Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Corrections Conundrum

8,800 And Counting...

Corrections total 8,800 year–to–date. USPTO added another 623 new corrections this week. So we're up to 8,800 corrections this year that the Average Citizen wouldn't know to look for when using the patent search tools available to the public.

No one bothers to correct patents that are abandoned or aren't perceived as having value.  Why waste your time.

Most of the corrections are on patents that are not new, have paid maintenance fees, and are in interesting scientific and technical domains where new innovation are emerging. Corrections are an indicator that patents are in play.  We did a quick analysis of corrections in August.  This review revealed that patents related to internet connected vehicle control systems were having every i dotted and every t crossed.  When you look carefully, the corrections point to a portfolio building effort and clean-up action before a monetization effort we suspect.

But here's the rub.  The corrections are an undercover action generally unknown to most people who aren't patentistas.  All the corrections of colons and semi-colons is lovely but it's the one where the change says that dependent claim 17 really should be pointing to claim 5 and not claim 1, fundamentally changing the public presentation of what the invention was all about. That are troubling.  These changes are only available in non-text accessible old school image format with only some of the pages in the USPTO full-text database pointing the user to images. This stuff is torture.

Especially when you consider the logic which goes like this:

1) Patent owner sends in a digital form requesting the change.
2) It floats all around USPTO to get approved.
3) USPTO types up the change language and have the Director sign it (our guess is this is done with the magic automated pen but maybe not which would be even more ridiculous.)
4) Then someone at USPTO creates an image of the change and adds it to the image version of the patent.

Something's gotta give here.

Check out this week's Box Scores here.