Maria Victoria Hernandez
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) recently announced the upgrade of its Revenue Accounting and Management (RAM) system to allow financial transactions over the Internet. The upgrade is part of the USPTO's long-term strategy to modernize financial management practices and procedures, allowing increased options for paying required fees and providing improved service to the USPTO's customers.
USPTO customers can now pay maintenance fees by credit card; request a deposit account statement; add, change, or delete deposit account authorized users; and replenish deposit account balances by credit card over the Internet through the PTO web site.
"The USPTO continues to adapt its operations to the ease of the Internet," notes Q. Todd Dickinson, Commissioner of Patents and Trademarks. "We believe our customers appreciate the convenience of the USPTO's financial services e-commerce initiatives, particularly small businesses and independent inventors, who are more inclined to handle transactions personally.."
In November 1999, the PTO solicited comments on a proposal to amend its rules of practice to include payment of any patent or trademark fee by credit card. The USPTO previously limited credit card transactions to the fees required for information products, such as copies of patents or trademarks, or for an electronic submission involved in a trademark application. The USPTO processed about 60,000 credit card transactions during fiscal year 1999, totaling about $7 million, including approximately 19,000 credit card transactions for trademark applications filed over the Internet.
The USPTO is the Commerce Department's user fee-funded bureau that administers laws relevant to granting patents and registering trademarks, advises the Secretary of Commerce, the President of the United States, and the administration on patent, trademark and copyright protection, and advises the Secretary of Commerce, the President of the United States, and the administration on the trade-related aspects of intellectual property. Over 6 million patents have been issued since the first patent in 1790. Last year, the USPTO issued 161,000 patents and registered 104,000 trademarks.
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