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The USPTO Budget: Robbing Kappos To Pay Paul

by Orlando Lopez

On Friday April 22, 2011, in his public blog, “Director’s Forum” Director Kappos laid out the bad news – Congress is taking away about $100 million of the fees collected by the USPTO by limiting the USPTO budget to for FY 2011 to $2.09 billion. The results are not pretty- track one of the three track program (fast examination) is on hold. In addition, USPTO employee training is reduced (we risk getting an Office Action that states “Your claims are rejected because I say so.”).

Clearly, the men and women of Congress did not read George F. Will’s op-ed piece of January 2, 2011 or the statistics from the Kauffman foundation. (George F. Will called for revving the scientific engine and the Kauffman Foundation has shown that young companies are responsible for the lion’s share of job creation.) We have in the past called for a Patent Stimulus Package,  but the new USPTO budget represents a Patent “Destimulus” package. President Lincoln said that patents add “the fuel of interest to the fire of genius.” Congress has decided not to add fuel to the fire!

Director Kappos outlined some of the effects of the budget reduction:

  • The opening of the Detroit satellite office is postponed
  • Hiring is frozen
  • Funding for PCT outsourcing is reduced (Does this imply that the PCT search reports may arrive 2 years after the patent issues?!)

We hope Congress come to its senses (please no jokes about “what senses?”) and reverses this anti-job creation action.

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