COMMISSIONER LEHMAN:  Thank you very much, Mr. Armitage.
        If there are no questions, then we will go on to Paul Wolstenholme.
 
        MR. WOLSTENHOLME:  My name is Paul Wolstenholme. I live at 630
        Dushane Drive in Bellefontaine, Ohio.  I'm here to speak on my own
        behalf, as an individual inventor.  I've been awarded two U.S.
        patents and one Canadian patent on a highly successful, low cost
        grain storage structure.  At this very moment, I estimate that over
        50 million bushels of grain are being stored in my patented system
        in this country.  My system reduces the cost of storage by 75
        percent, benefiting everyone from the farmer to the consumer.  The
        bad news is most of this use is unauthorized by me and, therefore,
        infringing my patents.  I'd like to speak to you today about how
        third party involvement in a patent examining process would affect
        middle class, individual inventors like myself.  On December 12,
        1995, the PTO invited testimony from the public to include comments
        on procedures for accepting third party submitted prior art,
        question fourteen.  I don't speak from the perspective of a patent
        law expert, a politician or a special interest spokesman, but from
        the perspective of an ordinary citizen who invented something of
        value almost by accident during the course of his normal activities. 
        This perspective is often overlooked but is important and should be
        considered.  Common sense is often lost in the technocratic details. 
        If we lose the critical components of our patent system, I don't
        think we'll ever get them back.  In my view, the ex parte nature of
        the examining process is critical.  I know what it is like to have
        others to oppose the issuance of your patent.  I have been forced to
        initiate seven patent infringement suits against grain companies
        like Cargill, ConAgri and Continental.  The infringers have asked
        the court to declare my patents invalid due to prior art, even
        though that prior art had been fully considered by the PTO on
        reexamination.  Their actions forced me to pay attorneys to write a
        total of four legal briefs in opposition to their motion for summary
        judgment on non-validity.  This latest 21-page brief filed on
        November 30, 1994, I was billed for 45 hours of preparation time and
        it cost me $6,750 for this one brief in opposition to the motion. 
        On February 10, 1995, the court ruled that my patent was not invalid
        due to the prior art.  If I had not been able to finance the
        rebuttal, I would have lost by default.  The only reason I was able
        to bear this defense is because I have strong patents in hand and
        I've been able to attract investors to buy a piece of them.  I am
        currently working on new systems that would result in even more
        savings to our consumers.  I feel that the cost of patent
        prosecution under the new system would be out of my reach.  If
        potential infringers can offer prior art and arguments to defeat
        your patent before it is even issued, investors would be impossible
        to find.  Foreign nations and large corporations will monitor all
        the applications as they are published at 18 months.  When they find
        one that is of value and owned by an individual of moderate means,
        they will unleash their attorneys and the results will totally
        depend on whether you have the money to pay an attorney to argue
        your case.  The unintended result would be that, people like myself
        would be well advised to stay out of the invention business.  Thus
        another unintended result would be that, American citizens are
        deprived of the efforts of a large portion of current American
        innovation.  The framers of our Constitution had it right when it
        came to encouraging invention, but it seems our leaders today just
        don't get it.  When I contemplate a patent system that makes our
        application public after 18 months, I see an inventor-unfriendly
        system.  Illustrate my point, imagine being on a surgery table for a
        heart transplant.  You look at your doctors and are comforted by
        knowing that they are highly competent and dedicated to saving your
        life.  Then you look at another team of competent doctors standing
        on the opposite side of the table, highly paid by a third party and
        equally dedicated to the opposing outcome.  [Laughter]
 
        MR. WOLSTENHOLME:  What inventor would put himself in this
        situation?  What investor would support him?  I respectfully
        recommend that if the 18-month rule is implemented that third party
        actions be severely restricted.
 
        COMMISSIONER LEHMAN:  I thank you very much.  That is really one of
        the questions that we have, what kind of protest procedures should
        there be.  I want to be clear that your opinion is there clearly
        should be virtually no protest procedures.
 
        MR. WOLSTENHOLME:  Not being a patent attorney, I don't know how to
        comment to that, but I think that it is something that the PTO has
        to consider.
 
        COMMISSIONER LEHMAN:  Yes.  Your primary concern is that you not be
        subjected to pre-grant litigation?
 
        MR. WOLSTENHOLME:  Yes, sir.