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Michael Hetherington

Fab 07 2004 9:51

Mail Stop OED
Ethics Rules
United States Patent Office
P.O. Box 1450
Alexandria, VA 22313?1450

650 8,.513684
P.O. Box 620839

February 7, 2004
Public comment on Recertification

It is outrageous that the Patent Office would require recertification from registered patent attorneys in good standing, while general attorneys who are not licensed patent attorneys are still allowed to litigate patent cases!

If the PTO insists on imposing recertification, then at least limit the process to patent agents who are not attorneys. Attorneys are held to a higher ethical standard under the rules of their state bar, and voluntarily meet their obligations to seek education to learn the rule changes.

It Is difficult an enough for us patent attorneys to maintain currency In the California Bar due to constant educational requirements. The burden imposed by recertification in addition to state bar currency is unreasonable and unjustified.

To keep patent attorneys current, all that Is necessary is to provide simple, clearly written educational memos. This is a far more efficient and cost effective solution than creating a~ costly bureaucracy to oversee recertification.

Those of us with a busy patent practice got that way due to competence that is recognized by the clients, and by putting in long hours of hard work on behalf of the clients. Recertification is only going to be an additional burden on our limited time without providing any extra benefit. In the end, clients will suffer and patens will become even more expensive.

Also, with additional time constraints imposed by recertification, patent attorneys will not be able to write cost-effective patents for start-up companies who have little or no funds. This will inhibit venture capital investment, foreclose economic opportunity and stunt the growth of new industries. The United States will become like Europe where only big companies can afford patent and venture capital is virtually non-existent.
Tel: (650) 851?3634
Fax: (650J 618 ? 2Q0

Michael Hetherington
Reg. No. 32,357

United States Patent and Trademark Office
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