On May 16, inventor Gilbert Hyatt asked the PTO to disclose any “meme” images depicting him that were circulating among the examiners responsible for examining his patent applications. He subsequently paid the $1,056 that the PTO demanded to conduct the search and review the records.
On July 18, the PTO finally responded: yes, the images exist, but, no, you can’t have them.
As it did with the email between examiners discussing Hyatt’s personal life, the PTO has taken the position that a communication between examiners carried out on the PTO’s email system concerning the person who is the subject of their work is actually not an agency record at all and therefore not subject to FOIA:Hyatt - Hyatt Image FOIA Denial
Hyatt’s litigation to compel the PTO to disclose the email is briefed and currently awaiting decision.