Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Federico's Commentary - Follow-up

In 2009 I wrote that the USPTO should post Federico's Commentary on line. I woke up this morning, July 23, 2014, to find this comment by Anonymous:
I know this blog post is from a while ago, but this appears to be an online copy of Federico's commentary:
http://ipmall.info/hosted_resources/lipa/patents/federico-commentary.asp
July 22, 2014 at 10:55 PM
I responded with thanks and confirmed for myself that Federico's Commentary is still not available on uspto.gov.

As I noted in the original post, the Commentary was re-published in the Journal of the Patent and Trademark Office Society (JPTOS, a USPTO publication), 75 JPTOS 161 (1993). Later JPTOS printed a special issue containing only Federico's Commentary and a speech by Judge Giles Rich, long viewed as the best "We were there" resources on the language of the 1952 Patent Act. (I guess you would call them "legislative STAFF history" rather than "legislative history"?) Surely the Patent Office has an archive, electronic or not, of all the issues of JPTOS? And there must be at least one employee not yet retired who has a paper copy of 75 JPTOS in nis office? Is there so little need -- by Patent Office employees or others -- to understanding the 1952 Act's original language? It still lingers though buried under the tax-code-like verbosity of the last many years of amendments and there are still questions, or Anonymous would not have found nis way to my blog...

Anyway: here is what I found today when I searched uspto.gov for "federico." The search box says "Powered by Bing" by the way but I don't blame the absence of the Commentary on Microsoft. Of the first 20 hits, all but 3 relate to other people named Federico, mostly inventors. Two of the three hits for the Federico of interest (PJ Federico, a Patent Office Examiner-in-Chief) are citations and rather recent ones at that: a 2010 BPAI decision, Cal Tech v. Enzo, Interference No. 105,496, and the Government's brief to the Supreme Court in Bilski v. Kappos (08-964), filed in September 2009. The third occurrence of the right Federico is in the remarks by Todd Dickinson in his memorial tribute to Judge Rich, which I had mentioned in my original post. If there had been a uspto.gov thirty years ago, all 20 of the top 20 hits would have been to Federico's Commentary, would they not? Losing our history because of the internet is a problem, solvable but not yet solved.

In today's search I also noticed the absence of occurrences of federico's -- federico apostrophe s -- in the search results. That is a difference between powered by Bing and powered by Google. (I searched all of Google for federico and did, ultimately, confirm that federico's would be found: Hit number 47 was for federico's pizza.) With federico apostrophe s in the uspto.gov search box, Bing found exactly one (1) occurrence: the 2007 OG Notice on the final rules for continuation applications, also mentioned in the original post.

One last search, this time on Google and for federico's commentary. The first two hits are to ipmall.info. The third is to heinonline. And the fourth, amazingly, is to my 2009 post. Which by the way has a grand total of 1320 hits in its entire life. A sad commentary (npi) in several respects, eh?

But the silver lining was the fifth hit. It was http://www.patent-it.com/federico.html, a twenty-year-old post by Robert M. Storwick of a patchwork quilt "based on the 26th order, 500-unit compound perfect square discovered by Pasquale J. Federico, mathematician and a long-time [PTO] employee." Storwick gives math journal citations, too. Way cool.

Thank you, ipmall, for posting Federico's Commentary, and thanks also to ipmall's sponsor, the University of New Hampshire School of Law, and last but not least to Anonymous, for sending me on this delightful chase.
Alas, one more search, this time for Storwick, may have been one too many. He was disbarred by his home state in 2007. Maybe he had some major mishap because he did not respond to the state bar at all and the latest financial transactions mentioned in their decision were from 2006. But in 2013 somebody updated the patent-it.com registration and paid for it through 2018, even though the homepage says it was last updated in 1995. A mystery.
Links fixed and minor rev 7/27/14 rjm

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