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posted by on Monday March 06 2017, @10:56AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the where's-Waldo? dept.

The US Patent and Trademark Office has offered the first indication in weeks about who's in charge. Yesterday, at an event for lawyers who practice at USPTO, Michelle Lee was introduced as the office's director.

Lee has been running the office for years, so such an introduction would normally be the ultimate non-event. But yesterday's acknowledgement comes after several weeks during which the office refused to answer a simple question: Who is the director of the US Patent and Trademark Office?

When President Donald Trump was inaugurated in January, DC-centric publications including The Hill and Politico reported that Lee, a former Google lawyer who is favored by the tech sector, would remain in her office. But weeks later, the USPTO director position continues to be listed as "vacant" on the Commerce Department's website. Official USPTO spokespersons simply declined to comment in response to inquiries from Ars Technica and other publications. The USPTO did not respond to an additional inquiry by Ars sent this morning.

Meanwhile, other candidates, including a former Federal Circuit judge, have said they're interested in the job.

Last week, the office even delayed responding to a FOIA request which could have been fulfilled by answering the simple question "Who is the office's acting director?" Instead, the patent office asked for a delay until March 10, citing a section of the law that allows for delay in "unusual circumstances."

Source:

https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2017/03/at-us-patent-office-a-mystery-lingers-whos-in-charge/


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  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Oakenshield on Monday March 06 2017, @12:28PM

    by Oakenshield (4900) on Monday March 06 2017, @12:28PM (#475577)

    After that email patent given to IBM last week, it's safe to say, nobody is in charge. It looks like that's been the case for years.

  • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Monday March 06 2017, @01:05PM

    by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Monday March 06 2017, @01:05PM (#475582) Homepage Journal

    Pretty much everyone under consideration is saying "NOT ME!" Who wants to be responsible for that can of worms?

    --
    "I didn't lose to him!" - The Donald referring to Trippin' Joe
  • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 06 2017, @01:29PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 06 2017, @01:29PM (#475588)

    The worse a government performs, the more income it can demand... by decree... under threat of violence. Enjoy.

  • (Score: 2) by nobu_the_bard on Monday March 06 2017, @01:50PM (5 children)

    by nobu_the_bard (6373) on Monday March 06 2017, @01:50PM (#475600)

    They've been torn apart, their purse strings cut and carried away in broad daylight. Officially the money the Patent office makes from fees is supposed to be reinvested in improving and maintaining the office; it has to go into its own accounts. But politicians very long ago realized there's nothing saying you can't transfer money out of the accounts after it's deposited, and there's not many politicians strengthened by the Patent office doing its job well...

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 06 2017, @02:13PM (3 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 06 2017, @02:13PM (#475614)

      A company providing research services and certification of unique intellectual property would have gone out of business had it been subjected to the same nonsense, and had it been producing the same bullshit.

      In the real world, a company like this would go out of business, and its assets would be sold off to people who can put them to better use.

      A government is a bad business that just lingers and lingers, and then declares you must pay it more money.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 06 2017, @02:48PM (2 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 06 2017, @02:48PM (#475633)

        The beautiful thing is that you can vote yourself in a whole new government.

        Recently, the USA voted for an even more dysfunctional government.

        Men are not angels, so violent imposition of force is unavoidable. Do you have a better idea what kind of organization could keep an even worse warlord at bay?

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 06 2017, @03:03PM (1 child)

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 06 2017, @03:03PM (#475638)

          There's no reason why most of the goods/services provided by that violently imposed organization (the one that calls itself "government") couldn't be provided by competing organizations; at the very least, let organizations (e.g., security firms) compete to implement a standard (e.g., 'policing') rather than rely on one violently imposed monopoly that can just declare its own income. There is no better way for society at large to cooperate on solving problems (both known and unknown) than through the process of evolution by variation and selection, which manifests as competition within a market of voluntary trade.

          The problem is always culture; something like the U.S. Constitution is only valuable if the culture respects it in the first place, and the same can be said of contract negotiation/enforcement in a market of voluntary trade: The culture needs to respect voluntary association, and the importance of negotiating and enforcing contracts, but good luck getting the culture to this point when governmental "schools" teach people to treat the State as a great savior, worshiping it with hymns, daily pledges of allegiance, sacred symbols, and revised history.

          • (Score: 2) by Thexalon on Monday March 06 2017, @07:36PM

            by Thexalon (636) on Monday March 06 2017, @07:36PM (#475766)

            There's no reason why most of the goods/services provided by that violently imposed organization (the one that calls itself "government") couldn't be provided by competing organizations

            Yes there is: Imagine a world in which there is no government and your multiple competing organizations are all trying to provide some good/service. Sooner or later, one of those competing organizations will figure out that they can reduce the competition dramatically if they engage in acts of violence against their competitors. The competitors, in order to protect themselves, will arm themselves and commit acts of violence in retaliation. And congratulations, you've now replaced one violently imposed organization into several violently imposed organizations competing for your business by shooting people.

            And actually, we don't really have to imagine this, because the markets for illegal drugs already work this way.

            --
            The inverse of "I told you so" is "Nobody could have predicted"
    • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 06 2017, @02:28PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 06 2017, @02:28PM (#475620)

      The patent as a legal construction is built into the US constitution, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_United_States_patent_law [wikipedia.org]

      “The Congress shall have Power ... To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.”

      But apparently there is no mandate that Congress has to make the Patent Office work in any reasonable manner. Here's an interesting legal brief that looks closely at the Founders' wording, http://cyber.harvard.edu/openlaw/eldredvashcroft/progress.html [harvard.edu]

  • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 06 2017, @02:10PM (3 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 06 2017, @02:10PM (#475611)

    The worse a government performs, the more income it can demand... by decree... under threat of violence. Enjoy.

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by canopic jug on Monday March 06 2017, @02:47PM (2 children)

      by canopic jug (3949) Subscriber Badge on Monday March 06 2017, @02:47PM (#475631) Journal

      The worse a government performs, the more income it can demand... by decree... under threat of violence. Enjoy.

      One short phrase puts lie to the insinuation that the private sector is somehow better:   "too big to fail"

      Enjoy

      --
      Money is not free speech. Elections should not be auctions.
      • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 06 2017, @02:52PM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 06 2017, @02:52PM (#475634)

        Try again.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 07 2017, @12:06AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 07 2017, @12:06AM (#475849)

          Stop trolling eh? If you want to continue at least try and up your game beyond "violently imposed monopoly", "try again", and your favorite "get it yet?"

          I'd consider it to be a bot, but I don't think a bot would be programmed to spam the same crap because it got modded down. Then again that might be my optimism that the owner of said bot is much smarter than it is...

  • (Score: -1, Offtopic) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 06 2017, @02:48PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 06 2017, @02:48PM (#475632)

    Satan.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 06 2017, @06:20PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 06 2017, @06:20PM (#475717)

    The Constitution should be fixed to make it easier and quicker to fill positions. Have a deadline period, yet allow the minority party(s) some degree of say-so to reduce stuffing positions with extreme partisans.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 06 2017, @06:28PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 06 2017, @06:28PM (#475720)

    Rick Perry wanted to shut down the Department of Energy, so he got to run it. DeVos hates public schools, so she is now Secretary of Education. The same goes with the EPA. I'm seeing a pattern here. How about Richard Stallman, his lawyer, somebody from the EFF, or that lawyer that NewEgg had?

    Up next will be NASA, with a flat-earther... :-)

  • (Score: 2) by DeathMonkey on Monday March 06 2017, @06:42PM

    by DeathMonkey (1380) on Monday March 06 2017, @06:42PM (#475730) Journal

    Chaos in the Executive Branch? What an unexpected turn of events!

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