On Thursday morning, I attended the annual meeting of the Patent and Trademark Office Society. There was some discussion of business, the induction of new officers, and the presentation of awards to people who had done work for the Society. They have what is called the Order of the Ant Award, and one especially hard worker gets the Grand Ant Award.

Laura Peter, a high official at the USPTO, gave a talk on Patent Office history, beginning with the time when Thomas Jefferson, then Secretary of State, and his fellow cabinet members worked part time at considering patent applications; issued patents were signed by President Washington. Trademarks were not granted until much later, and the first law providing for trademarks to be issued was found unconstitutional because it was based on the section of the Constitution authorizing patents and copyrights to promote the progress of science and the useful arts. Later legislation relied on the Interstate Commerce clause to support the granting of trademarks.

Judge Randall Rader was honored by an award; he used to be Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, and I remember him addressing an audience at the USPTO on at least one previous occasion. That may have been at a PTOS meeting, or legal education for examiners, or both.


Feb. 17th, 2019 07:30 pm
I had been having problems with my dishwasher recently; I reported it to apartment management yesterday, and they sent a couple of maintenance men to fix it. It at least seemed to be okay at washing a jar yesterday, so I will try it with a full load tomorrow.
I got one After Final amendment on my Expedited docket this week, and I dealt with that. I also got three more ordinary amendments on my Amended docket, and didn’t deal with any of my old or new regular amendments, so I’m now up to seven amendments on my Amended docket, and one Board decision on my Special Amended docket.

I finished an Office Action on my oldest Regular New case this week, and I am working on an Office Action on another Regular New, which I hope to finish by Tuesday at 3:00 PM. In fact, I’m hoping to write an Office Action on one of my amendments, or confirm abandonment of a rejected case, or both. We’ll see how far I get.
This happened when I got home about forty minutes ago. In the lobby of the apartment building, I met a neighbor whom I had seen at least once before, and his beagle; they were on their way out. The last time, the beagle refused to pay any attention to me, although he was interested in other humans. This time, he nuzzled my hand and let me pet him. I commented on this, and the human said that he knew me now.

By the way, the human is a tall, bearded black man, and the beagle is a large, solidly built tricolor beagle.
I got one After Final Amendment on my Expedited docket this week, and two regular amendments on my Amended docket. I dealt with the After Final and with the the oldest two amendments on my Amended docket, so my numbers are where they were a week ago: four amendments on my Amended docket, and one Board of Appeals decision on my Special Amended docket.

I have also been searching the prior art for my oldest Regular New case, and writing my Office Action.
As I was walking the last half block home this evening, I met a couple walking their dog, who was very friendly. She jumped up on me and licked my hand, although she wouldn’t hold still to be petted much. I asked whether she was part schnauzer, and was told that she was a rescue who might be part anything.

One of these days, I’ll find the time for a lengthy, serious post.
This week, one case appeared on my Special Amended docket, and it was a decision from the Board of Appeals affirming my rejection of an application. Now the applicant can decide whether to let it go abandoned, take it to the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, or try amending it, filing a Request for Continued Examination, and trying to change my mind. I didn’t quite finish any actions on my amendments, so I’m now at a total of five: four amendments on my Amended docket, and one Board decision on my Special Amended docket.

I finished a first action on my oldest Regular New case, and I almost finished an Office Action on one of my older amendments before going home (after 9:00 PM). I just have a little paperwork to finish this weekend. Then I’ll take a look at another amendment that’s getting a bit long in the tooth.
Before heading to work this morning, I successfully downloaded Knife Children, a sequel to Lois McMaster Bujold’s Sharing Knife series, to my Kindle Fire. Then I dutifully went in to work, and now have other duties to delay my reading the new book.

Sometimes adulting stinks.
I have a pair of guest posts up at the Poul Anderson Appreciation Blogspot. Among the deceased Grandmaster’s earlier works was a fantasy novel, The Broken Sword, which he later revised. I wrote a general comparison of the original and revised versions, and, due to some glitch with the website, the comments people left on that post show up here. I followed that up with second guest post on one particular change: in addition to editing the prose, Anderson substituted one Person for another in what he described as a brief but important scene, so I wrote an analysis of that change.

I have previously mentioned my opinion, shared with the now late Dr. Jerry Pournelle, that Anderson should have been awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.
There was an article in Slate earlier this month about John Engler’s departure as president of Michigan State University. Engler, formerly the Republican Governor of Michigan, did not sexually abuse any gymnasts himself, so far as we know, but he behaved disgracefully in treating the victims with contempt.

I know of him because of something else he did, which was presumably a matter of having been misinformed by the supposed experts, not of moral turpitude on his part: he cut property taxes, while raising income and perhaps other taxes to make up the revenue. He and Jennifer Granholm, a Democrat who was governor afterward, share discredit for helping to make Michigan, and Detroit in particular, the mess it now is. Most of the people who lost jobs thanks to Engler’s policies don’t make the connections, not having read Henry George, but there is a certain measure of justice in Engler now losing his own job.
No amendments appeared in my Amended docket this week, although I have looked at my rejected cases, and there are several with amendments which have not yet been processed and placed in my Amended docket. I did a Final Rejection on one of my older amendments, so now I’m down to four amendments.

I have spoken with an attorney regarding another amendment; he will discuss my proposal with his client, and I hope we can work out something mutually acceptable. I finished a first action on a Regular New case a few minutes before 3:00 PM Tuesday, in time to be counted for last biweek. Then I worked on a Request for Continued Examination case on my Regular New docket, and completed an Office Action on that. Then, in addition to my work on amendments, I started on my current oldest Regular New case (non-RCE).
The Financial Times published a letter by a British friend of mine Tuesday; I’ve met Dave Wetzel and his charming wife Heather at Georgist conferences. Here is the letter:

Euston case shows need for annual land value tax

The FT reports that Sydney & London Properties is taking out a lawsuit because it feels that the government-controlled High Speed 2 railway company undervalued its properties purchased under compulsory orders (“HS2 faces £500m lawsuit over valuations of London properties”, January 18). Sydney & London says HS2 failed to take into account the development potential around Euston.

Of course, it is not just one property company tha5 is being short-changed. Taxpayers funding the cost of HS2 will reap no benefit from the massive increase in land values around the stations that HS2 will serve.

Instead of taxing people’s earnings to pay for much-needed transport improvements, the government should introduce an annual land value tax to tap into the unearned incomes that all landowners enjoy.

Dave Wetzel
Feltham, Middlesex, UK
I arrived home in one piece late Sunday afternoon, did some grocery shopping, took care of a few things, and in the late evening went outside to take some cans and jars to the recycling dumpster. (The weather was bitterly cold.) I had seen the full moon low in the sky earlier; in the late evening I looked up to see it dim and reddened.

I remember staying up late one summer night many years ago, back in State College, to see an earlier lunar eclipse. I didn’t watch for an extended period last night, but I did get to see the sight.
I’m in the Philadelphia suburbs with my sister. My niece is under the weather, unfortunately, but we did talk a little last night. The junior of my sister’s two cats has rubbed against me, sat in my lap, and let me pet her, which is sweet, even though she has also nipped me for petting her when she was no longer in the mood to be petted. The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, who lives with my former brother-in-law, has come over and greeted me; she also seemed to enjoy the treat I brought her all the way from Arlington, or at least some of it; she will be given more later. She’s a nice dog, but she is a bit overweight these days.
This is an early edition, since I will be traveling to Pennsylvania to see my sister tomorrow. I got two regular amendments this week, and didn’t work on any, so I’m up to five amendments, all on my Amended docket.

I finished a first action rejection on my oldest Regular New case, and I have made progress on another Regular New, which I hope to finish before Tuesday at 3:00 PM, and get counted for this biweek.
If only all the bunglers and over-ambitious bullies in politics were Trumpians, life would be simpler, and I would be a Democrat by now. Unfortunately, as this analysis from Reason magazine online shows, this is not the case. There is real concern about rising carbon dioxide levels and global warming, but some of the Greens who want to take action are adamantly antinuclear, eschew market mechanisms, and think we can somehow solve the problem while doing without most of the plausible alternatives to fossil fuels.

Or do they think this? Are they sadly ignorant of engineering, the physical sciences, the social sciences, and the lessons of history, or are some of them not ignorant? Do some of the leaders see climate change as a beautiful reason to arrogate to themselves the power to manage everyone elses’ lives? How many fools (or at least regrettably ignorant persons) are there on the green left, and how many knaves?
Saturday evening, as is my wont, I went to Alexandria to do some work at the Patent Office, and then go to Whole Foods to do some shopping and eat dinner, and then back to the Patent Office. It was snowing, and the Pentagon City Metro station was closed, although not because of the snow; they were conducting some repairs and improvements. This meant that Metro was running shuttle buses, so I took a bus from Pentagon City to Braddock Road, and then a train one stop from Braddock Road to King Street.

Coming back, I took a train two stops from King Street to National Airport, and then a shuttle bus to Pentagon City; it was around midnight when I arrived. Normally there would be cabs by the Metro stop, or at least a cab would be likely to come by soon, but with the weather and the trains not serving Pentagon City, there weren’t any cabs. I entered the Ritz-Carlton, planning to ask someone just what the address was (it’s 1250 South Hayes, if you want to know), and pull my cellphone out from a pocket in my backpack to call a cab. The hotel employees graciously called a cab for me, saying that the cab would come faster that way.

After waiting for twenty minutes in the cold outside the Ritz-Carlton, while holding a bag of groceries, I went inside, and the gentleman at the front desk called again, and said that a cab might be there in fifteen minutes; there was evidently extra demand because of the weather. I told him to cancel the request, and started walking home, carrying my bag of groceries. It was after 1:00 PM when I arrived. I did get some healthful exercise, and there was beauty in the snow, but I wish I had started walking twenty minutes earlier.
I got one After Final amendment on my Expedited docket this week, and dealt with that. I also dealt with my two oldest amendments from the Amended docket, so now I’m down to three amendments, all on the Amended docket.

I’ve been working on my oldest Regular New case, but I’m not finished yet.

Last weekend was the end of the first quarter, and, thanks to dealing with one of my amendments an hour so before 3:00 PM, my production was high enough to keep me out of serious trouble. It was not, however, good enough for the long haul, so I need to raise my production for the remainder of the fiscal year.
To continue with Open Mike, Tuesday morning, August 28, 2018: Mike Curtis said that a cousin of his edits Worker’s World. She lives in Manhattan, and thinks that land is no longer the measure of people’s wealth; she said so the last time Mike Curtis met her. Now his sister says that she, the cousin, is going to read Progress and Poverty.

Dr. Polly Cleveland said that rich people often own stocks and bonds, but corporations own land. Corporations are unions of landowners, more powerful than labor unions.

That concludes my account of Open Mike. Accounts of other events will follow.
To continue with Open Mike in the morning of Tuesday, August 28, 2018, we heard from David Triggs, a British engineer who learned about Georgism as a twenty-year old in London, and is now seventy-six. He spoke briefly about natural law and the philosophy of Henry George, and of having been a civil engineer in India, Bangladesh, Africa, and Yemen. Any engineer must understand the laws of nature in order to know how to solve problems. He was a manager at Thames Water, then an independent management consultant.

In Baltimore, he said, we’re applying theories to practical problems. He spoke of the 1970 strike, when he organized scab labor to clean the sewage screens and avoid flooding houses. You need to operate to be a good designer; practical experience is needed to apply theory. He loves theory and the ethical basis of Georgism, but how to implement is also important.

Mr. Triggs further reminisced about how there was no war in Yemen when he was there, but he saw trouble coming. Yemen had tube wells, which were guarded by men with Kalashnikovs; the water was controlled by the qat barons. There is no use for technical experts if society and government are not functioning.

Then Alan Ridley spoke, and urged us to get up and do a few fencing exercises to get the blood flowing, which we did. These were stretches and such, not combat moves.

Dan Sullivan said that it’s not just Henry George; all of the classical liberals before Marx saw land as important: Locke, Smith, Franklin, Jefferson, William Penn. We get attacked on Henry George, but his ideas were not peculiar to him alone. Henry George got in between two gangs of monopolists, and was anti-monopoly [the two gangs being the capitalist robber barons appropriating the land, and the Communists seeking to have government appropriate and control everything]. Our movement is bigger than Henry George!

Ed Dodson chimed in to say that Benjamin Franklin wants dto meet the Physiocratic economist Francois Quesnay more than anyone lose in France.

To be continued.



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