A Cautionary Tale for Young Lawyers

Prof. Dennis Crouch, at the respected and often-cited Patently-O blog, had a post several weeks ago with a heading that was good advice, Don’t Write This Letter to the Patent Office:

We all get frustrated. After an examiner rejected his client’s application for a telescoping tripod sprinkler, patent attorney Andrew Schroeder could no longer resist and filed the following remarks:

REMARKS: Are you drunk? No, seriously…are you drinking scotch and whiskey with a side of crack cocaine while you “examine” patent applications? (Heavy emphasis on the quotes.) Do you just mail merge rejection letters from your home? Is that what taxpayers are getting in exchange for your services? Have you even read the patent application? I’m curious. Because you either haven’t read the patent application or are… (I don’t want to say the “R” word) “Special.”

Numerous examples abound in terms of this particular Examiner not following the law. Clearly, the combination of references would render the final product to be inoperable for its intended use. However, for this Special Needs Examiner, logic just doesn’t cut it. It is manifestly clear that this Examiner has a huge financial incentive to reject patent applications so he gets a nice Christmas bonus at the end of the year. When in doubt, reject right?

Since when did the USPTO become a post World War II jobs program? What’s the point of hiring 2,000 additional examiners when 2,000 rubber stamps would suffice just fine? So, tell me something Corky…what would it take for a patent application to be approved? Do we have to write patent applications in crayon? Does a patent application have to come with some sort of pop-up book? Do you have to be a family member or some big law firm who incentivizes you with some other special deal? What does it take Corky?

Perhaps you might want to take your job seriously and actually give a sh.t! What’s the point in having to deal with you Special Olympics rejects when we should just go straight to Appeals? While you idiots sit around in bathtubs farting and picking your noses, you should know that there are people out here who actually give a sh.t about their careers, their work, and their dreams.

Your job is not a joke, but you are turning it into a regular three ring circus. If you can’t motivate yourself to take your job seriously, then you need to quit and let someone else take over what that actually wants to do the job right.

See U.S. Patent Application No. 13/068530 (PAIR). [Update: It appears that the PTO has now removed the letter from the file history.] …

An effective way for a patent lawyer to communicate with the patent office? You decide.

But Andrew Schroeder wasn’t done — instead of posting an apology (which I expect Patently-O would have been glad to post), or even just ignoring the publicity, he doubled down on rude, with several posts such as this one, calling Prof. Crouch a “dickhead” and then using various further vulgarities. This unsurprisingly led to more coverage, for instance at Above The Law and TechDirt.

The reputational consequences of these communications to Mr. Schroeder can be seen by Googling Andrew Schroeder patent. There is one bit of good news from this, though: The winners are Mr. Schroeder’s prospective clients, who can now more easily get a sense of the sort of conduct that they can expect from him.