At the instigation of a soon-to-be brother-in-law (thanks Wil!) I revisited my patent application after it was rejected. My lawyer and I spoke with the examiner on the phone, a painful experience as his accent was basically incomprehensible to me (and I have worked with a _lot_ of ‘damn foreigners’ over the years, quite a few Asian). My lawyer seemed to get what he was talking about and what I got out of the conversation (with the lawyer, afterwards) was the examiner felt our choice of words didn’t exclude the prior art. We word smithed the application a bit and resubmitted it and the examiner this time issued a final rejection. Of course, nothing is really final in these situations, it is just a matter of how much money you want to spend, but my lawyer said he would take this challenge on pro bono. My lawyer scheduled a face-to-face meeting with the examiner and insisted that the examiner’s supervisor be there (hoping that the supervisor had better English skills, thankfully the case), though, like everything else government related, it took over a month to make it happen. Yesterday we met with the examiner and his supervisor and we were finished in less than 10 minutes, possibly less than 5, and I didn’t even get to show the visual aids I brought! We discussed it afterwards and think that as the supervisor read our application and the examiner’s response he realized that the examiner was a bonehead (to put it bluntly, what I am best at). While the changes the supervisor suggested were not trivial (it entailed combining two claims), those changes could have easily been dealt with without rejection, indeed should have been. It seemed clear from the supervisor’s mannerisms and body language that he felt that once we had updated our claims the application would be approved, so at a minimum I will have my vanity patent I can hang on the wall.
Just a couple of days ago I found an article (“Personalized medicine could mean big business for D.C.-area companies“) that talked about how contractors in the IC (so-called ‘intelligence community’) were getting interested in genomics (hence DNA sequencing) as they could apply their experience with big data analytics. Since I have contacts in the IC, that article has prompted me to direct some attention to these people in an effort to get over this hump on funding. Presuming the USPTO application is approved as expected, there is still the Sept. 15 deadline for world-wide patents looming and there is no way I can afford the potentially $90K+ to apply for them. I feel quite sure that the US represents at most 25% of the global market value of the idea over the life of the patent; I suspect it would be so much harder to convince some company to purchase the rights as a defensive measure if the rights are limited to the US.
So yesterday was a good day… What will this weekend hold for me?