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Monday Apr 23, 2012

Progress Report on Fee Setting Under the AIA

From: Michelle Picard, Fee Setting Team Leader

In accordance with Section 10 of the America Invents Act, the agency released a preliminary proposed fee schedule on its AIA micro-site on February 7, 2012.  The Patent Public Advisory Committee (PPAC) held two hearings on the USPTO's preliminary proposed fees on February 15 and 23 and collected written comments.   In total, 12 witnesses testified at the hearings, and 24 members of the public submitted written comments. 

More specifically, the hearing witnesses included 4 IP organizations and 8 individuals.  Also, as shown in the table below, written comments were received from IP organizations, academic and research institutions, and individuals.  Written comments are available for viewing on both the AIA micro-site and PPAC micro-site.

Comments on Fee Setting pie chart with the following data: IP Organizations 3; Academic and Research institutions 1; Individuals 19; Total comments received 23. 

The agency attended PPAC's Fee Setting Hearings to hear the witnesses testimony and presently is reviewing the written comments.  In response thereto, PPAC is preparing a report for the agency.  PPAC is hopeful of delivering its report no later than July 2012, though statutorily is not obligated to produce that report until just before the agency releases it final fee rules.

Also in response to the PPAC Hearing public input and preliminary PPAC feedback, the agency is preparing a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM)  containing the agency's official proposed fee schedule.  Based upon the helpful feedback from witness testimony and written comments, the agency is modifying select fees from its February 7th preliminary proposal for inclusion in its NPRM.  The agency plans to issue its NPRM in the Federal Register in June-July 2012, which will open a 60-day comment period for the public to give additional feedback to the agency. 

Like PPAC, the agency appreciates the public's participation in the PPAC Fee Setting hearings.  This dialogue helps the agency to better understand what goals stakeholders believe that the agency should strive to achieve in exercising its fee setting authority under the AIA.  Additionally, it will enable the agency to produce an NPRM better aligned with the public's fee expectations.

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