Sent: Monday October 18, 1999 6:27 PM
Subject: Proposed Patent Office rulemaking (Topic 5)
To Whom it May Concern:
The upshot of the rules changes with respect to patent drawings seems to be that there will no longer be any graphical standard applied to formal patent drawings. In fact, at one point, the proposed changes state:
"Applicants who submit informal drawings on filing will be unlikely to encounter a draftperson?s objection because few drawings will fail to meet the reduced standards."
Very scary thought. Sounds like we may be looking at napkin sketches in the patent gazette soon. Our patent gazette could be filled with a hodgepodge of amateurish and hard to read drawings. Will patent examiners who are untrained in graphic requirements be in any position to make decisions as to which drawings will reproduce well? Probably not.
Another scenerio: three years from now two lawyers and a judge all sitting around a conference table trying to figure out where the lead lines point to in the patent drawing that was accepted in 2001. The patent litigators can't tell where the lead lines go on the substandard (at least by current standards) and convoluted cross section. The patent in question becomes unclear over a detail that is indeciperable on the drawings.
We see this here every day. The devil is in the details. If you throw out the graphical standard that has served the USPTO for over 100 years, you will regret it. Just give it a couple of years.
Better idea: Have a seminar with your own patent drafting unit employees and get them to stop being ?petty?. The proposed changes talk about ?petty objections'. Sounds like an issue to take up with your employees rather than a reason to discard all graphic standards
In summation, the importance of a clear graphical standard will only become clear to the USPTO after it is abandoned.
At Cotsis CAD, we do patent drawings every day, so we?re already aware of how crucial this can be. In the process of creating formal patent drawings, we often call clients to clarify informal drawings that we can't understand. We are often met with a comment like "oh, you're right, that's not clear, let me explain it to you". Who?s going to explain it to the world after the patent issues?
If you leave these decisions up to the overburdend and graphically untrained examiners, you are asking for big problems. And all of this to primarily save a few million private dollars annually out of a multi-trillion dollar economy. If these new rules play out as I think they may, our patent gazette will look like amateur hour at the art school. Hardly the face America wants to present to the rest of the world entering the 21st century.
Of course, we would appear to have an economic axe to grind. We make our money from formal patent drawings. But our business is growing 20%+ annually and we are diversifying into other areas, so the net impact on my company will be minimal. I think the problems this may create for patent attorneys and their clients are considerable.
It just doesn?t make sense. I urge the USPTO to reconsider this well intended but ill-conceived abandonment of graphics standard for formal patent drawings.
Cotsis CAD/Computer Aided Drafting