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Friday Apr 22, 2011

An Update on the USPTO's FY 2011 Budget

Blog by Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO David Kappos


As you may know, the FY 2011 budget was enacted on April 15, 2011 and contains the USPTO’s appropriation through the end of this fiscal year, September 30, 2011. With the enactment of the Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act, 2011, our total spending authority for FY 2011 has been limited to $2.09 billion.


Given this level of spending authority, USPTO will have to make significant reductions for the current fiscal year.


We have not come by these decisions lightly; I recognize that these measures will create new challenges for our ability to carry out our agency’s mission, but we will continue seeking innovative ways to do more with less.


Effective immediately and until further notice:


  • Track One of the Three-Track program, which offers expedited patent examination and was scheduled to go into effect on May 4, 2011, is postponed;
  • The opening of the planned Nationwide Workforce satellite office in Detroit, as well as consideration of other possible satellite office locations, is postponed;
  • Hiring—both for new positions and backfills—is frozen;
  • IT projects will be scaled back;
  • Funding for Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) outsourcing will be substantially reduced;
  • Employee training will be reduced;
  • All overtime is suspended.


In addition, business units will be required to reduce all other non-compensation-related expenses, including travel, conferences and contracts.


Trademarks is unaffected and will maintain normal operations. 


I would like to thank our entire team for their continuing cooperation and patience, and for their dedication and service during this challenging time.



This is only a temporary set back. Keep up the great work that you and your team have been doing.

Posted by Ernie Beffel on April 22, 2011 at 03:54 PM EDT #

Just my opinion but I don't think a hiring freeze is a good idea. You're freezing against those new potential employees that are willing to work for less pay. People willing to go the extra mile are not dead.

Posted by Massage News on April 22, 2011 at 07:18 PM EDT #

Clearly, our legislators did not read George Will's Jan. 2 op-ed piece or listen to the Kauffman Foundation. There is a connection between patents and emerging companies and between emerging companies and job creation. In the past, there have been calls for a Patent Stimulus package, This is a Patent De-stimulus budget and counter to patent reform

Posted by Orlando Lopez on April 23, 2011 at 03:13 AM EDT #

It was great to hear you speak at the JPPCLE session Wednesday. It sounds like you are doing great work, and I appreciate your efforts. I wish to offer a suggestion relating to claim drafting practice. Currently, if a claim recites "at least one higglety-pigglety widget," examiners will commonly require that this element be later recited as "the at least one higglety-pigglety widget." I disagree with this practice. Absent ambiguity, the later recitation should be "the widget." This change would make claims more in conformity with normal, plain English, as required by the laws requiring documents be drafted in plain English that some states have enacted. Moreover, the claims will be easier for everyone to understand. In addition, proofing errors, resulting in inconsistent recitations will be reduced. Thank you for your attention.

Posted by Anne Barschall on April 29, 2011 at 09:22 AM EDT #

This new budget has a very negative impact on the USPTO. This is quite unfortunate because the USPTO is essential for maintaining America as a great power and for building the economy through new inventions and innovations. Is there any way that those of us outside of the USPTO can help out? For example, could we volunteer to help out with certain USPTO activities? Is there a USPTO group or committee that will consider outsiders' ideas and proposals for new and efficient USPTO operations? Can we assist by writing more compact and clear applications that have already been evaluated in relation to the existing state-of-the-art? The USPTO is a central component of America's economic defense effort and it needs to be protected.

Posted by Nickolaus E. Leggett on May 10, 2011 at 10:25 AM EDT #

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