Data faker happily employed by the US Patent Office

via retraction watch we learn:

A Bijan Ahvazi has been working at the USPTO since at least 2008, and today a source confirmed that it was the same person who was the subject of last October’s ORI report. Ahvazi was found to have faked five different images in three different papers, two of which have been retracted.

The Notice of ORI finding appeared in October of 2014.

Based on the report of an investigation conducted by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and additional analysis by ORI in its oversight review, ORI found that Dr. Bijan Ahvazi, former Director of the Laboratory of X-ray Crystallography, National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), NIH, engaged in research misconduct in research supported by the Intramural Program at NIAMS, NIH.

The Notice shows that the offenses for which Ahvazi was convicted date to 2004 and 2006. One doesn't have to assume that much to figure out that he was busted and then had to look for a new job somewhere between 2006 and 2008. It took until 2014 for his fraud to come to light via the official ORI mechanisms. Presumably, although we don't know for sure, the investigation was confidential up until it reached its formal conclusions which may have permitted him to avoid telling the US Patent and Trade Office about his little whoopsie? I dunno, do you think the USPTO would hire a data fraud as a patent examiner if they knew about it? One thinks not.

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p.s. apparently a co-author of this data faker died under bizarre circumstances in 2003.

11 responses so far

  • Duke of Neural says:

    The USPTO doesn't seem interested in any type of accuracy as far as I can tell. Their directions appear to be "Get through this gigantic patent application pile as fast as possible, and above all else, don't piss off huge corporations."

    "First to file" is basically that. "We don't care who ACTUALLY invented it, just whoever applies for it first will get a rubber stamp of approval."

    Ahvazi seems like he'll fit in nicely there.

  • jim says:

    Where DO people think Ahvazi should be allowed to work?

    Data forgers should have their research careers ended, emphatically. But presumably that's happened to him. I assume he's not doing research at USPTO. And presumably he has some modicum of analytical/scientific talent, assuming they just don't give away NIAMS lab jobs.

    So how many rungs down the career ladder is appropriate?

  • I'd prefer the private sector. If he hasn't reformed his faking ways he'd only be wasting the money of venture capitalists, not more tax money.

  • drugmonkey says:

    Starbucks.

  • jim says:

    I appreciate the sentiment. I'd back a 'taxpayer-funded career blacklist'.

    But what does more punishment/humiliation serve in these cases? Would we see any less forgery? I really doubt it. But cool, yeah, more mob anger, less actual reform.

  • Davis Sharp says:

    USPTO is fully funded by applicant fees, not taxpayer dollars.

  • The USPTO has pretty stringent moral fitness criteria for hiring patent examiners, and ORI sanctions for scientific fraud would surely preclude hiring. This means that this dude almost certainly lied during the application process. My guess is that the process for getting rid of him is percolating along within the USPTO.

  • drugmonkey says:

    Did he lie if he thought he was innocent and the charges hadn't been proved yet?

  • becca says:

    Are you kidding me, DM? A lifetime devoted to determining what is and is not an "original contribution" strikes me as the most appropriate conceivable punishment for a data faker! Buried in paperwork for EVER. This is karma WORKING, dude. You are just too blind to see it.

    Seriously, have you been brainwashed by frothy right wing republican for so long that you actually believe that any government job must be cushy and filled with the undeserving? Is this based on some kind of romanticized vision of Einstein such that you think that if you just had a steady day job of mindless monotony at the patent agent you too could achieve genius status to modify a field forever? Did you even read those 19 pages of patents he has examined?

  • Grumble says:

    Are you kidding me, DM? A lifetime devoted to faking the venti quadroppio mocha frappogestapochinos he's supposed to make? He would ruin Starbucks for all of us. He's doing far less damage in the patent office.

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