The USPTO recently announced the creation of an ombudsman program to resolve applicant/examiner logjams in all of the Tech Centers. This is a move that the Office (and practitioners) have needed badly for a number of years, ever since the demise of the “Strong” Patent Prosecution Specialists in the pharma/biotech groups (1600/1800). Patent Prosecution Specialists like Richard Schwartz, Brian Stanton (now at NIH), and Margaret Parr were given real power to move stalled applications forward by mediating amendments acceptable to both sides or, in some cases, by simply telling the Examiner that he/she was wrong and to allow the claims in question. However, if this is simply a return to the “Weak” QA Specialist program that was no more than window dressing on the no-Patent Office, why bother? We need change we can believe in, not a PTO where Examiners are encouraged to just say “No”!
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