Saturday, December 30, 2006

Twenty Habits of Ineffectual Leaders

Since starting this blog I have resisted the temptation to rant about past jobs and the people I have encountered in these positions. Many blogs are a place for lots of sour grapes, or just living in the past to assign blame. But a recent article in Business Week, Bad Habits That Can Hold You Back, struck such a chord with me that I feel compelled to devote some words to it in this posting.

Below are the twenty bad habits of ineffectual leaders identified in the BW article.

Winning Too Much: The need to win at all costs and in all situations—when it matters, when it doesn’t, and when it’s totally beside the point.

Adding Too Much Value: The overwhelming desire to add our two cents to every discussion.

Passing Judgment: The need to rate others and impose our standards on them.

Making Destructive Comments: The needless sarcasms and cutting remarks that we think make us sound sharp and witty.

Starting with “No,” “But,” or “However”: The overuse of these qualifiers, which secretly say to everyone, “I’m right. You’re wrong.”

Telling the World How Smart We Are: The need to show people we’re smarter than they think we are.

Speaking When Angry: Using emotional volatility as a management tool.

Negativity: The need to share our negative thoughts, even when we weren’t asked.

Withholding Information: The refusal to share information in order to maintain an advantage over others.

Failing to Give Proper Recognition: The inability to praise and reward.

Claiming Credit We Don’t Deserve: The most annoying way to overestimate our contribution to any success.

Making Excuses: The need to reposition our annoying behavior as a permanent fixture so people excuse us for it.

Clinging to the Past: The need to deflect blame away from ourselves and onto events and people from our past; a subset of blaming everyone else.

Playing Favorites: Failing to see that we are treating someone unfairly.

Refusing to Express Regret: The inability to take responsibility for our actions, admit we’re wrong, or recognize how our actions affect others.

Not Listening: The most passive-aggressive form of disrespect for colleagues.

Failing to Express Gratitude: The most basic form of bad manners.

Punishing the Messenger: The misguided need to attack the innocent, who are usually only trying to protect us.

Passing the Buck: The need to blame everyone but ourselves.

An Excessive Need to Be “Me”: Exalting our faults as virtues simply because they exemplify who we are.

I once had a boss that exhibited nearly all of these bad behaviors. It was one of the most debillitating experiences of my professional career. No matter how hard I worked or what I accomplished, I remained in the shadow of this person's ego and indifference. Yet I continued to work for this person because I labored under a naïve notion that he would be found out by the company and be summarily dismissed or demoted. My mistake was to not move onward as soon as I recognized these symptoms. I enjoyed the work I was doing but ignored the effect this boss was having on my personal and professional life. To this day my family and I cringe whenever this person's name is mentioned.

If you see your boss or company management exhibiting the behaviors above, it is time for you to start looking around for something better.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

USPTO Patent Performance in 2006

Source: <>

"Patent examiners completed 332,000 patent applications in 2006, the largest number ever, while achieving the lowest patent allowance error rate -- 3.5% -- in over 20 years. At 54%, the patent allowance rate was also the lowest on record. [See Figure below] Patent allowance rate is the percentage of applications reviewed by examiners that are approved."

"The USPTO received in excess of 440,000 patent applications in 2006, a record number. To help meet the demand, the agency hired a record 1,218 patent examiners, exceeding its goal by more than 200 people. To support this dramatic hiring increase, the USPTO replaced its one-on-one training model with a university approach for new hires. This allowed the agency to deliver comprehensive training to new examiners, while more experienced examiners and supervisors focused on quality examination. The agency will continue to hire over 1,000 patent examiners each year for the next five years. Even so, the volume of applications will continue to outpace the agency's capacity to examine them. USPTO continues to look for ways, beyond hiring, to reduce the backlog, while maintaining examination quality. "

Working at home: "The first 500 patent examiners began working from home four days a week, using a hoteling program to book office space the one day a week they are in the office. The agency expects that an additional 500 examiners will be added to those already working from home each year for at least the next five years."

From the numbers above, we see that the USPTO is receiving more patent applications than they are completing, i.e., the USPTO is completing one application for every 1.32 applications received. From 1997 to 2006, the number of patent applications being filed have increased by 87 percent. In 2006, the backlog of patent applications exceeded 700,000! This backlog increased the USPTO pendency (see figure below) for taking action on the submitted application.

As shown in the Figure above, USPTO first action pendency is now exceeding 22 months. Average first action pendency measures the average time in months from filing until an examiner’s initial determination is made of the patentability of an invention. Indeed, some business method patent applications have taken over ten years before issuance!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays

'Merry Christmas', 'Happy Holidays', or 'Happy New Year' in...

Afrikander - Een Plesierige Kerfees
Arabic - Eid Milad Majeed -or- Eid Saied or Aiad Saiedieh -or- Koul Aam Wa Inta Bekeir
Argentine - Felices Pasquas Y felices ano Nuevo
Armenian - Shenoraavor Nor Dari yev Pari Gaghand
Assamese - Natun Bacharar Subha Kamana
Azeri - Tezze Iliniz Yahsi Olsun
Basque - Zorionstsu Eguberri. Zoriontsu Urte Berri On
Bengali - Naba Bochorer Shubho Kamona
Bohemian - Vesele Vanoce
Brazilian - Boas Festas e Feliz Ano Novo
Breton - Nedeleg laouen na bloavezh mat
Bulgarian - Tchestita Koleda; Tchestito Rojdestvo Hristovo
Chinese -
(Mandarin) Kung His Hsin Nien bing Chu Shen Tan
(Catonese) Kung Cho Saint Town Kun Hall Sun Hai
Cornish - Nadelik looan na looan blethen noweth
Corsican - Pace e Salute
Cree - Mitho Makosi Kesikansi
Croatian - Sretan Bozic I Nova Godina
Czech - Prejeme Vam Vesele Vanoce a stastny Novy Rok
Danish - Gladelig Jul
Dutch - Vrolijk Kerstfeest en een Gelukkig Nieuwjaar!
English - Merry Christmas
Esperanto - Gajan Kristnaskon
Estonian - Roomsaid Joulu Puhi
Farsi - Cristmas-e-shoma mobarak bashad
Finnish - Hyvää Joulua ja Onnellista Uutta Vuotta
French - Joyeux Noel et Bonne Annee
Frisian - Noflike Krystdagen en in protte Lok en Seine yn it Nije Jier!
German - Froehliche Weihnachten
Greek - Kala Christouyenna!
Hawaiian - Mele Kalikimaka
Hebrew - Mo'adim Lesimkha. Chena tova -or- Chag Sameach and L'shana tova
Hindi - Shub Naya Baras -or- Navin Varshabhinandan
Hungarian - Kellemes Karacsonyi unnepeket
Icelandic - Gledileg Jol
Indonesian - Selamat Hari Natal
Iraqi - Idah Saidan Wa Sanah Jadidah
Irish Gaelic - Le gach dea gui i gcomhair na Nollag agus na h-Aithbhliana
Irish - Nollaig Shona Dhuit
Italian - Buone Feste Natalizie
Japanese - Shinnen omedeto. Kurisumasu Omedeto
Kannada - Hosa Varushada Shubashayagalu
Korean - Sung Tan Chuk Ha
Latvian - Priecigus Ziemas Svetkus un Laimigu Jauno Gadu
Lettish - Priecigus Ziemassvetkus
Lithuanian - Linksmu Kaledu
Manx - Nollick ghennal as blein vie noa
Maori - Meri Kirihimete
Marathi - Shubh Nava Varsh –or- Shubh Varshabhinandan -or- Navin Varshachya Shubhecchha
Navajo - Merry Keshmish
Nepali - Naaya barshako subbha kamana
Norwegian - God Jul Og Godt Nytt Aar
Pennsylvania German - En frehlicher Grischtdaag un en hallich Nei Yaahr!
Polish - Wesolych Swiat Bozego Narodzenia
Portuguese - Boas Festas
Rapa-Nui - Mata-Ki-Te-Rangi. Te-Pito-O-Te-Henua
Rumanian - Sarbatori vesele
Russian - Pozdrevlyayu s prazdnikom Rozhdestva is Novim Godom
Serbian - Hristos se rodi
Slovakian - Sretan Bozic or Vesele vianoce
Samoan - La Maunia Le Kilisimasi Ma Le Tausaga Fou
Scots Gaelic - Nollaig Chridheil agus Bliadhna Mhath Ur
Serb-Croatian - Sretam Bozic. Vesela Nova Godina
Singhalese - Subha nath thalak Vewa. Subha Aluth Awrudhak Vewa
Slovak - Vesele Vianoce. A stastlivy Novy Rok
Slovene - Vesele Bozicne. Screcno Novo Leto
Spanish - Feliz Navidad
Swedish - God Jul and (Och) Ett Gott Nytt Ar
Tagalog - Maligayamg Pasko. Masaganang Bagong Taon
Tamil - Nathar Puthu Varuda Valthukkal
Telugu - Nutana Samvatsara Subhaakaankshalu (Happy New Year to You)
Thai - Sawadee Pee Mai
Turkish - Noeliniz Ve Yeni Yiliniz Kutlu Olsun
Ukrainian - Srozhdestvom Kristovym
Urdu - Naya Saal Mubarak Ho
Vietnamese - Chung Mung Giang Sinh
Welsh - Nadolig Llawen
Yugoslavian - Cestitamo Bozic
Zulu - Sinifisela Ukhisimusi Omuhle Nomnyaka Obusisiwe
Happy holidays to everyone!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Day in The Life of a Patent Analyst

What does a person who works with intellectual property and is not an attorney do day to day? I work as a wireless patent forensic specialist. So what exactly does that mean?

Briefly, wireless technical intellectual property (IP) forensic analysis comprises the following activities: validity, invalidity, infringement, non-infringement, valuation, assertion targeting, acquisition due diligence, prior-art review, claim charts, Markman ruling assessment, Rule 11 preparation, claim construction, application ghost-writing, licensing carve-out language, and more.

More specifically the services I provide are as follows:

* Provide technical product insight to legal counsel for the protection of IP assets; serve as the technical liaison with outside law firms, for filing or protection in litigation, oppositions, and patent interferences.

* Participate / assist in worldwide patent application preparation and prosecution.

* Assist in preparation and prosecution patent applications before the USPTO.

* Review and conduct patent searches, and prior art searches for patents involving semiconductor technology and other technology related patents.

* Assist in the legal and factual research and, review and edit pleadings, applications and other technical and legal documents in connection with a variety of intellectual property issues.

* Assist in procuring rights to technology and participate in due diligence reviews.

* Assist in managing licensed-in filings from acquired companies; coordinate with licensor's attorneys to secure patents.

* Help analyze patents and prepare infringement, validity, and freedom-to-operate opinions, including working with outside counsel.

*Assist in developing clients' strategy on how they can develop an area, strengthen patents and work around roadblocks in patents.

* Counsel clients through participation in various levels of R&D and other cross-functional team meetings.

* Identify research subject to filing of patent applications.

* Conduct educational seminars with internal staff on technology and intellectual property.

* Help review agreements such as material transfer agreements.

As inferred, my daily life is basically a solitary activity using my resources gained from over two decades of experience in the wireless telecommunications industry. In a subsequent blog entry I will take a deeper dive showing the reader how I go about dissecting a patent for use by intellectual property attorneys use in offensive or defensive matters.