The president's FY 2005 budget submission allocates to the USPTO all of the $1.533 billion in fees it is projected to raise next year. This marks the first time since FY 1998 that a president's proposed budget allows the USPTO to retain all of its fees in the year collected.
"The administration has delivered on its promise," noted Jon Dudas, Acting Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property. "American innovators have long fought for an end to fee diversion."
The groundwork for the president's bold move was laid at the outset of the Bush administration. Commerce Secretary Don Evans signaled its end last year, when during testimony before Congress on the administration's FY 2004 budget, he said "to support technology innovation and provide for intellectual property protection, the department is working to eliminate the practice of using USPTO revenues for unrelated federal programs."
"With access to all of the user fees in the year collected, the USPTO can sustain its vital role in strengthening the economy and creating jobs by ensuring the U.S. continues to lead the world in producing the most timely and reliable intellectual property protection for American innovators, Dudas added."
The president's proposed FY 2005 budget assumes enactment of the USPTO fee proposal to finance the agency's 21st Century Strategic Plan. Without the new fees, full implementation of the plan is not possible. USPTO has been doing significant cost cutting to ensure implementation of elements of the plan's critical quality and e-government initiatives. However, without the new fee schedule, pendency will increase and the backlog of unexamined cases will grow beyond the current inventory of 500,000 patent applications.
The president's proposed FY 2005 budget puts the strategic plan back on track, allowing the agency to make its processes simpler and faster, deliver patents and trademarks of superior quality, and enhance overall productivity by:
- E-Government - continuing migration to full electronic processing of patents and trademarks.
- Productivity - hiring 900 new highly-qualified patent examiners.
- Efficiency - finalizing the agency's move to consolidated space in Alexandria, Va.
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