I've always wondered if there was a financial background check on the examiner and all other USPTO staff that work on a patent application. Or if there is a disclaimer section for those who worked on a case?
I'm asking because these days, it is kind of hard not to be invested in Apple, Google, Microsoft, IBM, [...]. directly or indirectly (pension funds, etc).
Is there any verification to make sure that no examiner who handle an Apple patent application will not hold shares in Apple.
And what if an examiner was to indirectly (through a pension fund) hold shares in Google, shouldn't this important information be disclaimed on a patent application by Google?
Shouldn't every staff member who work on a case for Company X, be required to disclaim whether they own shares, directly or indirectly or whether their family own shares directly or indirectly in Company X.
It can be easy to turn a "blind eye" to some facts if you "financially favored" such company, no?