Sent: Tuesday, December 16, 2003 2:50 PM
To: ethicsrules comments
Subject: Annual registration fees and Patent CLE
I am opposed to the annual registration fee requirement as written. The reason is that these types of fees commonly are manipulated over time as a "ways and means" tool for funding all sorts of functions. The registration fee is basically a new type of tax. There is a common understanding of how these types of fee requirements tend to drift and expand over time. In order to control the fee and its uses over time, the fee should be defined in terms of the expense of strictly prescribed functions which are to be funded by the fee, and regulatory barriers to amending or expanding the functions need to be enacted. I hope that the annual registration fee is recognized as potentially being the "nose of the camel entering the tent", and that regulations are adopted assuring that patent attorneys never have to pay for anything but "the nose".
I think that the patent CLE requirement is a marginal idea. Most of my CLE is intellectual property law related. I hope that my intellectual property law CLEs will satisfy the USPTO requirements. I also hope that USPTO sponsored CLE requirements will satisfy my other CLE requirements. I practice in Oklahoma, in Kansas, and in the USPTO. All three jurisdictions are concerned about my legal education and ethics. I have dealt with dual OK and KS CLE for 19 years. Double CLE has been a burden. OK and KS CLE are 6 months out of phase, they have different ethics requirements, different time block accounting, and many KS CLEs are not automatically approved in OK, and vice versa. I am not looking forward to triple CLE coming from the USPTO "piling on".
USPTO Reg. No. 37,644