In the PCT listserv, a practitioner recently exasperatedly asked:
What is the protest fee in the International Searching Authority at the USPTO?
The movie Airplane makes clear how such a question should be answered.
Rumack (Leslie Nielson): You’d better tell the Captain we’ve got to land as soon as we can. This woman has to be gotten to a hospital.
Elaine Dickinson (Julie Hagerty): A hospital? What is it?
Rumack: It’s a big building with patients, but that’s not important right now.
So we realize the answer is:
It’s a fee that you pay if you have been invited to pay additional search fees and if you wish to protest the finding of a lack of unity of invention. But that’s not important right now.
Later in the same movie the following exchange occurs:
Elaine Dickinson: You got a letter from headquarters this morning.
Ted Striker: What is it?
Elaine Dickinson: It’s a big building where generals meet, but that’s not important.
Note the particular cleverness that Elaine delivers the straight line in the first exchange, and having learned how to be funny about this, in the second exchange she is the one to deliver the punch line.
Of course there is always the chance, however remote, that the practitioner was really asking something like:
What is the amount of the protest fee in ISA/US?
This turns out to be a very interesting question, and it prompted me to look up and compare the protest fees in each of the twenty-three ISAs. Here is the answer. Continue reading