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Fraud And Cover-up Found At Patent Trademark Office

From the Washington Post:

Patent office filters out worst telework abuses in report to its watchdog

By Lisa Rein | August 10, 2014

Prompted by multiple whistleblower complaints, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office began an internal investigation two years ago of an award-winning program that’s been praised in and outside government: Employees are allowed to work from home. What the inquiry uncovered was alarming.

Some of the 8,300 patent examiners, about half of whom work from home full time, repeatedly lied about the hours they were putting in, and many were receiving bonuses for work they didn’t do.

Most government workers don’t work while they are in the office. Why expect them to work when they are home? In any case, these are the same people who took away the Redskins’ trademark. Maybe the WP is getting even.

And when supervisors had evidence of fraud and asked to have the employee’s computer records pulled, they were rebuffed by top agency officials, ensuring that few cheaters were disciplined, investigators found. Oversight of the telework program — and of examiners based at the Alexandria headquarters — was “completely ineffective,” investigators concluded.

In other words, it’s just like the rest of government.

But when it came time last summer for the patent office to turn over the findings to its outside watchdog, the most damaging revelations had disappeared. The report sent to Commerce Department Inspector General Todd Zinser concluded that it was impossible to know if the whistleblowers’ allegations of systemic abuses were true…

By the way, remember that letter a number of IGs wrote to Congress last week, complaining about how the Obama administration has been stonewalling their investigations at every turn? Who is to say this isn’t’ another example of that?

The original findings, by contrast, raise “fundamental issues” with the business model of the patent office, which oversees an essential function of U.S. commerce, said Zinser, who was provided a copy of the original by a patent official… The Washington Post obtained copies of the internal report and the version provided to the inspector general, which at 16 pages is half the length of the original.

Both reports conclude that policies negotiated with the patent examiners’ union have left managers with few tools to monitor their staffs. Both acknowledge that supervisors have limited access to records that could prove suspected time fraud, resulting in negligible disciplinary action.

But the original one describes a culture of fraud that is overlooked by senior leaders, lax enforcement of the rules and the resulting frustration of many front-line supervisors. The version provided to the watchdog was far less conclusive, saying that managers who were interviewed held “inconsistent” views on whether examiners were gaming the system…

The agency’s telework system has served as a model for the Obama administration, which has sought to attract talent by extending similar programs to many corners of the government. In addition to the approximately 3,800 patent examiners who work full time from home, about 2,700 telework on a part-time basis…

Which would support our theory that Obama might not have wanted the unedited version of the report to reach the Commerce IG.

This article was posted by Steve Gilbert on Monday, August 11th, 2014. Comments are currently closed.

2 Responses to “Fraud And Cover-up Found At Patent Trademark Office”

  1. So .. Patent Trolls have inside help. Who’da thunk?

    Everything is rigged against American Citizens

  2. yadayada

    head-shaking-face-palm

    man, how do I get a job with the fed? 60k a year and not only do I not have to do any work, I don’t even have to go to the office ?!?!




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