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A new BIS press release has been issued and is
UK and US call to make the most of international patent system
Measures to make the international system of patent application faster and more effective were announced today by the UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO) with changes to the UK’s Fast Track system. These moves come as part of a wider effort by the UK and US intellectual property authorities to get more businesses to use the PCT system.
In the mail yesterday day I had a letter from the USPTO, apparently sent round the Horn via clipper to beat the Royal Navy blockade of Boston.
A snail mail letter that, frankly, takes the whole thing to a new level of farce if it were not already. If they simply did their jobs as opposed to concocting stuff like this in avoiding doing so, they might clear the 5 million case backlog apparently causing such behaviour.
If I understand what they have written correctly, I am now in some feedback loop of Purgatory, whereby I can't appeal on my own patent's behalf because they refuse to release the US affiliate as power of attorney. This being the one they would never talk with anyway. But is the only one they wish to deal with. But now deny was ever appointed.
Because I note, in amongst the vast legalese, two intriguing statements, especially given what I understood to have happened based on what I was told, and the USPTO's version of events:
1 - 'a review of the record shows that no attorney's/agents were ever appointed power of attorney in this patent application'
Given the USPTO's rather clear dedication to procedure up front before doing anything, if my US affiliate was, as far as they are now claiming, never appointed, why then have they spun this out with them over several months, including costly appeals, if they never ascertained they were our/my representatives in the first place? They seem pretty clear on who they can or cannot be talking with, and when... if it suits.
As I recall, the USPTO called my US affiliate to complain that I was trying to contact them directly, and they can only talk to them, which was what instigated this latest flurry of activity. Now... they are claiming all this?
2 - 'Additionally, the present request cannot be approved because the requested change in the correspondence address is improper'.
What it goes on to define as 'proper' is beyond me, as it was, presumably, to the person first advising it.
Maybe it is best left here as they surely cannot reject the patent if they are unprepared to live up to their own procedures, which at the very least means that while the patent is not granted it is stuck at not being rejected either, which serves to deny any copycats.
I am stumped. I have reached out for advice and help from UK trade and IP bodies but... so far... nothing.
So now thinking of adding to my lexicon of public sector syndromes, with 'If not you... who?'.
Because a ton of folk earning a ton of money and spending acres of time promoting endless 'initiatives' have suddenly gone quiet. The IPO. BIS. Chamber. UKTI. Embassy. All the guys advocating the joys of IP and getting me in this deep... mute.
Not hugely impressed. Landed it back at the door of my now IP UK lawyer too, as some of those accusations from the USPTO also go to professional competence and codes of conduct. At least as to the actions of the affiliate they commissioned (or possibly did not) to act on my patent's behalf there.
Have been kindly contacted by Ian Hartwell of http://www.maguires.co.uk/, and offered a further option, for which thanks:
The USPTO has a “Patents Ombudsman” for “when there is a breakdown in the normal application process” – see http://www.uspto.gov/patents/ombudsman.jsp.
As I am painted into a corner it can't hurt, but am not too hopeful, as my experiences with Ombudsmen of any hue, from any country, is not great.