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Is the system broken? No. What needs to happen are direct and succinct changes: fees need to go up, a priority on IT systems maintained until the examiners have tools they can really use efficiently and effectively, applicant's should be expected to use the specific forms created by the office and follow an application procedure with no deviation, the MPEP re-written in clean and clear language so people can find the answers they need, and no more pandering to the lobbying of corporate IP attorneys. This would be a great start. Until then the examiners will continue to do the best job they can under the circumstances placed on them.
Add in the fact that the software we use is a Frankenstein mess of stuff cobbled together from other places and squeezed to work the way we need. We kill more time waiting for and trying to get our tools to work than we often do examining. So what are they doing about it? Hiring top programmers, even pulling examiners who know our system and are great software developers as well to do the work? Maybe hiring a top company who already has their know how in it like Google? No, they keep using the same block headed people as always to produce half baked software that is beta tested live on us trying to do our job. Oops, software doesn't work? Can't produce? Well, you better figure out how to make production. Mind you if the managers don't do their job they don't get reprimanded and often get a bonus on top of things at the end of the year anyway. Examiner who can't keep up get reprimanded and fired.
So the reality is that there is a lot of lip service by the top administrators here about doing the best job, being the best IP org in the world, etc... but the bottom line is that examiners are pushed to their limits trying to do a good job but see little reward or true respect for it in house. Quality of examination goes out the window over production, and at a certain level that is what starts to happen the higher the grade you are since your production ramps up as well.
If you don't believe me... go ask an examiner at the PTO. Ask several and see how far their answers differ. Not much I feel.