Secret Star Chamber Holds Controversial Patent Applications in Limbo

An amazing abuse of government power has been uncovered at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Apparently, a secret program existed until recently to flag potentially controversial patents and refuse to issue them, even if they met all the usual requirements.

“The patent office has delayed and delayed. I’m finally hoping to get to the board of appeals and to the courts to stop the delays and get my patents issued,” Hyatt said in our interview.

He alleges that the SAWS program, which was started in 1994 not long after Hyatt’s case generated huge publicity, disproportionately targeted individual inventors or small businesses. The SAWS program came to light in late 2014, and Hyatt and his attorneys allege that patent office officials used the program to secretly exercise powers with which they were never vested by law, allowing them to choose winners and losers in controversial patent cases.

A patent with the SAWS designation could not be issued without approval from higher ups, and Hyatt found that his applications were designated as such. Patent examiners were instructed not to tell applicants that their applications had the SAWS flag. After getting 75 patents, Hyatt did not get another one since the 1990s, and for a long time he didn’t know why.

Continue reading “Secret Star Chamber Holds Controversial Patent Applications in Limbo”

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“Fairness” Doctrine for Social Media?

Private companies’ content censorship raises important public concerns of a magnitude meriting book-length treatment. Not here, however, and not by me. The left, for example, saw its near-absolute content control of most public media – print, broadcast, movies, education – as insufficient because of talk radio. Leftist radio programs fell flat while Rush Limbaugh, intolerably, soared to prominence. We know that tolerance has a very restricted meaning for leftists, thus their regulatory effort to quash conservative talk radio with the “fairness doctrine” was a case study in the use of state power in furtherance of their illiberal – totalitarian, actually – impulses and tactics.

The left never hesitates to enforce its rubrics, on pain of abusive name-calling (amplified by their “media”) or ruination at the hands of some public agency or other with enforcement powers. For instance, a Christian baker in Colorado is being singled out yet again.  All sense of proportion has been lost, to such an extent that definitions of basic language and process must be re-examined. Does what we have referred to as media up until now still qualify as media?... [Read More]

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Book Review “The Autodesk File”

A comment John made (#18) on a recent post by 10 cents (“Programming Question”), reminded me I had reviewed one of John’s books. The review was posted a while back on the legacy site. As this is one of the most worthwhile books I have ever read, I thought it should be posted it here.

A work of non-fiction is understood in a context. A great work actually articulates the context before anybody else gets it. A review of such a book may go seemingly far afield, if the book’s power can be construed to provoke and, indeed, license the inspired musings of its readers. Such is the case here, as “The Autodesk File”’s roots are deep in the intellectual, technological, economic, financial, and even spiritual soil of this, the spring garden of the information age.... [Read More]

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This Week’s Book Review – Shale Boom: The Barnett Shale Play and Fort Worth

I write a weekly book review for the Daily News of Galveston County. (It is not the biggest daily newspaper in Texas, but it is the oldest.) My review normally appears Wednesdays. When it appears, I post the review here on the following Sunday.... [Read More]

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Saturday Night Science: Bad Blood

“Bad Blood” by John CarreyrouThe drawing of blood for laboratory tests is one of my least favourite parts of a routine visit to the doctor’s office. Now, I have no fear of needles and hardly notice the stick, but frequently the doctor’s assistant who draws the blood (whom I’ve nicknamed Vampira) has difficulty finding the vein to get a good flow and has to try several times. On one occasion she made an internal puncture which resulted in a huge, ugly bruise that looked like I’d slammed a car door on my arm. I wondered why they need so much blood, and why draw it into so many different containers? (Eventually, I researched this, having been intrigued by the issue during the O. J. Simpson trial; if you’re curious, here is the information.) Then, after the blood is drawn, it has to be sent off to the laboratory, which sends back the results days later. If something pops up in the test results, you have to go back for a second visit with the doctor to discuss it.

Wouldn’t it be great if they could just stick a fingertip and draw a drop or two of blood, as is done by diabetics to test blood sugar, then run all the tests on it? Further, imagine if, after taking the drop of blood, it could be put into a desktop machine right in the doctor’s office which would, in a matter of minutes, produce test results you could discuss immediately with the doctor. And if such a technology existed and followed the history of decline in price with increase in volume which has characterised other high technology products since the 1970s, it might be possible to deploy the machines into the homes of patients being treated with medications so their effects could be monitored and relayed directly to their physicians in case an anomaly was detected. It wouldn’t quite be a Star Trek medical tricorder, but it would be one step closer. With the cost of medical care rising steeply, automating diagnostic blood tests and bringing them to the mass market seemed an excellent candidate as the “next big thing” for Silicon Valley to revolutionise.... [Read More]

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Amazon Allies with SPLC

Amazon uses a “hate list” compiled by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) to determine which charities are eligible for its “Smile” charity program. As a private company, it can do as it wishes, however cynical or stupid. As a customer, of course, I have the same privilege, which resulted in the following letter:

Dear non-hierarchical gender-free Amazon person:... [Read More]

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A View From The Deplorable Culture

Starbucks, always much in the news and on the lips for the wanna be elites prides itself as the gathering place where the elite meet to transact business over burned and expensive coffee as a vehicle for sugar delivery.

I have spent my time meeting a certain class of clients at such places, usually off the rush hours. It has all the aspects of a tribal place, with the common rituals and intonations.... [Read More]

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Two spaces.

Ha.  All you one-spacers can read the latest study in the Journal of Attention, Perception & Psychophysics.   The lead researcher was Rebecca L. Johnson of Skidmore College.   Here is the abstract:

The most recent edition of the American Psychological Association (APA) Manual states that two spaces should follow the punctuation at the end of a sentence. This is in contrast to the one-space requirement from previous editions. However, to date, there has been no empirical support for either convention. In the current study, participants performed (1) a typing task to assess spacing usage and (2) an eye-tracking experiment to assess the effect that punctuation spacing has on reading performance. Although comprehension was not affected by punctuation spacing, the eye movement record suggested that initial processing of the text was facilitated when periods were followed by two spaces, supporting the change made to the APA Manual. Individuals’ typing usage also influenced these effects such that those who use two spaces following a period showed the greatest overall facilitation from reading with two spaces.... [Read More]

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My Baby is American Made

For the past few days I’ve had an old Oak Ridge Boys song in my head:

Seems everything I buy these days has got a foreign name,
from the kind of car I drive, to my video game.
I’ve got a Nikon camera, a Sony color TV,
but the one that I love is from the USA standing next to me…
... [Read More]

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