Furious over a new computer search system they say is next-to-useless — and could cost them their jobs — nearly 400 U.S. Patent and Trademark Office examiners have asked for a congressional probe of the agency’s high-priced technology.

In a petition submitted in early November to Senate Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Fred Thompson (R-Tenn.), around 390 PTO employees said the agency’s handling of the automated search system was “inadequate and grossly negligent” and ignored “constructive criticism from patent examiners, the very users of these systems.”

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