COMMISSIONER LEHMAN:  Thank you very much, Mr.
       Next, I would like to call Frampton Ellis.
       MR. ELLIS:  I am Frampton Ellis.  I am an
       independent inventor, based here in Arlington, Virginia.  My
       address is 2895 South Abingdon Street, Suite B2.  The zip is
       I am here on my own, and these are my own
       comments.  I am limiting my comments to the enacted law, as
       it now exists, but in no way endorse it, and I would like to
       focus on the transitional provisions proposed by the Patent
       The PTO states in the Federal Register that it is
       now proposing to amend the rules of patent practice to
       implement the Uruguay Round Agreements Act, and "to simplify
       the rules."
       I referred to the Federal Register many times
       before and therefore was very surprised to discover that
       bureaucrats are now allowed to indulge their taste for
       humorous remarks in this official publication.  Maybe this
       resulted from some misunderstanding in the administration's
       effort to reinvent government.
       In this particular context, however, I have
       trouble appreciating the humor since the proposed transition
       provisions have ignored the simplest and fairest approach in
       order to devise a hugely complicated Rube Goldberg approach
       that would be arbitrarily unfair.
       In the short term, meaning the several year
       transition period, especially between now and June 8th, it
       seems like we will also generate truly spectacular earnings
       for patent attorneys.  Innovation will take a backseat for
       at least the next year, while thousands and thousands of
       clients everywhere work out complex and expense strategies
       for prosecution and filing, to salvage what they can from
       their potential patent term for pending applications.
       Any inventors who have been forced to spend
       several years or many years unsuccessfully attempting to get
       reasonable claims allowed by the PTO will suddenly be under
       enormous time pressure to accept any possible allowable
       claims or potentially lose years, possibly many years, from
       their patent term.
       Bad rules yield arbitrary and senseless results. 
       For example, important inventions will likely be protected
       by several continuing applications and will end up being
       protected by several different sets of claims with different
       I think we should be true to the oft-stated goals
       of reinventing government to keep things simple.  If we must
       have a new patent term, the only fair transition is the
       simplest.  Patents with a priority date before June 8, 1995,
       should have a 17-year term after grant.  And patents with a
       priority date of June 8th or after, should have a 20-year
       term from their priority date.
       It is a simple rule.  End of story.  No endless
       complications.  No huge windfall of fees, either.
       But at least, the rules are not changed unfairly
       in the middle of the prosecution game.
       In closing, I guess I have to admit I am a little
       too unsophisticated to understand why we are really now
       posed here, to stand on its head, an existing set of patent
       rules with a proven innovation effectiveness in an attempt
       to stop the supposedly egregious effect of a tiny number of
       submarine patents.
       Ignoring for a moment that no one has demonstrated
       in any rigorous fashion the existence of these egregious
       effects, what are the tradeoffs?  Is there any possibility
       that by sinking submarine patents, we also seek innovation,
       far more generally?  Has anyone thought seriously about
       Just in final closing, the one other comment I
       would like to make is, this seems to be a typical government
       approach for which it receives the heaviest criticism. 
       Which is, to focus a set of rules that apply to everyone, to
       go after the 1 percent problem area that is alleged.
       That's it.  Do you have any questions?
       [No response.]