Mar. 25th, 2017

I got one new amendment this week, and I disposed of one old one, so I'm back at two regular Amendments. There was a little drama; I had proposed to add an additional element to each independent claim to make them allowable, and the patent enrolled agent got back to me with word from his client: he was willing to amend two of the three independent claims, but tried to argue about the third, and claim that my rejection in the first Office Action was improperly written and invalid.

I didn't agree, and told him that if he didn't consent to the proposed Examiner's Amendment, I would send him a Final Rejection instead of an Allowance. Then he could request a pre-Appeal Brief conference, at which my supervisor and another worthy would decide whether my rejection was Boardworthy. If they upheld me, he could write an Appeal Brief for the Board of Appeals, and find out what they thought. Also, even if my supervisor agreed that my rejection was improper, and I didn't admit that it was, then the result would probably be a new non-final rejection drawn up right, not an allowance.

The patent agent didn't seem delighted, but he did authorize me to amend all three independent claims and allow the case, which I proceeded to do.

I also finished a first action rejection in a new case Monday, in time to be counted for last biweek. The I did a first action rejection on my new oldest Regular New case, and then I started work on another Regular New case this week. I want to finish that and another case before the quarter ends, with the deadline being Monday, April 3.
I stayed at work late on Friday, and when I went to the King Street Metro station, it was closed. There were to be shuttle buses, but not then and there, and buses through traffic are slower than Metro trains, so I splurged on a taxi. The driver, as it happened, recognized me from several months before, and we got to talking. He thought I had a British accent, which I denied; however, he noted that I speak grammatically, which the British do. I pointed out that an educated American can also speak grammatically, and that he might have a skewed sample of British, since British visitors he had driven would be disproportionately well-to-do and educated, not semiliterate chavs.

He asked where I was from, so I told him that I had grown up mostly in State College, Pennsylvania, where my father had been a Professor of Philosophy. He asked about ancient Greek philosophers; he had heard of Aristotle, and wanted to know who had drunk poison, and why. I told him about how Socrates had been tried and condemned to drink hemlock, and how Plato, the student of Socrates and teacher of Aristotle, had written the Platonic dialogues, and taught future generations about Socrates. I mentioned that a friend of mine, as a child and teenager, had read these dialogues and wanted to join the conversation; they're not something you can't access without a college education and a professor to explain everything.

The taxi driver was not very well educated; he was bright and curious. He asked me, for example, whether Socrates had lived a thousand years ago, and I answered that it had been more than twenty-four hundred years ago. He asked whether Socrates had gone to a university, and I told him no; universities had been founded centuries later, in the Middle Ages, to teach the thought of Aristotle and other thinkers.

And so it went; he had questions about universities, and which was the oldest (I didn't know), and about the months I had spent in England at the age of eight, while my father taught at Cambridge for a term. Here was a man, born in India and having grown up in Pakistan, who didn't have my advantages or knowledge, but who was bright and eager to learn. I hope he gets the opportunity to read books and learn more about the subjects that interest him.



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