Posts Tagged: "pto funding"

TPAC Discussions Focus on Office Funding, Government Shutdown & Trademark Legislation

The Trademark Public Advisory Committee (TPAC) held its first quarterly meeting of 2019 on January 25… Despite the projection that without a long term solution to the government shutdown funding would run out by mid-April for Trademark Operations, USPTO Commissioner for Trademarks Mary Boney Denison said that the Office was still planning to proceed with hiring new trademark examiners… The first quarter of 2019 and last quarter of 2018 indicated a decline in filings for the first time since FY2010, which could mean that the USPTO’s projection that trademark filings will increase by 6.1% this year is incorrect… In discussing levels of TTAB filings, Rogers noted that the last few years had seen significant increases in the number of oppositions and petitions for cancelling trademarks coming in through the front door of the TTAB’s filing system. While appeals were increasing, they were being outpaced by oppositions and petitions to cancel.

Without Solution to Shutdown, PTO Patent Operations Funded until Mid-February

In a statement issued late Thursday afternoon, the United States Patent and Trademark Office announced that without a solution to the government shutdown the Office will soon run out of money. “In the absence of an appropriations bill, we have no authority to access fees collected since [the government shutdown] in accordance with the law,” read a notice posted to the USPTO.gov website late this afternoon. “Based on current estimates and expenditure rates, we expect our reserves to fund patent operations to last until at least the second week in February, and trademark operations to last until at least mid-April 2019.”

USPTO budget increases for FY 2016 despite reduced fee estimates

This latest budget increases the amount of money that will be available to the United States Patent and Trademark Office, although the amount specifically appropriated is less in FY 2016 than it was in FY 2015. This has lead some to incorrectly claim that the USPTO will have access to less funding in FY 2016 compared with FY 2015. According to the IPO, the FY “2016 budget proposes that the agency will draw from its operating reserves and other income to fund its total estimated obligations of $3.499 billion, including enhanced investment in its IT infrastructure.”

Reflections on 2013 and Some Thoughts on the Year Ahead

2013 turned out to be a very big year for IP, and especially patents, and the year took a course that few would have predicted this time last year. At that time, the senior team at the PTO was primarily focused on the imminent departure of our then-boss, David Kappos, and the end of what had clearly been an extraordinarily active and successful tenure. The AIA had been almost entirely implemented, the new Patent Trial and Appeal Board was up and running, and most of us expected 2013 to be focused on implementation and execution of the AIA and the other initiatives that had been set in motion under Director Kappos.

Patent Reform: House Holds Hearing on “Innovation Act”

The hearing focused on the effect the Innovation Act would have on the problem of abusive litigation practices and on the patent system as a whole. Three central themes emerged from the hearing: 1) there is an urgent need to fully fund the PTO; 2) significant skepticism remains about expansion of the Covered Business Method (“CBM”) program; and 3) some of the more technical aspects of the Innovation Act would help rid the patent system of expensive and wasteful lawsuits. Divergence of opinion remained among the Members, however, about whether Congress should address fee shifting at this time or wait for the Supreme Court to hear the two fee shifting cases before it, although the witnesses agreed that legislation on fee shifting would be helpful, and Congress should proceed with legislation on this front.

17 Members of Congress Push to Exclude USPTO from Sequester

On June 24, 2013, 17 Members of Congress wrote a letter to Congressman Frank Wolf (R-VA) and Congressman Chaka Fattah (D-PA), who are respectively the Chairman and the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science of the House Appropriations Committee. The letter to Congressmen Wolf and Fattah was short and to the point, saying: “We write to request your assistance in addressing the Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) recent decision to sequester user fees which fund the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). As a result, almost $150 million in inventors’ fees in Fiscal Year 2013 have been locked in USPTO’s general fund. We request that the Approrpiations Committee allow USPTO to access the sequestered user fee funds.”

PATENT Jobs Act Seeks to Exempt USPTO from Sequestration

Earlier today Congressman Mike Honda (D-San Jose), Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren (D-San Jose) and Congresswoman Anna G. Eshoo (D-Palo Alto) introduced the Patents And Trademarks Encourage New Technology (PATENT) Jobs Act to exempt the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) from the what they sponsors called debilitating cuts imposed by budget sequestration. Indeed, those who have followed this issue know that during the debate and ultimate passage of the America Invents Act (AIA) much was made of the ability of the USPTO to keep its fees and use them to support ongoing business operations. Written promises were made, no binding promises were enacted as part of the legislation, and few could have anticipated that so soon after the USPTO would once again be facing a budget shortfall. See Lack of Commitment to PTO Funding.

AIPLA Challenges OMB on USPTO Sequestration Funding

Jeffery Lewis, who is the President of the American Intellectual Property Law Association (AIPLA), sent a letter to Sylvia Matthews Burwell, who is the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). In this letter Lewis, speaking on behalf of the AIPLA and its 15,000 members, challenged the legal interpretation of the budget cuts the Obama Administration says are required of the USPTO thanks to sequestration.

Kappos 2.0: USPTO Funding, Board Hiring & Harmonization

In this installment we learn from Director Kappos that the USPTO budget is not a problem whatsoever. While the Office did not achieve a permanent end to fee diversion, Congress has appropriated $2.7 billion for the USPTO for this fiscal year. The USPTO is NOT operating under a Continuing Resolution (CR) as is the case with most of the rest of the federal government. Furthermore, current projections have the USPTO collecting $2.5 billion in fees this fiscal year, so there will be a $200 million subsidizing of the USPTO by the General Treasury.

Call to Action: Super Committee Addressing USPTO Funding

There has to be some patent attorneys living in the portions of Montgomery and Prince George Counties represented by Congressman Van Hollen. There has to be some patent law firms in Dallas with ties to Congressman Hensarling and/or the 5th District of Texas. I know for sure there are patent attorneys in Ohio, Arizona, Massachusetts and Washington. These are the folks who are tasked with the burden of finding $1.2 trillion to submit to Congress for a vote, and stakeholders in the patent system should reach out to them and express their views on funding for the Patent Office. Businesses, firms and individuals within the relevant Districts and States will likely have the most influence, but anyone and everyone should stand up and be heard. Who knows when, or if, there will ever be an opportunity as good as this to end fee diversion.

Super Committee Considering an End to USPTO Fee Diversion

As the Super Committee struggles to find nearly $1.2 trillion in revenue or savings, they should take a serious look at the proposal to give the US Patent and Trademark Office greater control over its budget and fees by creating a revolving fund. At the request of many in the patent community, Senator Jon Kyl – a member of the Super Committee – is proposing that the Super Committee include the revolving fund The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has informally indicated that it will score the Kyl provision as saving $700 million over 10 years. By taking the USPTO out of the regular appropriations process, the creation of a revolving fund will take approximately $700 million off budget and help the Super Committee reach their goal. And –besides being a budget saver – the revolving fund is good policy.

Patent Funding Scam? USPTO Funding is Like a Ponzi Scheme

Dudas started off discussing USPTO funding by explaining that while he was at the agency, while he was preparing to testify before Congress at one particular moment, he discussed with his senior staff the problem. “Why can’t I just tell them that the PTO funding is like a ponzi-scheme,” Dudas recounted. He would go on to say that everyone to a person told him “you can’t say that!” So Dudas settled on saying it this way: “the funding of the USPTO is similar to the way Congress funds Social Security.” That seemed to please his advisors and apparently didn’t ruffle any feathers on Capitol Hill. Of course, those on the Hill probably had no idea what Dudas was saying, after all many leaders (including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid) are in denial with respect to Social Security and actually claim that there isn’t a crisis and those claiming Social Security is going broke are perpetuating a myth because they don’t like government.

Rush to Avoid Increased Fees Will Hurt the USPTO

Those rushing to pay fees before September 26, 2011, will save 15%, but the Patent Office will not have access to that money. The budgetary calendar resets on October 1, 2011, which marks the start of Fiscal Year 2012. While the America Invents Act does not put an end to fee diversion key Congressmen in the House of Representatives pledged that they would allow the USPTO to keep 100% of the user fees collected. Thus, presumably, fees paid starting October 1, 2011, would go to the USPTO to use for the purpose intended by the payor; namely the examination of applications and ongoing business operations of the agency.

Dear Mr. President, Are You Listening?

The president says that’s the fault of recalcitrant Republicans in Congress. Republicans in Congress say it’s the fault of a president who is hostile to business. But the real reason we are not putting people back to work three long years into the recession is that Washington is afflicted with a totally-bipartisan cluelessness about how to create jobs.

Patent Reform Back to Senate After Labor Day

Cloture is the only procedure by which the Senate can vote to place a time limit on consideration of a bill or other matter, and thereby overcome a filibuster. Under the cloture rule (Rule XXII), the Senate may limit consideration of a pending matter to 30 additional hours, but only by vote of three-fifths of the full Senate, normally 60 votes. Without 60 votes cloture fails and debate continues. Unfortunately for those who would like to see patent reform derailed, the fact that there was unanimous consent in the Senate for a cloture vote almost certainly suggests that there will be at least 60 votes to end debate on H.R. 1249, which will bring it to a vote, likely sometime later in the week of September 6.

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