This belongs in Ripley’s Believe It Or Not!
I couldn’t afford to pay the second Maintenance Fee on a 1989 patent of mine at the time that it was due. When I could afford it, I sent the Patent Office a Petition along with a check for $3,105 as specified in their Schedule of Fees. In return, I got a five-page Decision, complete with about two dozen legal citations about why the Examiner, Brian Hearn, didn’t like my Petition and, in turn, requesting a massive amount of additional information, such as thirty-eight months of my financial data “including all income (not just taxable), expenses, assets, credits, and obligations … A monthly breakdown is preferred”. And to boot, all of this information would become part of the public record! Well, this lowly inventor wasn’t about to satisfy the purient interests of Mr. Hearn – and my research showed that his requests went far beyond what was authorized by the Internal Revenue Code, the Privacy Act, and the Paperwork Reduction Act.
So, believe it or not, our (brilliant) Mr. Hearn actually turned down my $3,105 on behalf of the Patent Office. (In total, he has turned down over 1.25 million dollars from other inventors, as well.)
And to prove it, here’s my check!