Recently in Maine, I talked with a gentleman and we discussed at a coffee shop the issues concerning the Patent and Trademark Offices and the slow processing problems with registration of everything from a simple patent or concept patent to a Registered Trademark or Service Mark. Also this past week had an email conversation with a gentleman from NC in a small business regarding weak trademark and service mark case law in several states and at the Federal Level and how that affected him and the owner of a mark in Ohio. Also discussed the issues with an Aussie who now lives in BC Canada with regards to a cross border US Competitor using a name he intends to use and has already used in Canadian Commerce. First use laws and case laws are different that in Canada and the US. And certainly no trademark is worth a dollar in China. Some would disagree if you have the right attorney there in that country. I had mentioned these types of issues in a letter to the FTC and discussed the problems with patent law and not knowing, the patent books, which explain all this are over 400 plus pages now and when you are done reading them you may or may not know enough to get the job done.
Many will say entrepreneurs are risk takers, although most entrepreneurs will tell you different, they unlike the observers of their activities do not see it as a risk at all. Yet when you throw more variables into the loop, the waiting from slow processing at the PTO everything gets put on hold, as innovators do not want to reveal secrets until they are protected, and the PTO takes their time and tries to do research although it is hard to be a Michael Creighton when you work for the government.
There are some sharp examiners there and we have had the opportunity to talk with a few although generally if you are not an attorney forget that thought. And if you are an attorney such as our PTO attorney he will tell you as will anyone dealing in that antiquated system, it takes forever. Sure does and that cost the innovators, American Business and the quality of life of every person living on the Planet so much. Why are we doing this to ourselves? We need a; from the ground up system and complete revision. We need to fix this situation, a scientist or inventor of the next needed item to make life a little better for all of us will go broke and die of old age without ever bringing that idea to fruition through an entrepreneur or selling his/her invention to a large company or our own government to make use of it either for profit or for all of our well being.
We are crippling ourselves in the process of registration and then killing our best people and ideas in the court room over frivolous lawsuits meant to impede the progress of good ideas, in other words our PTO is helping kill good ideas which in itself is a very bad idea. This is not the good for all concerned and it means less great companies, which start in the garages across America becoming the next new thing. We must stay ahead of the innovation curve and make sure that PTO is working for the needs of the our future and the future of all mankind.
Have a good idea, so do we, problem is we sit on it, then it is useless, if we try to register it we will die of old age and the actual innovator may go broke paying attorneys and fees.
If we sell it before we have the Patent complete, it will be stolen and the money to fight it costs too much and the court would tie it up until which time the technology might be passed over. Therefore many smart Americans who are regular people sit on good ideas.
If we do not make anything anymore in this country, because they are made somewhere else where the labor is cheaper or because of previous trade deals with WTO or NAFTA and jobs have left the country, then our economy is service based and knowledge based. But we give all of our knowledge away for free due to in part the help of inane disclosures of various industries as well as the PTO issues discussed here, thus the risk of capital is not usually justified and therefore smart people sit on their ideas and do not produce all they have to give mankind, namely information, knowledge and that original thought that will change the world we live in and make it better.
Has your Light bulb gone off yet? It should, that was exactly the type of invention the article is talking about and I feel it safe to say that everything that will ever be invented probably has not all been invented yet. Remember also that the Tesla was often compromised in his ongoing efforts due to money issues. And remember that the Wright Brothers were bicycle mechanics working out of a bike shop. Are we quite certain we do not need the future producers of knowledge, wisdom, ideas and innovations and that we need to make it difficult for those who possess the drive to make them so?
Wake up world we are in the year 2003. It is time to accelerate. Bill Gates discussed eliminating paperwork, and paper forms, I cannot agree more. His online newsletter now is called "Freedom to Innovate." Shouldn't we also be taking some of the advise on how to, from those who have already done. We should not simply say it is too large of a project that it cannot be done? Sure it can. Here is how, allow the PTO to work on its current stuff and then start a new PTO for all future stuff. Call it; "www.InnovateAmerica.gov" make it simple. A person needs a working prototype or scaled models, with materials or simulated and extremely detailed renderings and or written concept, before granting concept or any other type of patent, otherwise no deal
Separate the PTO and it's old system. Call that the What Was New section of the website which takes you back to online archives. Then a What's New section which takes you to the new stuff. Sub contract the work out to one of those above and set it up in divisions of expertise and make it available once listed after a brief period. The rules can be similar but new to fit the new world we now live in. We are slowing the forward progress of mankind for no reason. This is a travesty, this should be a major if not one of the most important projects we embark on, because this is where America will stay ahead of the curve, at the top of her game and on the leading edge of everything we can and will be in the future. We must move the ball forward.
This species has come to far to drown and wallow in the debris of bureaucracy, based on an old style of doing things which is not working, it is broken and it is most obvious indeed. This is unacceptable behavior of one of the most dominant mammal life forms of this Planet. We are better than that. We as Americans know what we must do to continue to advance, we can scare ourselves into believing the competition is right behind us, whether or not they are or not. We can talk about the pending asteroid strikes, biological wars, alien species visiting, global climate instability to keep the fire burning and the necessity bright as it truly is the mother of invention. But unfortunately somewhere along the line we were re-adopted by the father of invention, which is Mr. Bureaucracy, whose brother is Mr. Attorney and whose own children were never produced as those two do not produce anything, but rather sit around a sponge off the productivity of freedom and freemen.
The PTO has served us well to date, but the reality is as technology becomes greater, the ability to go from 0-Mach 15 in 10 seconds will become more significant with each passing year. There is no reason to get behind the power curve if you are running a scram jet engine, otherwise the flame goes out and you will lose control. That is truly going to be the future of the definition of "Sucking Wind," personally I would rather not be there.
If this is the best we can do, with our total brain power in a modern civilization with all it's amenities, then either the human race will simply repeat it's past woes. I for one am not impressed with where we are today, I believe we can do better and often wonder why we allow such cogs in the wheel at the most basic levels. Innovation and entrepreneurship is important to this country, yet we are our own biggest obstacles, we create barriers to entry through bureaucracy at every step and every turn. If you want the best this world can offer, let's fix the PTO and start walking the walk.
Recently in D.C. area I was at the top of the Masonic Center overlooking the 660 million dollar new PTO facility being built and recalling the 6-18 months behind they are in their filings. I thought is a bigger building really going to solve this problem? I thought is throwing more money at a problem of this magnitude really the answer? Is this going to speed up the process? Or does it just mean we are going to hire more people to put behind more desks who are not trained to do the job correctly or up on all the latest technologies?
"Lance Winslow" - If you have innovative thoughts and unique perspectives, come think with Lance; www.WorldThinkTank.net/wttbbs