COMMISSIONER LEHMAN:  No, we are going to continue straight on
        through.  It may be if we don't finish before 12:30, then I will
        have to leave the rest of the hearing for my colleagues.  We will
        try to move right along.  Next, I'd like to call Francis Vitagliano.
 
        MR. VITAGLIANO:  My name is Francis Vitagliano, from Boston,
        Massachusetts.  The address is 117 Revere Street.  I am a private
        inventor.  The views I present today are only my own and I thank you
        for the opportunity of coming here today.  I have received one
        patent with a co-inventor and we are working with others.  We have
        looked at the issue of the 18 months.  I have looked at the fourteen
        questions and I notice that you did ask us to try to stick to that. 
        I will address question number three: What information concerning
        application should be published in the "Gazette?" As a private,
        independent inventor, the only information I would be happy about
        having you publish is the fact that an application came in from
        somebody, somewhere on that day.  As an inventor, we tend to answer
        questions that others have not asked.  My experience has indicated
        that the 18-month publication rules and the information that would
        be published about it might very well not add to the fuel that
        President Lincoln had talked about, but rather throw cold water from
        a private inventor's point of view.  We are concerned, my colleague
        and I, that our application, once it goes in, if it were to be
        published in 18 months, our names would be published.  We have not
        checked out the coordination of publishing the entire application
        with the Privacy Act. Some 20 years ago, I worked at the National
        Security Agency and I've been quite sensitive to those issues.  I've
        heard distinguished colleagues in the area talk about the research
        that they can do in CD-ROMs and what have you.  As private
        inventors, our research and development budget is quite constrained. 
        Here, in 1995, we've had to cut it back a little bit, because of the
        increase of the postal rates from 29 to 32 cents in '95. Our
        governmental relations budget was taken up entirely by my plane
        ticket today.  Our patent research is done, however, at the Boston
        Public Library and we appreciate the fact that the system is set up
        to let us get into the system for free.  I have spent about 12 or 15
        years, along with Professor Modigliano [phonetic] who is my
        co-inventor, doing research on that.  We have retained, we believe,
        competent, capable patent attorneys, but we try to do as much of the
        work as we can.  We obsessed over the issue of when we filed that
        patent of whether or not we should also file overseas.  The market
        was rather large for our patent and we knew it had some value.  We
        obsessed over the fact that it was going to be published when
        applied for and that was a real issue for us.  So, we delayed up
        until the last day and we made some changes.  We would have made
        changes in our application in the United States if the rules had
        been changed and said that the application would be published.
 
        COMMISSIONER LEHMAN:  You did file overseas?
 
        MR. VITAGLIANO:  We did finally file overseas, but because we had
        already had a little bit of interaction with the Patent Office here
        in the United States, we changed the claims.  What happened is, as a
        result of the interaction with the Patent Office in the United
        States -- by the way, it's just been extremely responsive and very
        positive.  We changed our claims.  We took one out and we're now
        working on that separately.  It would have been detrimental to our
        process and our licensing process, in finding a large company, if
        that had already been published.  That is a very, very important
        issue to us.
 
        COMMISSIONER LEHMAN:  If subsequent to the 18 months you still
        change your claims, you can hold off on that decision.  That's not
        in your 18-month publication.  I mean, I don't understand the
        difference between -- you published abroad at 18 months.
 
        MR. VITAGLIANO:  Right.
 
        COMMISSIONER LEHMAN:  If you were published in the United States at
        18 months, you are apparently subsequently making these changes in
        claims.  What is the difference between if we had an 18-month
        publication and all the other countries you have operated in?
 
        MR. VITAGLIANO:  Okay.
        The issue is, if we could get a response, a guaranteed response for
        the Patent Office within 18 months so that we could determine which
        claims we are going to take out or expand, then I think we could
        feel comfortable in having that published.  We were able to make
        those changes as the result of a very qualified examiner.  He asked
        the right questions and challenged us in the right places, so that
        we changed our claims, took a major one out, having to now rework
        that.  When we filed abroad, that filing did not include that claim. 
        We would have been hurt if that claim had been published.  So, we
        have taken that out.  One of the things that -- I want to do it in
        summary, because I was very happy you gave us only ten minutes to do
        14 questions, but I really like that from a governmental agency.  If
        at all, if there is anything I think from a private inventor's point
        of view that we can do to help the Patent Office move along your
        reaction time so you can begin to either grant or absolutely deny
        patents within 18 months, that would be very helpful.  The second
        best answer is a quick no.  So, in summary, I'd just like to say
        that the 18-month publication rule, no matter what is published,
        could very well increase the number of inactive private inventors in
        the United States.
 
        COMMISSIONER LEHMAN:  Thank you very much.
 
        MR. VITAGLIANO:  Thank you.
 
        COMMISSIONER LEHMAN:  I think that point about helping us to
        streamline the process is a really important one.  Commissioner
        Goffney is heading up an effort to reinvent the patent operation to
        try to apply modern business process, engineering techniques to an
        analysis of the office.  At some point, he will want to have
        hearings and get some ideas from people.  Thank you very much.
 
        MR. VITAGLIANO:  Thank you.