In a telephone press conference today, Steve Pinkos, deputy under secretary of commerce for intellectual property, announced the president's fiscal year 2008 budget request for the Department of Commerce's United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is $1.916 billion. This is the fourth consecutive year the president's budget recommends full access to the agency's anticipated fee collections.
"The president's budget request for fiscal year 2008 allows the USPTO to build on its recent successes in improving quality and increasing the number of patent and trademark examinations," noted Deputy Under Secretary Pinkos. It also provides the resources to continue our record hiring of patent examiners, and to expand our efforts to protect U.S. intellectual property around the globe."
Patent examiners completed 332,000 patent applications in 2006, the largest number ever, while achieving the lowest patent allowance error rate-3.5 percent-in over 20 years. At 54 percent, the patent allowance rate also was the lowest on record. Patent allowance rate is the percentage of applications reviewed by examiners that are approved. The agency also processed a record number of trademark applications in 2006. USPTO trademark examining attorneys took final action on 378,111 trademark applications, a 36 percent increase over the previous year, and achieved a record low final action error rate, with mistakes found in only 3.6 percent of the trademark applications reviewed in FY 2006.
In FY 2008, the USPTO anticipates hiring an additional 1,200 patent examiners and to continue expanding the agency's award-winning telework efforts. The proposed budget also allows the agency to continue toward its goal of processing all patent and trademark applications electronically. Additionally, the president's request will allow USPTO to continue working internationally to protect American intellectual property, including expanding its Global Intellectual Property Academy and posting additional IP experts abroad.