About The Spear Report, Independent Investor and Gregory Spear

Patent Claim

Patent protection is quite common for businesses, so I guess Gregory R. Spear isn’t special in this regard. I’ll admit I’m no specialist in how patents and/or patent applications work, so what I’ll write below should be considered speculation. I’ve got a couple of issues with his patent application, after I finally checked it out after he sued me. If you want to do your own research, the following two links are probably relevant:

Patent application number: 10/742,200

The patent application itself: http://www.google.com/patents/about?id=ITKXAAAAEBAJ&dq=gregory+r.+spear

If you want to look up the status of the application, go to http://portal.uspto.gov/external/portal/pair , answer the captcha challenge, then enter the patent application number 10/742,200 . The application was first time filed in December 2003. January 15th 2008 the patent was rejected (“Non-Final Rejection”), and the rejection letter was sent to Gregory R. Spear. August 4th 2008 the patent office gave the patent status as “Abandoned” for failure to respond to office action. Again, I’m not expert, but it sounds like Gregory R. Spear was given an opportunity to respond to the rejection, but declined to do so.

This hasn’t stopped Gregory R. Spear to keep continuing marketing his Consensus PWR / NewPWR systems as patent-pending. Theoretically, the process of not responding to rejection letters from the patent office may be some kind of delaying tactic or whatever to keep the application alive for as long as possible, but that would be quite suspect in itself. If the patent had any real value one would assume he would try to get it granted as soon as possible, and respond to rejection letters from the patent office. The patent pending term is still (even today) prominently displayed on his various websites and marketing material:

You see, we systematically weight the recommendations of each advisor according to that advisor’s actual, objectively measured, real-life performance! This revolutionary idea is patent pending, so it’s only available through The Spear Report.

Looking at the content of the patent application itself, it’s rather obvious that what he is suggesting isn’t exactly revolutionary either. There should be a tremendous amount of prior art going at least a couple of decades back before he filed his own application. A lot of the ideas and methods described in the patent can easily be traced back to the Mechanical Investing board at “The Fool” (http://fool.com/). He’s invented his own terms Consensus and PWR, but everything can be traced back to collecting and ranking the recent performance of either other fund managers, or more lately automatic stock screen portfolios as offered at the Mechanical Investing board, and combine the data and performance from these sources in various ways. If you want to search the Mechanical Investing board, the identical ideas (from even before I filed his patent application) are named “Dogs of the DOW”, “Relative Strength”, “Overlaps”, “Blends”, “WWL”, “Whats-Working-Lately”, “Switching” and many more.

You’ll definitively learn a lot more about the subject and get better researched ideas in that forum than you will from his abandoned patent application. In his recent marketing material he even refers to ranking portfolios from AAII (American Association of Individual Investors). This is worth mentioning, because as late as a couple of years ago the only known public backtesters that existed that utilized the data as distributed by AAII were the one I offer for free on http://keelix.com/ . I’ll wager that there are a few private backtesters that aren’t publically available, but Gregory R. Spear didn’t have one, which is why he wanted me to build one for him, and which is why his analysts depended on the backtester I wrote before he contacted me directly.

Even if he had been granted the patent, what he does is essentially some variant of what a lot of “fund-in-fund” managers and similar do, and have been doing, for a long long time, so had it been granted it would hardly be enforceable.

And finally, and possibly even more interesting, when I started working with him and asked about what the backtest numbers had been for variants of the method, he admitted he didn’t have any. That’s why he needed a backtester, to get and probably tune the backtests to get some solid data. As I’ve already said, he had people working for him that did use my backtester and possibly even had good ideas, but those backtests weren’t related to what he was trying to patent.

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3 Responses

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  1. Anonymous said, on September 10, 2011 at 7:56 pm

    Sorry to hear about your bad experience.

    In case you are curious, here is some information about the patent application you mentioned above. The patent application you mention is definitely abandoned and I do not see any chance of revival.

    Quoting the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Manual of Patent Examining Procedure (MPEP 7111.03(c)): “37 CFR 1.181(f) provides that, inter alia, except as otherwise provided, any petition not filed within 2 months from the action complained of may be dismissed as untimely. Therefore, any petition (under 37 CFR 1.181) to withdraw the holding of abandonment not filed within 2 months of the mail date of a notice of abandonment (the action complained of) may be dismissed as untimely. 37 CFR 1.181(f).”

    Also, since his application has been published for more than one year, if we were to try to write a new patent application with similar claims, any information within the original application could be used against his claims as “prior art” (See U.S. patent statute 35 U.S.C. 102(b))

  2. kjeldahl said, on September 10, 2011 at 8:15 pm

    Thank you for the information. The only value of that patent is that fraudsters such as Gregory Spear can keep using it for misleading his potential customers and investors. I’m pretty sure he’s well aware of the fact that the patent is both valueless (and most likely not even patentable, filed under “nothing novel – nothing of value”). Considering he is still sending newsletters to current and future potential customers with outrageous claims about portfolio performance, I can only hope that people take the time to do a minimal Google search before handing over their credit cards details to him (which he is also known for abusing I’ve heard from people reading this blog).

  3. Anonymous said, on October 12, 2012 at 8:11 pm

    I worked for this scumbag when he was first starting out. Anything evil that accrues to him he deserves. Good for you………..nail his ass!


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