USPTO to Remain Open Even if U.S. Government Shuts Down

Because of sufficient funding not linked to the current fiscal year, the United States Patent and Trademark Office will remain open for business and will continue to operate as usual through the close of business on Monday, April 18, 2011 even in the event of a government shutdown. The USPTO has enough reserves to operate for 6 business days even in the event of a government shutdown, and should a shutdown occur and continue longer than 6 days the USPTO anticipates that limited staff would still be able to continue to work to accept new electronic applications and maintain IT infrastructure, among other functions.  Thus, USPTO employees are not in any immediate risk of a furlough due to the ongoing fiscal year 2011 budget battle being waged between Speaker of the House John Boehner, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and President Barack Obama.

I personally don’t believe there will be a shutdown, but business will be as usual at the USPTO through at least Monday, April 18, 2011, giving Patent and Trademark employees and stakeholders broader breathing room than will be enjoyed elsewhere throughout the government.

Normally I don’t like to speculate too much, but where politics is involved I do break that rule since speculation and conjecture is part of the sport of politics when you live in the greater Washington, DC area. That being the case, it is my belief that an 11th hour deal will be reached. Difficult negotiations have a way of taking up all available time, as anyone who has ever been involved in such negotiations can attest to.

President Obama and Senator Reid have gone on record over the past few days saying they have more than met the Republicans half way, and Speaker Boehner has likewise gone on the record saying that he plans to fight for the greatest possible spending cuts that can be achieved.  Everyone publicly says they do not want a government shutdown, and the it would seem that the Republicans are positioning themselves to make sure that not a single dollar in available cuts is left on the table, which would mean no deal could be reached until the shutdown is imminent.  Despite what you are hearing in the 24/7 news media a shutdown is not imminent.  With more than a complete day remaining that leaves plenty of time to take the matter to the brink, which is when the deal will get done.

Time will tell whether my prediction is correct, but in the meantime it is nice to know that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has some leeway to remain open regardless of the brinkmanship.


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5 comments so far.

  • [Avatar for patent enforcement]
    patent enforcement
    April 11, 2011 05:05 am

    Nice prognostication; you were, as usual, proven correct. And thank goodness the shutdown was averted … for now, at least. The patent office really does not need any more difficulties in funding its operations.

  • [Avatar for Gene Quinn]
    Gene Quinn
    April 10, 2011 11:35 am


    First, what Reg guy said was 100% true, so if you have a problem with history you ought to look first at yourself. The Democrats were supposed to pass a budget by September 30, 2010 and refused because they were afraid to go on record before the election asking for the type of reckless spending they wanted in the budget. The Democrats in the House were AWOL in 2010 on the budget, and that is by definition extraordinarily irresponsible.

    You say: “I’ll remind you that it was the REPUBLICANS who ran up the national debt and crippled our economy.”

    Perhaps you should actually investigate facts. The Obama Administration is on pace to nearly double the debt in his first term.

    You say: “I know you don’t understand that because you obviously get your information from the same people who told you that Bush’s tax cuts would create lots of jobs.”

    Perhaps you should look at the jobs numbers and notice that only after the Bush tax credits were extended did the jobs numbers start to turn around. President Obama touted 3 consecutive months with more than 200,000 jobs created. So you really don’t have to look very long or hard to see that what you just said is completely inaccurate. The extension of the tax cuts has created jobs, and a lot more would have been created but for the spike in gas prices due to the Middle East.

    You say: “I gave up long ago on the idea that people like you would ever get a clue.”

    That is almost humorous given your factually erroneous information that you try and pass off as fact.

    You ask me: “Do you think our country can survive another two years with these right wing sociopaths so out of control?”

    Do I think the country can survive with Republicans doing responsible things, demanding cuts in spending when Democrats wanted $0 in cuts originally and where the only party willing to have an adult conversation about the problems we face are the Republicans? Thankfully the Republicans took control of the House to stop the reckless Obama agenda. I do think the country will be able to survive until fiscally conservative Republicans can take control of the government in 2012.

    As far as calling Republicans sociopaths, that shows just how small a mind you really have. You are wrong on the facts and the only recourse is to resort to name calling. You are no doubt one of those who stand on your soapbox when Republicans say anything harsh and then spew this sort of garbage as if it is acceptable because it is coming from you. You and your type are the lowest of the low, intellectually dishonest to the core and an embarrassment to those who wish to engage in thoughtful debate.


  • [Avatar for Anonymous]
    April 10, 2011 03:36 am

    Reg guy that would ONLY be true if the Dems had all stuck together. Unfortunately we have the so called Blue Dogs to deal with along with people like Joe Lieberman.

    Your remarks couldn’t possibly be less informed. But I keep hearing them from a lot of misinformed sources. In almost the exact same words. I guess you probably got that nonsense from FOX or some other right wing news source. I’ll remind you that it was the REPUBLICANS who ran up the national debt and crippled our economy.

    I know you don’t understand that because you obviously get your information from the same people who told you that Bush’s tax cuts would create lots of jobs. They didn’t. Or that the bankers and Wall Street crowd that crashed our economy BEFORE Obama took office should get paid obscene amounts of money but the people who teach our children should receive nothing. But I gave up long ago on the idea that people like you would ever get a clue.

    Gene your article was very insightful. Now tell me this. Do you think our country can survive another two years with these right wing sociopaths so out of control?

  • [Avatar for reg guy]
    reg guy
    April 8, 2011 09:25 am

    Last fall (sept-nov 2010) when Obama had a democrat controlled Senate and House, they were supposed to take care of the budget. They were in charge; they could have run anything through. Instead of displaying leadership, Obama and the democrats (knowing they would lose control of the House) opted to turn the situation into a political PR stunt, and put off the budget until now (given Obama’s poor poll numbers and approval ratings, he’s trying to save his job). If they don’t started hacking away at the deficit and out of control spending, then we will be worse off than a third world country.

  • [Avatar for step back]
    step back
    April 8, 2011 06:14 am

    Thank goodness.

    Too many thoughtless people complain about how government is inherently evil and therefore needs to be shut down or pushed out of the way so that the “Free Market” can get in there and do its “thang”.

    For inventors and patent attorneys/agents, no USPTO means no new patents and no new work.
    For America, no USPTO means that we are guaranteed to become a Third World country if we aren’t there already.