Thursday, August 17, 2006

U.S. Patent Code ... in verse

U. S. Code, Part 35 - Patents

The Copyright Code is here
The Trademark Code is here

These verses are part
Thirty five of the code
Of the U. S. of A.
Written down as an ode

They summarize patent law
Most generally
But don't cover every fine
Detail, you see

For instance small business
Pays half the fees stated
This info was left out
Of what was related

So what I have written
Be it naughty or nice
Is no substitute for real
Legal advice

(And where I write "he"
I don't mean to insist
That a man is implied
I'm not that Chauvinist)

Part I


This section establishes
The office, PT
And says that it's located
In Washington, D.C.


The office can do what
It does, naturally
Make patents and trademarks
For people to see


There's directors, commissioners,
And lawyers there, too
They all should be trained
So they know what to do


Anyone working there
In any capacity
Can't claim any patents,
To ensure their veracity


The patent dispensers
Can't sit and look pretty
They have to take heed of
An advisory committee


After making decisions,
Either "yes" or "rejected",
A board of appeals may now
Change what they just did


The director can't only
Depend on his looks
He has to be smart and
Read plenty of books


The director may also
Reclassify subjects
In order to help decide
Accepts or rejects


The director may give -
He's got nothing to hide -
Copies of patents and
Pics, certified


He also may publish
This stuff in a journal
So it can be read by
All people, external


He can also give copies
To foreigners; although
Only if they're from NAFTA
Or the WTO


Libraries also
Get copies each year
They make for good doorstops
Or so I do hear


In June every year
He reports the amount
Of money left in the
PTO's bank account


If you pay any fees, you
Can now feel relieved -
The postmark establishes
When they're received


Documents received can be
Sent in by mail
Either electronic
Or delivered by snail


If you need to appear in
A court to testify
The director may tell you
What rules will apply


If you are a witness
It's no cause to unravel
They pay for your trouble
And also your travel


Some things you can mail in
If signed, under oath
Lying may cost money,
Or imprisonment, or both


Documents may sometimes be
Accepted when wrong
If corrected ones will soon
Be following along


The director can fire people
Pretty much when he feels
(If you're wondering, section 31
Has since been repealed)


Pretending to practice
In the patenting field
Will cost you a thousand bucks
When your guilt is revealed


There's all sorts of fees
To be paid for this service
If you're six months past due
You had better be nervous


The fees get collected
And used to pay costs
Important info without which
You'd surely be lost

Part II


Some words are defined here
To prevent all contention
For instance: "invention" means
Uh, well it means "invention"


Patents are for processes,
Machines, or compositions,
Or improvements thereof,
Subject to conditions


If already known
Or in print, or described,
Or abandoned, a patent
Cannot be applied


A process that anyone could
Discover's superfluous
You can't patent it, for it's
Patently obvious


You can only claim patent
If you made the invention
In a country with which we
Have no contention


If you come from outer space
The rules aren't dismissed
Apparently this applies to
The lawyers who wrote this


To apply for a patent
You fill out in writing
And you swear and you pay
Isn't that exciting?


You fill out your claim
About what the thing does
And how it all works
And wherefore and because


You can send in some pictures
To make your case clear
You can use finger paints
If your children are near


You may need to send in a
Working model, too
For things biological
You send in some goo


You then make an oath
That you're telling the truth
And then go to dinner
And drink your vermouth


Inventors join forces if
Co-invention is proved
You can also join later
Or have your name removed


If you're dead, your estate
Might on patents insist;
Wait, if you're dead, how
Are you reading this?


If you don't want to patent
Don't worry too much
Let someone else do it
For a fee or somesuch


If you're already registered
Outside the states
You are retroactively granted
Within a year of the date


A followup patent
Is often permitted
To be dated to when the
First one was submitted


Two inventions should not
Be submitted together
So split them, and next time
Don't try to be clever


Patent applications are
Kept in obscurity
Especially ones that
Affect national security


A mysterious section;
It says the director
Will don trenchcoat and specs
And become an inspector


If rejected, a letter to
The inventor goes flying
It says, "Sorry. No good. But
Thank you for trying."


If you fail to reply
To a letter you get
Your application is invalid
Which you'll surely regret


If you twice get rejected
I know just how you feel
Take heart, and complain to
The board of appeals


Interference is when
Two patents disagree
Kind of like in football


If you're still unhappy, you
Can complain higher up;
Has anyone else noticed that
The numbering is screwed up?


Just go to the Federal
Circuit to yell
Was that "Circuit" or "Circus"?
How can anyone tell?


The Circuit (or Circus)
Will request all the docs
And the PTO sends them
Overnight in a box


It decides what to do
And will tell you quite freely
You can bribe them with small bills
Or gifts (no, not really)


Weirder yet, if you don't like
Federals of that sort,
You can yell at the office
And take them to court


And the same thing applies
For interference probs,
But you probably won't win
If you break down in sobs


If your patent is granted
You'll get it the day
That you break out your wallet
And finally pay


An assignee can also
Receive it for you
Make sure he remembers
To pass it on, too


The patent is stamped, and
It's signed and it's sealed
And it's boiled and basted
And posted and peeled


The patent applies in the
Days and the nights
For the next twenty years
Giving exclusive rights


You can't extend patents
For even one day
Unless pending research
By the FDA


An exception is made
To give extension
For drugs made during Carter's


More exceptions are granted
For DNA and stuff
To ensure that they have been
Tested enough


Statuatory registration
May also be involved
Even before other
Issues are solved


A whole chapter follows
Devoted to plants
There's no such provision
For new types of ants


Why not? Ants are much
Cuter than greenery
They crawl upside down
And they brighten the scenery


And ants are important
They aerate the ground
And they clean up dead leaves
Wherever they're found


By the way, you may notice
That plants I'm ignoring
It's mostly because this
Whole chapter was boring


This next chapter talks about
Patents for design
Get out your finger paints
And step up to the line


The previous priority
System's used here
For checking the dates
Day and month, and the year


Design patents last only
For fourteen years
By which time the next fad
Of style appears


Some patents are secret
For national fears
This secrecy must be
Renewed every year


Any secret patent will
Be quickly removed
If filing in some other
Country is proved


If secrecy harms you
You'll be compensated
Important people tell you
How this is calculated


A regular patent you
Filed for here
Can be filed abroad if
You wait half a year


You can only do that
With a license obtained
Without it you'll lose
Unless error is claimed


Publishing secrets is
Really uncool
A lesson you should have learned
Back in high school


Permission is granted
To people who warrant
If you have to ask, then you
Certainly aren't


More rules can be written
About secrecy
And hidden in places
Where no one can see


This chapter deals mostly
With federally assisted
Inventions; yours wasn't
You probably missed it


More plain definitions are
Written out here
In order to make sure
All meanings are clear


Sometimes the government
Let's you keep what you made
It depends on a poker game
Who won, and who played


Even when the government
Doesn't make you lose it
They'll probably force you
To let them use it


If you license it out
In any circumstance
You must give U.S.
Companies first chance


The feds won't blab secrets
With their interests at stake
It might interfere
With the money they'd make


Once again, here's a clause
That if these rules are lacking
More rules may be created
With federal backing


Federal agencies
Should hold patents, because
They could patent up "war"
Before somebody else does


All parts of the government
Every hill, town, and alley
Must listen to the government
Except Tennessee Valley (it's true)


A federal patent
Can be licensed to mentors
Who may actually need it
Like "Bob's House of Inventors"


A really long section
That talks about precedence
And goes on for pages
With little or no consequence


These special regulations
For citizens governmental
Won't help you in the least
For any acts criminal


Educational grants are
Not covered by these
Laws; so go patent
Your blue college cheese

Part III


If a patent's defective
As some are, naturally,
You can have them updated
If you pay the right fee


The old one is replaced by
The new. Too bad we
Can't as simply replace a bad


A partial invalidation
Doesn't wreck the whole claim
Just mark what's in error and
Find someone to blame


If the office made an error
The director must pontificate
Whether to correct it
Or issue a certificate


If the applicant made the error
The choices are the same
But corrections cost money
To stay in the game


You can even have names
Corrected within,
You should spell your name correctly
When you first send it in


Patents are property
According to this small part
You can sell them, or trade them,
Or buy them at Walmart


Each owner in joint can
Sell his part or hers
Regardless of what the
Other owners prefer


If the patent is needed
By the U. S. armed forces
All dates are extended
As a matter of courses


Using patented methods
Or a patented device
Is considered infringement
And it isn't quite nice


But patented engines
Not available here
Can be used in your vehicle
Without any fear


New patents released cannot
Cause an infraction
A year after you started
Doing your action


The civil court rules
On all cases without fuss
Because patent infringement
Just isn't civil-rous


You can claim in defense
That the patent is wrong
Or the claims that it makes
Were obvious all along


The court may then rule
An injunction, or not
Against you, against them
For who knows why and what


The court may award damages
Or minimally royalties
Depending on how much you
Win the court's loyalties


The court may award court fees
In exceptional cases
Like ripping up patents
And throwing into faces


You can only collect damages
For up to six years
Get those lawyers going
And spread the good cheer


You can mark things protected
By writing on them "pat."
And the number; you won't collect
Damages without that


If part of the patent is
Found to be invalid
The rest still applies
Like a steak without salad


Design patents are also
Protected by all of this
You have to pay minimum
Two hundred fifty damages


When patents are challenged
Some letters are then sent
They're also sent out for
Any case of infringement


In a clash of two patents
The first one prevails
The other is corrected
And all that entails


Mismarking as patented, or
Claiming when not,
Is a fine of up to five
Hundred dollars, hot shot


If you're living abroad
Just send one of your staff
Who lives here to sue for you
On your behalf


Instead of the courts
You can use arbitration
If both of the parties
Give affirmation


An item that can be made
In a patented way
Is assumed to have been so
Which seems backwards, I say


States are like people
When suing in courts
They'e liable for actions
Infringeable, all sorts


An invention promoter
Can help you with issues
You can sue if his promises
Were all made of tissues


If you recognize an invention
In whole or in part
You can file a complaint
And then claim "prior art"


You can also request
On the very same day
A reexamination, if
You're willing to pay


The director will think
And he'll squint and he'll scratch
And he'll try to decide if
The arguments match


And he may even open some
More patent questions
He'll also listen to the
Patent owner's suggestions


The owner may then change
The patent specific
To exclude prior art, in
Which case, it's terrific


Or he may try to send
An appeal of some sort
All actions get noted down
On the report


In the end, a certificate
Is issued in writing
The judgement is final
No crying, no fighting


This section is like the last one
But "Inter parte"
Which means that the questioner
Doesn't go away


See, "Ex parte" means
That a question is asked
And then the director
Completes the whole task


Otherwise they're the same
Which explains my objection
To simply repeating all
I wrote the last section


Instead the director
Sits back in his chair
And watches the fighting
And ensures its all fair


And appeals can be filed
Which is very revealing
Because the procedure
Is hardly appealing


When everything's over
A certificate's written
On which party bited
And which one got bitten


If you lose your brought case
You don't get to make more
Unless you have new news
Which changes the score


The patent owner may also
Stay more litigation
Unless it will benefit
Some part of the nation

Part IV


This part is all about
Patenting treaties
With neighboring countries,
Those cute little sweeties


The office of patents
Does business with all
Countries and citizens


The office can collect fees
For other nations
And also take from them
Without reservation


International patents
Are also stored here
On the date they're recorded
By month, day, and year


All services rendered
For all other nations
Are according to treaties
And recommendations


The dates on the patents
Are from the dates filed
In any valid country
But not those reviled


International claims
Can still be withdrawn
Unless made nationally
Before they are gone


And there still are reviews
As treaties specify
If a claim gets misplaced,
Or held up, or denied


If a patent that's foreign
Is secretly kept
You can't tell its contents
To people inept


We respect foreign patents
And register them, sir
We respect them more than we
Respect foreigners


Our procedures are guided by
Treaties real, not fictitious
This chapter is becoming
Quite repetitious


For instance, this says that
We only accept
Forms from those people we
Accept, not reject


And we publish these too, just
Like all of the others
Because we really just love you
So, so much (oh, brother!)


We'll enforce foreign patents
As if we had written them
And the original language
Trumps ours, in a problem


All services rendered
Costs dollars, which fits
I assume that the payer is
The one who submits

Well that's it, hope you've learned
All you wanted to know
If you have any problems
Please don't tell me so


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5 License.
Attribution should include a live link to this blog post, whenever possible; text link otherwise. License for commercial usage also available from the owner.

What next? The criminal code? Armed forces? Should I do all of them and turn them into a book?

If anyone wants me to render any other texts into mock poetry, I am available for hire; this extremely limited and specific talent should be put to good use.


Anonymous said...

You wrote: What next? The criminal code? Armed forces? Should I do all of them and turn them into a book?

Law students need to memorize a significant amount of material. If you want to make money on your talent, sell books to law students that will help them pass their state bar. For example, the California Bar and most other states require a law student to know the subjects listed at . The California bar puts out a more detailed summary of each topic, and you can use that summary to guide your writing. ( could not locate it on the internet, but I'm sure you can get a free copy by contacting the Office of Admissions You can get great summarys of the law from Emanuel Law School Study Aids: and

Yehuda Berlinger said...

My full condolences to anyone who tries to use this poem to study for a state bar exam. For goodness sakes, look at what I do to plant patents.

At best, it could serve useful as a mnemonic device. Does anyone think this could serve useful as a mnemonic device?


Michael Shaver said...

Nice work Yehuda,

I just received a copy of this from Greg Aharonian's Internet Patent News Service.


Anonymous said...

The Tax Code - that would be a challenge...

Anonymous said...

You couldn't have summed it up any better. NICE WORK!!! LOL