Anne E. Barschall
Sent: Sunday, January 25, 2004 6:24 PM
To: ethicsrules comments
Subject: comments on proposed ethics rules
Dear Sir or Madam,
i cannot pretend to have read your entire publication,
which is extremely massive and burdensome; however that
portion that I did read disturbed me.
Should exam questions and answers be secret?
The first thing that disturbed me was the plan to keep test questions and answers secret. I have personally been involved in appealing the test results of two individuals relating to the patent agents exam. In both cases, the failure of these individuals was completely unjustified.
In the first case, the model answers to one of the essay questions was simply wrong.
In the second case, the individual was a European who had been trained to write in Europe. As a result, the examination grader was unable to recognize the individual's way of writing of the letter "t" and interpreted each instance of this letter as a misspelling. 20 points were deducted because of the many instances of handwriting differences. I found the denial of a passing grade to this individual merely because of his handwriting to be utterly appalling.
I only looked into why two people failed this exam, but in both cases the failure was unjustified. Granted this is not a statistically significant sample, but it still leads me to believe that there are widespread problems in the way PTO exams are graded. Removing this grading process into secrecy so that results could not be reviewed or appealed would unfairly subject potential practitioners to arbitrary and capricious failures. These failures would be extremely expensive to individuals in terms of lost income and also very stressful personally. The European I dealt with was humiliated to have his allegedly failing paper reviewed by co-workers, even though it turned out that his failure was completely unjustified.
How much do attorneys make?
You propose to registration institute fees based on assumptions of how much people make. I am always disturbed that these fee schedules consider only full time and inactive attorneys. There is no consideration given for part time attorneys. Personally I work part time, because I have school age children & a mother with Alzheimer's disease. There should be a fee category for attorneys who are only working part time.
I continue to be horrified at the masses of regulation changes that come out of.your offices. Now you want to test us on these masses of regulation changes.
There seems to be no consideration given to the burden
that is place on practitioners by all these changes. Your
enormous staff can devote equally enormous time to
promulgating this flood of verbiage. Then every single
practitioner is expected to learn it and be tested on it. There seem to be no checks and balances here. You all just seem to be at liberty to dump hundreds or thousands of pages of text on our heads and demand that we learn it.
Moreover, you want the testing system for learning this monstrosity to be conducted in complete secrecy.
Some system needs to be put in place to protect practitioners from this Kafka-esque situation.
Very truly yours,
Anne E. Barschall
Reg. No. 31,089
80 Benedict Ave
Tarrytown NY 10591
(914)-332-1019 (914)-332-0760 (this is my husband's line, but I will pick it up if my line is busy, which is indicated by my voice mail answering on the first ring) (914)-332-7719 (fax) (914)-393-3243 (cell)
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