U.S. Patent Office - Still Jumping the Shark

 

United States Patent Application Publication 20080033604

System and Method For Safely Flying Unmanned Aerial Vehicles in Civilian Airspace

 


 

I was hoping I wouldn’t have to go through this again, but here I am.

 

I am starting this in October 2011.

 

 

The Leahy-Smith America Invents Act was passed and signed into law last month.

 

See:

 

http://www.patentlyo.com/patent/2011/09/smith-leahy-america-invents-act-to-become-law-senate-passes-hr-1249-without-amendment.html

 

and

 

http://www.patentlyo.com/patent/2011/09/implementation-of-the-america-invents-act.html

 

 

It makes major changes to the Patent Law. Some go into effect immediately. Some will not go into effect until next year. None of the changes has been tested in the Courts yet, so no one knows exactly what the changes will mean to applicants and patent owners.

 

 

Jed Margolin

Virginia City Highlands, NV

October 21, 2011

 


 

I filed a non-provisional patent application on April 17, 2007.

 

Patent Application and References

 

 

It was not examined until September 1, 2010 in the First Office Action on the Merits (FOAM). The Examiner (Ronnie M. Mancho) totally rejected my claims.

 

First Office Action (PDF from File Wrapper)

 

I used OCR to convert it to an html file to make it text-searchable. (html)

 

 

 

I filed a Response on November 29, 2010.

 

My Response to the First Office Action (PDF from File Wrapper)

 

This is the PDF file that I filed. Since I made it from the MS Word file that I created, it is text-searchable (My PDF)

 

This is an html version. It does not have line numbers, or even page numbers. It does not include the Appendix. It is for people who like to read stuff like this just for fun. Click here.

 

 

In the Second Office Action, dated February 15, 2011 the Examiner totally rejected my claims again. He expanded on his grounds for rejection which constructively amounts to introducing new grounds for rejection. He made the rejection final, which effectively prevented me from responding to his new grounds for rejection. What made it even more annoying is that the Examiner could have made these grounds for rejection in the First Office Action where I could have responded to them.

 

Second Office Action (PDF from File Wrapper)

 

I used OCR to convert it to an html file to make it text-searchable. (html)

 

 

I called the Examiner and had a chat. I asked him to withdraw making the Second Office Action final so I could respond to his new grounds for rejection.

 

My Summary of Examiner Interview (PDF from File Wrapper)

 

This is the PDF file that I filed. Since I made it from the MS Word file that I created, it is text-searchable (My PDF)

 

 

I got nowhere with the Examiner.

 

 

I called the Examiner’s SPE (Khoi Tran) and had a chat.

 

My Summary of SPE Interview (PDF from File Wrapper)

 

This is the PDF file that I filed. Since I made it from the MS Word file that I created, it is text-searchable (My PDF)

 

I got nowhere with the Examiner’s SPE.

 

 

I could have filed a Request for Continuing Examination (RCE) but it would have been futile. The Examiner would have done a cut-and-paste of his old rejections and rejected it again. An RCE would have allowed me to respond to the Second Office Action (and introduce new evidence) but it would have cost money. It would also have given the Examiner performance counts that he did not deserve.

 

So, I filed an Appeal with the Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences (BPAI). Note that with the recent major changes to the Patent Law under the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act of 2011, it will now be called the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB).

 

First you have to tell them that you are appealing.

 

My Notice of Appeal (PDF from File Wrapper)

 

 

Then you have two months to file an Appeal Brief.

 

My Appeal Brief (PDF from File Wrapper)

 

This is the PDF file that I filed. Since I made it from the MS Word file that I created, it is text-searchable (My PDF)

 

This is an html version. It does not have line numbers, or even page numbers. It does not include the Evidence Appendix. It is for people who like to read stuff like this just for fun. Click here.

 

 

The Examiner filed his Examiner’s Answer.

 

Examiner’s Answer (PDF from File Wrapper)

 

I used OCR to convert it to an html file to make it text-searchable. (html)

 

 

The Examiner had two months to file his Examiner’s Answer (MPEP 1207.02). My Appeal Brief was forwarded to the Examiner on 6/28/2011. Two months from 6/28/2011 is 8/28/2011. The mailing date of the Examiner’s Answer is not until 9/14/2011. Apparently, Examiners can ignore the Rules without any penalty.

 

 

I had two months to file a Reply Brief to the Examiner’s Answer, making the deadline November 14. I filed my Reply Brief on October 21.

 

My Reply Brief (PDF from File Wrapper)

 

This is the PDF file that I filed. Since I made it from the MS Word file that I created, it is text-searchable (My PDF)

 

This is an html version. It does not have line numbers, or even page numbers. It is for people who like to read stuff like this just for fun. Click here.

 

 

 

It may still be awhile before it is docketed to the Board of Appeals. The Examiner can file a Supplemental Answer to my Reply Brief (if he wants to). Then I can file a Reply to the Examiner’s Supplemental Answer (If I want to, and I expect I would want to).

 

See MPEP 1208: http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/pac/mpep/documents/1200_1208.htm

 

 

Once it is finally docketed to the Board of Appeals there are about 25,000 cases ahead of me.

 

The Board of Appeals should get to it in about three and a half years (at the earliest) which would make it Spring 2015. See http://www.patentlyo.com/patent/2011/08/bpai-backlog-only-growth.html

 

 

Jed Margolin

Virginia City Highlands, NV

October 21, 2011

 


 

January 16, 2012

 

The case was finally docketed to the Board of Appeals (January 13, 2012). Click here.

 

There is a story behind this.

 

I filed my Reply Brief on October 21, 2011. It was forwarded to the Examiner on October 22, 2011.

 

I figured the Examiner had two months to file a Supplemental Answer.

 

By December 23, 2011 the Examiner had not filed one so I called BPAI to ask what the deal was.

 

This was right before Christmas and it appears that everyone had taken the week off except for the receptionist. At least one of the people I called had left a greeting message on his voicemail saying he would not be back until January 3.

 

I was promised that someone would call me the following week.

 

They kept their promise.

 

In the meantime I discovered the following by reading MPEP 1207.05 more closely:

 

1. The Examiner is not allowed to file a Supplemental Answer unless I had raised a new issue in my Reply Brief.

 

I. SUPPLEMENTAL EXAMINER'S AN-SWER RESPONDING TO A REPLY BRIEF

 

In response to a reply brief filed in compliance with 37 CFR 41.41, the primary examiner may: (A) withdraw the final rejection and reopen prosecution (see MPEP 1207.04); or (B) provide a supplemental examiner's answer responding to any new issue raised in the reply brief. The examiner cannot issue a supplemental examiner's answer if the reply brief raised no new issue.

 

Did I raise a new issue in my Reply Brief?

 

No, I responded to the Examiner’s new argument that:

 

It is believed that the aircraft flown in the prior art is flown with at least some safely since the pilot is required to practice flying the aircraft using a simulation 609. All aircraft pilots must go to school and practice before they are licensed to fly any aircraft be it civilian or military.

 

(I said, “The Examiner’s argument is nonsense. Practicing in a simulator does not guaranty safety in the real world. Would any member of this Board want to fly in a Boeing 747 whose pilots (all of the pilots), after extensive practice in a simulator, are making their first ever flight in an actual aircraft? Margolin wouldn’t. 2)

 

 

The only other thing the Examiner can do in response to my Reply is to withdraw the final rejection and reopen prosecution.

 

He obviously wasn’t going to do that.

 

What was he required to do in response to my Reply?

 

37 CFR 41.43 Examiner's response to reply brief.

 

(a) (1) After receipt of a reply brief in compliance with 41.41, the primary examiner must acknowledge receipt and entry of the reply brief. In addition, the primary examiner may withdraw the final rejection and reopen prosecution or may furnish a supplemental examiner's answer responding to any new issue raised in the reply brief.

 

{Emphasis added}

 

Note that:

 

1. It does not give a deadline for the Examiner to acknowledge receipt and entry of the reply brief.

 

2. Until the Examiner acknowledges receipt and entry of the reply brief the case will not be docketed to the Board of Appeals.

 

 

The law assumes that the Examiner will act in good faith. Not a good bet here.

 

In a Judicial Court your opponent does not get to decide when (or if) your case is docketed to the Court. It is docketed as soon as you file the Complaint. The USPTO Board of Appeals is not a Judicial Court. It is an Administrative Court run by the USPTO. Yet, if you file a 141 action with the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit the Court gives Substantial Deference to the USPTO.

 

 

Monday, December 26, was the Federal Holiday for Christmas.

 

On Tuesday, December 27, I did receive a callback from a supervisor for one of the Appeals Support Teams and I discussed things with him.

 

His first suggestion was that I talk to the Examiner. I said I didn’t think that the Examiner and I were on speaking terms.

 

He said that there was nothing the Board of Appeals could do until the Examiner entered my Reply Brief.

 

I said it looked like what I would have to do was:

 

1. Talk to the Commissioner’s Office;

 

and if that didn’t work,

 

2. File an Action in U.S. District Court under the Administrative Procedures Act because the USPTO was constructively denying me the legal right to appeal the Examiner’s decision.

 

He said he would send an email to the Examiner (or maybe the Examiner’s SPE).

 

And it worked.

 

The Examiner noted and entered my Reply Brief on December 29, 2011. Click here.

 

This is what the Examiner said:

 

 

Appellant's reply brief submitted 10/21/11 has been received and entered on file.

Apellant's {sic} remarks and arguments have been reviewed, but they are not convincing since appellants {sic} appears to require that that the prior art must recite the exact same terminologies in the claims.

It is believed that the prior art still reads on the claims.

The case has been forwarded to the Board of Patent Appeals.

 

 

{Emphasis added}

 

 

Is it normal for Examiners to add comments like this or is the Examiner taking another cheap shot at me?

 

I went to http://des.uspto.gov/Foia/BPAIReadingRoom.jsp where BPAI makes it possible to read their latest decisions.

 

The link to their decisions for the past 30 days is: http://des.uspto.gov/Foia/DispatchBPAIServlet?RetrieveRecent=30

 

Note that they call it “E-FOIA postings.” See http://www.uspto.gov/ip/boards/foia_rr/resources/search_bd_decns.jsp . FOIA is the Freedom of Information Act. It is extraordinary that the USPTO considers BPAI decisions to be a FOIA matter. Presumably, without the Freedom of Information Act the USPTO would keep BPAI decisions a secret.

 

On January 15, 2012 I pulled the BPAI decisions for the previous 30 days. Click here.

 

I picked the most recent 25 decisions ending on January 12 and looked up their File Wrappers.

 

 

Final Decisions of the Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences

 

 

Application No

Appeal No

Interference No

Publication No

Publication

Date

Patent No

Issue Date

*Decision Date

Style Name

 

1

11444860 - (D)

2009015132

NONE

20070279885A1

12/06/2007

NONE

NONE

01/12/2012

Ex Parte Basavanhally et al

2

90008869 - (D)

2012002361

NONE

NONE

NONE

NONE

NONE

01/12/2012

Ex Parte 6886553 et al

3

12189536 - (D)

2011012272

NONE

20100034879A1

02/11/2010

NONE

NONE

01/12/2012

Ex Parte Becker

4

10641853 - (D)

2010004240

NONE

20050038751A1

02/17/2005

NONE

NONE

01/12/2012

Ex Parte Gaetano

5

10939540 - (D)

2009012070

NONE

20050028426A1

02/10/2005

NONE

NONE

01/12/2012

Ex Parte Blette et al

6

11926244 - (D)

2010006679

NONE

20080084287A1

04/10/2008

NONE

NONE

01/12/2012

Ex Parte Sturm

7

11421624 - (D)

2010000369

NONE

20070289660A1

12/20/2007

NONE

NONE

01/12/2012

Ex Parte Aylward

8

11445360 - (D)

2010011618

NONE

20070281233A1

12/06/2007

NONE

NONE

01/12/2012

Ex Parte Pickering

9

10517906 - (D)

2010009820

NONE

20060060028A1

03/23/2006

NONE

NONE

01/12/2012

Ex Parte Cameron et al

10

11372198 - (D)

2010003807

NONE

20060206663A1

09/14/2006

NONE

NONE

01/12/2012

Ex Parte Kuwata

11

11211066 - (D)

2010009837

NONE

20060060515A1

03/23/2006

NONE

NONE

01/12/2012

Ex Parte Benevides et al

12

11095355 - (R)

2010001401

NONE

20050170314A1

08/04/2005

NONE

NONE

01/12/2012

Ex Parte Golden

13

10538913 - (D)

2010007594

NONE

20060100690A1

05/11/2006

NONE

NONE

01/12/2012

Ex Parte Venturelli

14

10743476 - (D)

2009012781

NONE

20050054381A1

03/10/2005

NONE

NONE

01/12/2012

Ex Parte Lee et al

15

11024967 - (D)

2009012635

NONE

20060149800A1

07/06/2006

NONE

NONE

01/12/2012

Ex Parte Egnor et al

16

10703762 - (D)

2009013101

NONE

20050101045A1

05/12/2005

NONE

NONE

01/12/2012

Ex Parte Shih et al

17

11338221 - (D)

2010000971

NONE

20060118137A1

06/08/2006

NONE

NONE

01/12/2012

Ex Parte Freidell

18

10016597 - (D)

2009012978

NONE

20040015940A1

01/22/2004

NONE

NONE

01/12/2012

Ex Parte Heisey et al

19

10693394 - (D)

2009012484

NONE

20040156526A1

08/12/2004

NONE

NONE

01/12/2012

Ex Parte Godin

20

11592893 - (D)

2011006116

NONE

20080105352A1

05/08/2008

NONE

NONE

01/12/2012

Ex Parte Ueyoko et al

21

11196632 - (D)

2010009835

NONE

20070031723A1

02/08/2007

NONE

NONE

01/12/2012

Ex Parte Mikhail et al

22

09859123 - (D)

2009012442

NONE

20030051142A1

03/13/2003

NONE

NONE

01/11/2012

Ex Parte Hidalgo et al

23

12230691 - (D)

2010010024

NONE

20090008819A1

01/08/2009

NONE

NONE

01/11/2012

Ex Parte Ozasa et al

24

10982385 - (D)

2010008125

NONE

20060100664A1

05/11/2006

NONE

NONE

01/11/2012

Ex Parte Pai et al

25

11198386 - (D)

2010000923

NONE

20060030906A1

02/09/2006

NONE

NONE

01/11/2012

Ex Parte Carroll

 

There were no Interferences, no Patent Numbers, and no Patent Dates, so I have left those categories off the following table. The Decision Dates are all from 1/11/2012 to 1/12/2012 so I have left that category off as well.

 

Out of these 25 cases there were seven cases where the Appellant did not file a Reply. In these cases the Examiner did not forward the case to BPAI. Yet, somehow, the cases were docketed.

 

Out of these 25 cases there were 18 cases where the Appellant did file a Reply. In all but two of these cases the Examiner properly noted that the Reply had been entered and considered, and that the case had been forwarded to the Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences.

 

In one of these two exceptions (10693394, Ex Parte Godin) it appears that the Appellant had made new arguments in his Reply Brief, and the Examiner was responding to those new arguments. However, the Examiner should have explicitly stated this and characterized her filing as a Supplemental Answer. If she had, then the Appellant could have filed a Supplemental Reply.

 

That leaves one case where the Examiner’s remarks are clearly prejudicial. In 11196632 (Ex Parte Mikhail et al) the Examiner starts out with:

 

Reply Brief has been received. The Examiner has no further remarks to make regarding the issue.

 

Then, after saying that he has no further remarks regarding the issue, he makes further remarks regarding the issue:

 

The Examiner maintains that the materials of the prior art and the instant application are the same and located in the same positions within the fuel cells and therefore read on the structure claims presented.

 

 

Final Decisions of the Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences

 

 

Application No

Appeal No

Publication No

Publication

Date

Style Name

 

Appellant

Filed Reply?

Examiner Entered Appeal?

File Wrapper Description

File Wrapper (Truncated)

Prejudicial Examiner Comments?

Results

1

11444860 - (D)

2009015132

20070279885A1

12/06/2007

Ex Parte Basavanhally et al

Click Here

Click Here

Click Here

Click Here

 

Affirmed

2

90008869 - (D)

2012002361

NONE

NONE

Ex Parte 6886553 et al

Click Here

Click Here

Click Here

Click Here

 

Affirm in-part

Reverse in-part

3

12189536 - (D)

2011012272

20100034879A1

02/11/2010

Ex Parte Becker

No

No

Click Here

Click Here

 

Dismissed

4

10641853 - (D)

2010004240

20050038751A1

02/17/2005

Ex Parte Gaetano

No

No

Click Here

Click Here

 

Affirm

5

10939540 - (D)

2009012070

20050028426A1

02/10/2005

Ex Parte Blette et al

No

No

Click Here

Click Here

 

Reverse

6

11926244 - (D)

2010006679

20080084287A1

04/10/2008

Ex Parte Sturm

Click Here

Click Here

Click Here

Click Here

 

Reverse

7

11421624 - (D)

2010000369

20070289660A1

12/20/2007

Ex Parte Aylward

No

No

Click Here

Click Here

 

Affirm

8

11445360 - (D)

2010011618

20070281233A1

12/06/2007

Ex Parte Pickering

Click Here

Click Here

Click Here

Click Here

 

Affirm

9

10517906 - (D)

2010009820

20060060028A1

03/23/2006

Ex Parte Cameron et al

Click Here

Click Here

Click Here

Click Here

 

Affirm in-part

10

11372198 - (D)

2010003807

20060206663A1

09/14/2006

Ex Parte Kuwata

Click Here

Click Here

Click Here

Click Here

 

Affirm

11

11211066 - (D)

2010009837

20060060515A1

03/23/2006

Ex Parte Benevides et al

No

No

Click Here

Click Here

 

Affirm

12

11095355 - (R)

2010001401

20050170314A1

08/04/2005

Ex Parte Golden

Click Here

Click Here

Click Here

Click Here

 

Rehearing Denied

13

10538913 - (D)

2010007594

20060100690A1

05/11/2006

Ex Parte Venturelli

Click Here

Click Here

Click Here

Click Here

 

Affirm

14

10743476 - (D)

2009012781

20050054381A1

03/10/2005

Ex Parte Lee et al

Click Here

Click Here

Click Here

Click Here

 

Affirm

15

11024967 - (D)

2009012635

20060149800A1

07/06/2006

Ex Parte Egnor et al

Click Here

Click Here

Click Here

Click Here

 

Affirm

16

10703762 - (D)

2009013101

20050101045A1

05/12/2005

Ex Parte Shih et al

Click Here

Click Here

Click Here

Click Here

 

Affirm

17

11338221 - (D)

2010000971

20060118137A1

06/08/2006

Ex Parte Freidell

Click Here

Click Here

Click Here

Click Here

 

Reverse

18

10016597 - (D)

2009012978

20040015940A1

01/22/2004

Ex Parte Heisey et al

Click Here

Click Here

Click Here

Click Here

 

Affirm

19

10693394 - (D)

2009012484

20040156526A1

08/12/2004

Ex Parte Godin

Click Here

Click Here

Click Here

Click Here

Maybe

Reverse

20

11592893 - (D)

2011006116

20080105352A1

05/08/2008

Ex Parte Ueyoko et al

No

No

Click Here

Click Here

 

Affirm

21

11196632 - (D)

2010009835

20070031723A1

02/08/2007

Ex Parte Mikhail et al

Click Here

Click Here

Click Here

Click Here

Yes

Reverse

22

09859123 - (D)

2009012442

20030051142A1

03/13/2003

Ex Parte Hidalgo et al

No

No

Click Here

Click Here

 

Affirm

23

12230691 - (D)

2010010024

20090008819A1

01/08/2009

Ex Parte Ozasa et al

Click Here

Click Here

Click Here

Click Here

 

Reverse

24

10982385 - (D)

2010008125

20060100664A1

05/11/2006

Ex Parte Pai et al

Click Here

Click Here

Click Here

Click Here

 

Reverse

25

11198386 - (D)

2010000923

20060030906A1

02/09/2006

Ex Parte Carroll

Click Here

Click Here

Click Here

Click Here

 

Affirm

 

 

So, what does it all mean?

 

1. Based on this sample it is not normal for the Examiner to use the Acknowledgement and Entry to comment on the issues.

 

2. Yes, my Examiner took a cheap shot at me.

 

Note that in the two cases where the Examiner took a cheap shot at the Appellant the Examiner was reversed.

 

Perhaps it means that when Examiners take a cheap shot at the Appellant it is because they know they have a weak case.

 

However, statistics only apply to groups. Statistics do not apply to individuals (unless you are a Medical Insurance company).

 

Now that my Appeal has been docketed to the Board of Appeals they should get to it in about three years, which will make it around January 2015.

 

 

Jed Margolin

Virginia City Highlands, NV

January 16, 2012


 

September 16, 2014

 

It didn’t take until January 2015.

 

The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) released their decision on April 23, 2014.

 

The Summary of the Decision says, “We AFFIRM IN-PART.”

 

They also Reversed the Examiner In-Part. Why didn’t they put that in the Summary?

 

Here is the decision from the File Wrapper: Click here.

 

I used OCR to convert it to html: Click here.

 

The case was heard by Administrative Patent Judges (APJs):

William A. Capp;

Neil T. Powell;

Bart A. Gerstenblith

 

The majority decision was written by APJ Gerstenblith.

 

APJ Capp dissented in-part. He wanted to affirm the Examiner completely. He even gave the Examiner detailed instructions on how to do it.

 

The majority opinion addressed APJ Capp’s dissenting opinion in Footnote 4, starting on page 10:

 

FN4 - The dissent-in-part spends nearly three pages attempting to explain why one of ordinary skill in the art would understand Margolin to disclose these elements of the claims. Had the Examiner provided such an explanation for the rejection, we would have had something specific to review. Here, however, the Examiner's entire rejection repeats the language of the claims and simply adds a citation to "Margolin (abstract; figs. 1-7; col. 3, lines 8-67; col. 4, lines 1-67; col. 5, lines 1-67)" without more. See, e.g., Ans. 6. Nothing about our reversal requires an ipsissimis verbis test as the dissent-in-part alleges; rather, our reversal simply requires some explanation or indication by the Examiner as to how the reference discloses the elements of the claims such that we may review adequately each issue on appeal before us. Here, the Examiner's citation to all seven figures of Margolin and nearly three columns worth of text, unaccompanied by any explanation or indication as to how the elements of the claims are taught therein, failed to do so. Unlike the approach taken in the dissent-in-part, we are not inclined to substitute our view for what the Examiner might have intended absent some indication in the rejection.

{Emphasis added}

 

That one of the things that made this case so frustrating. The Examiner rejected claims by repeating the claims and citing a large part of my application including all of the figures. When I complained about it and said I wanted him to point out where in the large amount of text he had cited he found the claim elements he responded by accusing me of requiring an ipsissimis verbis test. Ipsissimis verbis means “in the identical words.” I never asked him to do that. He set up a straw man and then knocked him down. APJ Capp didn’t have any problem with that.

 

I find it disturbing that APJ Capp gave the Examiner explicit instructions on how to properly do a complete rejection. Suppose, in a judicial trial, the Judge tells the Prosecutor that he is losing the case, and then tells him/her exactly what to do in order to win it?

 

PTAB is supposed to review the case fairly, not be an advocate for the Examiner.

 

The Majority reversed the Examiner on claims 2, 5-7, 9, and 12-14.

 

For various reasons I did not ask PTAB to reconsider its decision and I did not file a 35 U.S.C. 141 appeal to the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit or a 35 U.S.C. 145 appeal to U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.

(See http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/pac/mpep/s1216.html)

 

One of the reasons is that I didn’t want to spend several more years on this. I filed the regular patent application in April 2007. By the time PTAB’s decision came out seven years had gone by. I have other things to do.

 

After PTAB’s decision came out it went back to the Examiner. I expected him to do a copy-and-paste of APJ Capp’s instructions and issue another rejection. He didn’t do that. (Maybe he was tired of the case, too.) See the Notice of Allowability: Click here.

 

Instead he brought claim 2 into claim 1 and claim 9 into claim 8.

I would have been happy to do that after the First Office Action if the Examiner had given my application a fair examination.

 

In fact, I did do that in the application I filed, in original claim 5 (now claim 4).

 

1. A system for safely flying an unmanned aerial vehicle in civilian airspace comprising:

(a) a ground station equipped with a synthetic vision system;

(b) an unmanned aerial vehicle capable of supporting said synthetic vision system;

(c) a remote pilot operating said ground station;

(d) a communications link between said unmanned aerial vehicle and said ground station;

(e) a system onboard said unmanned aerial vehicle for detecting the presence and position of nearby aircraft and communicating this information to said remote pilot;

 

whereas said remote pilot uses said synthetic vision system to control said unmanned aerial vehicle during at least selected phases of the flight of said unmanned aerial vehicle, and during those phases of the flight of said unmanned aerial vehicle when said synthetic vision system is not used to control said unmanned aerial vehicle said unmanned aerial vehicle is flown using an autonomous control system,

 

wherein said selected phases of the flight of said unmanned aerial vehicle comprise:

(a) when said unmanned aerial vehicle is within a selected range of an airport or other designated location and is below a first specified altitude;

(b) when said unmanned aerial vehicle is outside said selected range of an airport or other designated location and is below a second specified altitude.

4. A system for safely flying an unmanned aerial vehicle in civilian airspace comprising:

(a) a ground station equipped with a synthetic vision system;

(b) an unmanned aerial vehicle capable of supporting said synthetic vision system;

(c) a remote pilot operating said ground station;

(d) a communications link between said unmanned aerial vehicle and said ground station;

(e) a system onboard said unmanned aerial vehicle for detecting the presence and position of nearby aircraft and communicating this information to said remote pilot;

 

whereas said remote pilot uses said synthetic vision system to control said unmanned aerial vehicle during at least selected phases of the flight of said unmanned aerial vehicle, and during those phases of the flight of said unmanned aerial vehicle when said synthetic vision system is not used to control said unmanned aerial vehicle said unmanned aerial vehicle is flown using an autonomous control system,

 

and whereas the selected phases of the flight of said unmanned aerial vehicle comprise:

(a) when said unmanned aerial vehicle is within a selected range of an airport or other designated location and is below a first specified altitude;

(b) when said unmanned aerial vehicle is outside said selected range of an airport or other designated location and is below a second specified altitude.

 

The only difference is the use of “wherein” instead of “whereas”.

 

He did the same thing by bringing original claim 9 into original claim 8 (they are now claim 7).

Claim 7 (as issued) is now the same as claim 10.

 

7. A method for safely flying an unmanned aerial vehicle as part of a unmanned aerial system equipped with a synthetic vision system in civilian airspace comprising the steps of:

(a) using a remote pilot to fly said unmanned aerial vehicle using synthetic vision during at least selected phases of the flight of said unmanned aerial vehicle, and during those phases of the flight of said unmanned aerial vehicle when said synthetic vision system is not used to control said unmanned aerial vehicle an autonomous control system is used to fly said unmanned aerial vehicle;

(b) providing a system onboard said unmanned aerial vehicle for detecting the presence and position of nearby aircraft and communicating this information to said remote pilot;

 

wherein said selected phases of the flight of said unmanned aerial vehicle comprise:

(a) when said unmanned aerial vehicle is within a selected range of an airport or other designated location and is below a first specified altitude;

(b) when said unmanned aerial vehicle is outside said selected range of an airport or other designated location and is below a second specified altitude.

10. A method for safely flying an unmanned aerial vehicle as part of a unmanned aerial system equipped with a synthetic vision system in civilian airspace comprising the steps of:

(a) using a remote pilot to fly said unmanned aerial vehicle using synthetic vision during at least selected phases of the flight of said unmanned aerial vehicle, and during those phases of the flight of said unmanned aerial vehicle when said synthetic vision system is not used to control said unmanned aerial vehicle an autonomous control system is used to fly said unmanned aerial vehicle;

(b) providing a system onboard said unmanned aerial vehicle for detecting the presence and position of nearby aircraft and communicating this information to said remote pilot;

 

whereas said selected phases of the flight of said unmanned aerial vehicle comprise:

(a) when said unmanned aerial vehicle is within a selected range of an airport or other designated location and is below a first specified altitude;

(b) when said unmanned aerial vehicle is outside said selected range of an airport or other designated location and is below a second specified altitude.

 

Did the Examiner do this deliberately, or was he just being careless as usual? (I am being very generous by using the word “careless.”)

 

In any event, the final result is that I have gotten what I think is a reasonable patent.

 

I have posted it and the references here:

 

 

The Patent Office even gave me a Patent Term Adjustment (PTA) of 2419 days. That means that it will expire 20 years from 4/17/2007 plus 2419 days. That should make the expiration date Wednesday, November 30, 2033. That assumes that all maintenance fees are paid and the Earth is not hit by a large enough (but still small) asteroid or by a coronal mass ejection (CME) from the Sun like the one that narrowly missed us in July 2012. See:  http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2014/02may_superstorm/

 

Jed Margolin

Virginia City Highlands, NV

September 16, 2014