Patent Office Obtains Fee-Setting Authority


President Barack Obama signed into law P.L. 111-224 that gives the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) the authority to spend an additional $129 million of the fees the agency will collect in Fiscal Year (FY) 2010.  Due to an improving economy and increased patent examination productivity, the agency projects it will collect nearly $200 million more than its FY 2010 appropriation of $1.887 billion.

This bill was a response to President Obama’s July 12th request to Congress to provide the USPTO with access to all the fees it will collect in FY 2010.  In that request, the President said the money would “support efforts to reduce backlogs in processing patent applications—by spurring innovation and reforming the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to make them more effective.”

Following the signing, Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office David Kappos said, “We are grateful to the President for his support and to Members of the House and Senate for their exceptional efforts to move this legislation through the process so quickly.  This additional funding will allow us to continue the progress we’ve made in improving the USPTO and the patent process so that patents can be issued more quickly, investment in new technology and new products will be accelerated and much-needed jobs will be created.”

Kappos said that the additional funding would be used to fund investments needed to shorten patent pendency and reduce patent backlogs.  These investments include hiring new examiners, enabling additional examiner overtime and improvements to USPTO processes and IT systems.