the case of, for example, the innovative product of more than one country, or of a multinational corporation, or where it is the result of 'open innovation'?] The activity evident on the website LinkedIn.com alone suggests this is being done on a massive scale. There is even a Linkedin group called Outsourcing of Legal Services [at the time of posting, this group had 508 members], with a very strong representation of foreign patent workers preparing U.S. applications and correspondence to the U.S.P.T.O.
Should America tolerate this kind of activity, in blatant disregard of our U.S. trade regulations? [presumably, whether 'America' tolerates it, 'Americans' are tolerating it already]
With respect, I say it should not. I, and many other professionals, including members of the patent bar, believe that allowing this kind of outsourcing to continue is both foolish and dangerous, and could never be in our national interest [This sounds like a very broad claim made against a tradititionally conservative and cautious profession].
In fact, I plead with you to propose legislation making the outsourcing of U.S. patent subject matter a statutory violation of U.S. laws. [The need for such legislation presupposes that such conduct is not currently a violation of US laws] I further believe that the U.S.P.T.O. will strongly support such a legislative proposal, which is likely to have strong bipartisan support. [Is there anything to suggest that the engaging and talented David Kappos is a protectionist?] In this time of economic crisis, this legislation will prevent the bleeding of billions of dollars of professional services from being illegally outsourced to foreign countries [The IPKat can almost hear the murmuring of thousands of patent professionals outside the US that they wouldn't mind getting their hands on some of those bleeding millions, as recompense for the fine mess that the US-precipitated world economic crisis has got them all into -- but that's another story].
Thank you very much for all the hard work you do for us every single day. You are greatly appreciated".