Patent office insider spills the beans

Patent office insider spills the beans on fraudulent time and attendance practises by workers:

He indicates that Supervisors don’t have a clue as to when employees are actually in attendance.

By Lisa Rein – September 12th 2014

With top Commerce Department officials headed to Capitol Hill Friday to answer allegations about fraudulent time & attendance practices by patent examiners, the Washington Post this week obtained copies of the whistleblower complaints that set in motion a series of investigations of the patent office.

Four whistleblowers, at least two of them managers, submitted lengthy, detailed accounts to an anonymous hotline set up by the Commerce inspector general’s office in 2012. The accounts described widespread time and attendance fraud by examiners at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.​

The employees recounted how they tried and failed to stop what they called routine cheating on timesheets, bonuses to examiners who did not do the work they were rewarded for and a culture of management looking the other way that diminishes the work of honest employees.

“I come to work everyday and my office mate almost never comes to work,” one patent examiner wrote. “She brags to me that she does not have to work! She does not do any work for day and days, but pretends she is working and is lying. She even lies and gets paid extra overtime money…She tells me I should do this too, because it is so easy.”

The examiner alerted a supervisor about the time and attendance fraud, but “he says he cannot do anything as long as she meets her production,” the whistleblower wrote.

The Commerce Department, the patent office’s parent agency, was called to brief the staffs of the House Oversight and Government Reform and Judiciary committees Friday after the Post reported in August that some patent examiners repeated lied about their hours and received bonuses for work they didn’t do.

Those were some of the findings of an internal investigation conducted by six executives in the patent office after Inspector General Todd Zinser referred the whistleblowers’ complaints to the agency. Zinser asked the agency to conduct its own probe of the allegations, which focus on the autonomy granted to experts who review patent applications from home. More here..