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For Immediate Use
June 6, 2008

Federal Lawsuit Seeks Fair Treatment for America’s Inventors.

U.S. Attorney Admits Federal Agencies Failed to Honor Agreement.

Tampa, FL – Litigation sparked by allegedly harmful practices of the U.S. Patent Office, first filed here in 2003, has produced public record admissions of guilt by the Patent Office's attorney and disclosure of deceptions by its webmaster.

The responses stem from a lawsuit initiated by David Brown, an inventor and Florida retiree whose 20-year patent fell into the public domain after only eight years. The reason, Brown alleged, is a failure of the Patent Office to comply with federal law and intentional mismanagement of its website.

In a recent written communication to Brown, who is the plaintiff, Warren Zimmerman, who is the assistant U.S. Attorney for Florida’s Middle District and legal counsel for the defendants, essentially agreed with Brown’s positions. In this matter, Zimmerman represents the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office along with related agencies, the Office of Management and Budget, the Department of Commerce and the Department of Justice.

Zimmerman acknowledged the Patent Office failed to keep its part of a settlement agreement reached in 2004 which was to resolve six Brown lawsuits and which required the office to place the full federal Privacy Act Statement (PAS) protecting personal information on all of its forms by November 1, 2007.

In the May, 2008, communication to Brown, Zimmerman implicated the Patent Office’s webmaster, Lawrence Larson. Larson had previously stated to the court that all of the forms available on his website as of the breach date complied with the agreement and he submitted documents to support that testimony. However, Zimmerman has now indicated that Larson’s statements to the court were false about the contents of his website as of the breach date and that his supporting documents were unreliable. Larson has yet to provide corrected documents to the court and to retract his declaration.

Although it is newsworthy that the government failed to abide by the agreement, the bigger story may be the possibility of an attempted government cover-up.

These admissions come nearly five years after Brown, 70 and resident of the Sun City Center retirement community south of Tampa, alleged the Patent Office’s irresponsible handling of its forms that required notice of privacy rights in connection with maintenance fees that are required every four years to maintain a patent over its 20-year span. The Patent Office releases inventors' private information filed in connection with maintenance fees. This considerable personal information includes income tax returns and medical and psychiatric reports.

Brown’s first suits were settled out of court with the agreement the Patent Office would add the very precise PAS, required of all federal agencies collecting information from the public, to all of its forms no later than November 1, 2007.

When the office again allegedly failed in this obligation, Brown filed another suit shortly after the breach date. It now is pending in Tampa’s federal court. The November, 2007, action seeks restoration of his patent and, if any subsequent filings are required to obtain satisfaction, $200,000 for a lawyer to press the action for him. Brown, a retired publishing industry manager, has been representing himself in the litigation since no personal monetary gain is involved.

Brown said this week he considers Zimmerman’s admissions “tantamount to admitting Larson committed perjury and tampered with evidence” submitted to the court. And, Brown added, "committing perjury and knowingly withholding evidence from the court is a violation of section 18 USC 1512(c)(1) of the U.S. Criminal Code ."

"It’s been a long fight with federal agencies and a government that are supposed to protect the interests of inventors, not abuse them and place their privacy in jeopardy", Brown said. "The United States cannot afford to stifle technology and invention with a Patent Office that disobeys the law. I remain determined to see that the Patent Office abides by the law and abandons those practices that punish inventors."

"Based on the documents provided by his own attorney, it looks like it's possible that the Patent Office's webmaster might have attempted a cover-up by making a deceitful declaration about the breach-day contents of his website and by withholding documents. And his lawyer, a U.S. attorney with the Justice Department, continues to this day to withhold documents from the court record because it would "unnecessarily complicate the court file". Of course the Justice Department isn't known for being squeaky-clean when it comes to obeying the law."

Brown quotes the late Justice Brandeis "If the government becomes a lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for the law; it invites every man to become a law onto himself, it invites anarchy."

Brown maintains a website about the Patent Office and lawsuit at www.PatentOfficeLawsuit.info.


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Contacts:
David Brown, Sun City Center, FL, Tel. 813-634-6048.
Lawrence Larson, Webmaster, U.S. Patent Office, Arlington, VA, Tel. 571-272-5739.
Warren Zimmerman, Office of U.S. Attorney, Tampa, FL, Tel. 813-274-6335.


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