Joseph Scafetta, Jr.
01/04/2004 14:54 7035338098 JOSEPH SCAFETTA JR PAGE 01
LAW OFFICE of JOSEPH SCAFETTA, JR.
Telephone PATENT, TRADEMARK & COFYRaGHT CAUSES Facsimile
(703) 533-8064 7011 Mound Tree Road (703) 533-8098
Falls Church. Virginia 22042-3912 E-mail address
VIA FACSIMILE TO: 703-308-5258
January 5, 2004
Office of Public Affairs
U.S. Patent & Trademark Office
Past Office Box 1450
Alexandria, Virginia 22313
RE: Proposal to Recertify Attorneys and Agents
News Release No. 03-35 of December 19, 2003
First of all a "press release" is a handle which releases pressure on a printing press. You are releasing news, not a press. Therefore, please us the correct terminology so that former newspaper employees, like myself, wi11 believe that you know what you are talking about. It is a "news release", not a press release!
The above-mentioned proposal reminds me, as well as some of my compatriots who like me are old enough to remember, of the 1976 swine flu vaccine for which there was no known disease.
On the justification for the proposal, outgoing US PTO Director James D. Rogan states that "examiners can focus on core examination issued ..., rather than on paperwork the applicant failed to file." That statement sound like something that would be said by a politician who is polishing his resume and who ix getting ready to run again for elective office.
The truth of the matter is that the US PTO rules have been relaxed so much that practitioners are enticed to file the minimum paperwork necessary to obtain a filing date and to worry later about the neat of the "paperwork the applicant failed to file." However, this attorney always files all the paperwork required, not just some of it.
On the merits of the proposal, it is my opinion that, as an attorney admitted to practice for 30 years and ore month, recertification is totally unnecessary. The proposal may sound nice to those unfamiliar with patent practice. However, the reality is that the proposal is mostly meritless.
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The US PTO has not pointed to any instances of malfeasance or nonfeasance by patent practitioners to justify recertification. In essence, the proposal would be high-sounding rule without a valid reason for its existence.
In my own situation, I am admitted to practice in three jurisdictions - Pennsylvania, the District of Columbia and Virginia. Pennsylvania and Virginia already require me to take 12 hours of continuing legal education a year. The proposed rule would just impose another layer of paperwork on busy practitioners like myself who are already well versed in the US PTO rules and the patent laws.
Each year I and my fellow attorneys in Pennsylvania and Virginia are taking 12 hours of courses in patent practice. We are not taking courses on immigration law, labor law or family law. We do not need to take another US PTO pre-approved private patent law course.
I see only two minor groups for whom the proposal may have a little merit: first, agents who are by definition not attorneys subject to mandatory continuing legal education; and second, attorneys who are admitted only in the few jurisdictions, like the District of Columbia, where there are no mandatory continuing legal education requirements.
Therefore, please do not bother the rest of us with these recertification rules. We should be required only to state that we have taken a private patent course pre-approved by our state continuing legal education board.
The US PTO should save user fees for other more important needs instead of hiring people and getting into the business of pre-approving private patent courses. The job is being done well enough by the state bars. There are no complaints about their approval process. So, there is no need for US PTO employees to do redundant work.
Very truly yours,
Joseph Scafetta, Jr.
Registration No. 26,803