Patent Law

'Are you drunk?' Lawyer files angry remarks about 'special needs examiner' after patent is denied

A patent lawyer unhappy with the denial of a patent application is taking out his frustrations in filed remarks that question the examiner’s sobriety, his mental abilities and his integrity.

Lawyer Andrew Schroeder begins with a question, the Patently-O blog reports. “Are you drunk? No, seriously … are you drinking scotch and whiskey with a side of crack cocaine while you ‘examine’ patent applications?” Schroeder asks. “Have you even read the patent application? I’m curious. Because you either haven’t read the patent application or are … (I don’t want to say the ‘R’ word) ‘Special.’ ” Above the Law and CBS News Money Watch noted the Patently-O story. Here’s more from Schroeder’s letter:

“For this Special Needs Examiner, logic just doesn’t cut it. It is manifestly clear that this Examiner has a huge financial incentive to reject patent applications so he gets a nice Christmas bonus at the end of the year. When in doubt, reject right?

“Since when did the USPTO become a post World War II jobs program? What’s the point of hiring 2,000 additional examiners when 2,000 rubber stamps would suffice just fine? So, tell me something Corky … what would it take for a patent application to be approved? Do we have to write patent applications in crayon? Does a patent application have to come with some sort of pop-up book? Do you have to be a family member or some big law firm who incentivizes you with some other special deal? What does it take Corky?

“Perhaps you might want to take your job seriously and actually give a sh.t! What’s the point in having to deal with you Special Olympics rejects when we should just go straight to Appeals? While you idiots sit around in bathtubs farting and picking your noses, you should know that there are people out here who actually give a sh.t about their careers, their work, and their dreams.”

Above the Law points out that “Corky” is an apparent reference to a character with Down syndrome in the 1990s TV drama Life Goes On.

The Patent and Trademark Office apparently removed the letter from the file after Patently-O published its story. Schroeder was seeking a patent for a sprinkler system mounted on a telescoping tripod.

Above the Law notes a second rant filed by Schroeder the same day over another patent denial. In those remarks, Schroder claims the examiner, who “does not speak the native language here in the United States of America,” mistakenly interpreted word meanings. “Perhaps in Farsi, really ancient Latin, or even the post-Nimoy Vulcan dialect, the word ‘stud’ just so happens to be synonymous with the term ‘ridge,’ ” Schroder writes. He goes on to write that even Special Olympics athletes could surely discern the correct meaning.

In an interview with the ABA Journal, Schroeder questioned how the Patently-O blogger obtained the file comments. Setting up an online account with the Patent and Trademark Office is an extensive procedure, Shroeder said. “You have to understand that it is a real pain in the ass to interface with the U.S. PTO,” Schroeder said. “So this guy is able to access my record?”

“I don’t know who this guy thinks he is, trolling around” for controversy, Schroeder said. Maybe someone leaked the comments, Schroeder says, but in any event they should have remained confidential.

Schroeder also continued to criticize the patent examiners, saying they are ignoring the Manual of Patent Examining Procedure and are acting as judge, jury and executioner. “These guys will reject anything; it doesn’t matter what you put in front of them,” Schroeder said.

Did Schroeder’s comments amount to cutting off his nose to spite his face? “I’ll admit that’s not my finest hour. I get it,” Schroeder said. He added that he had been biting his tongue for the longest time. “That’s the first time that ever happened,” he said of the two angry missives. “Obviously I need a vacation.”

“I know I come off as a bad guy and all and I get that,” Schroeder added. “And if I didn’t know anything about patent law I’d be like, ‘Andrew Schroeder is a real pr—.’ But dealing with the PTO has made me think more about a career transition.” Schroeder says he built his own website—it recently got about 30,000 hits—and he is starting a web design business. “I’m actually pretty good,” he says.

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