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Collage showing images with one-word descriptors from the U S P T O Fiscal Year 2009 Performance and Accountability Report cover that reinforces the report’s tagline of Today’s Challenges – Tomorrow’s Solutions.
Performance and Accountability Report Fiscal Year 2009
Management's Discussion and Analysis

Table of Contents | Management | Financial | Auditor | IG | Other

Statement of Budgetary Resources

The following table displays the USPTO’s total budgetary resources available for spending over the past five years, with the related percentage change.

As presented below, total budgetary resources available for spending increased with a 3.4 percent change and a 31.1 percent increase over the past five fiscal years. Through FY 2008, the increase in available budgetary resources was used to fund the increased cost of additional human capital to address the growing average complexity of patent applications and the decrease in patent and trademark filings. In FY 2009, the increase in available budgetary resources was $200 million less than planned. As a result, budget reductions and cost-savings measures were implemented, to include: stopping all overtime, including patent production and fee-generating work; curtailing non-bargaining unit performance awards; significantly reducing mission-related travel; suspending patent examiner hiring, except for offers made as of February 2009; suspending all hiring but for the most critical positions in other areas; suspending training except where mandatory to sustain critical job qualifications; reducing or eliminating all non-essential, non-trademark, IT business system improvement projects; reducing the funds applied to critical IT infrastructure projects; and reducing the level of services provided by non-IT contracts.

Budgetary Resources Available for Spending
Resources FY 2005 FY 2006 FY 2007 FY 2008 FY 2009
Budgetary Resources Available for Spending
(Dollars in Millions)
$1,511.1 $1,680.1 $1,794.5 $1,916.6 $1,981.2
Percentage Change     22.3%     11.2%     6.8%     6.8%     3.4%
Patent Examiners    4,177    4,779    5,477    6,099    6,243
Percentage Change    13.5%    14.4%    14.6%    11.4%     2.4%
Trademark Examining Attorneys     357      413      404      391     388
Percentage Change    24.8%    15.7%    (2.2)%    (3.2)%   (0.8)%
Patent and Trademark Filings
Filings FY 2005 FY 2006 FY 2007 FY 2008 FY 2009
Patent Filings 409,532 445,613 468,330 496,886 485,500Read Footnote 11
Percentage Change in Patent Filings    8.1%    8.8%    5.1%    6.1%  (2.3)%
Trademark Filings 323,501 354,775 394,368 401,392 352,051
Percentage Change in Trademark Filings    8.4%    9.7%   11.2%   1.8% (12.3)%
1. Preliminary data. (back to text)

The USPTO was initially appropriated and apportioned up to $2,010.1 million of fee collections. As the fiscal year progressed, fee collections were not being received as they had been anticipated, resulting in fee collections of $1,874.2 million. The USPTO did not meet the planned fee collections primarily due to a decrease in the number of patent and trademark applications (see above table), a decrease in the expected number of claims being filed per patent application, as well as patent maintenance fees coming in less than planned. However, due to the decrease in incoming patent applications, this has allowed the Agency to continue to focus resources on reducing the patent backlog, resulting in increased issue fees.

USPTO operations rely significantly on patent maintenance fees, which are the largest source of budgetary resources by fee type. During FY 2009, maintenance fees collected decreased $15.1 million, or 2.7 percent, from FY 2008. As they are recognized immediately as earned revenue and budgetary resources, any fluctuations in the rates of renewal have a significant impact on the total resources available to the USPTO. To some extent, renewals recoup costs incurred during the initial patent process. As shown on page 49, the renewal rates for all three stages of maintenance fees decreased during FY 2009. The renewal rates are expected to rebound as the economy rebounds.

Legislation was passed in July 2009 that allows the USPTO to use surplus funds from Trademark revenues to cover any shortfalls that may occur as the result of the decrease in Patent fee collections [H.R. 3114]. The authority to use these funds lasts until June 2010. Should such use of Trademark funds be necessary, the amount must be paid back to the Trademark organization no later than September 30, 2014. As of September 30, 2009, Trademark funds were not used for Patent operations.

As defined earlier, temporarily unavailable fee collections occur when the USPTO is not appropriated the authority to spend all fees collected during a given year. During FY 2009, the USPTO did not collect any fee collections that were designated as temporarily unavailable. As a result, the $528.7 million in temporarily unavailable fee collections at the end of FY 2007 remained the same through FY 2009.

The table below chart illustrates amounts that Congress has appropriated to the USPTO over the past five fiscal years, as well as the cumulative unavailable fee collections.

Temporary Unavailable Fee Collections
(Dollars in Millions)
  FY 2005 FY 2006 FY 2007 FY 2008 FY 2009
Fiscal year fee collections $ 1,497.2  $ 1,657.6  $ 1,783.2  $ 1,879.3  $ 1,874.2 
Fiscal year collections appropriated  (1,497.2)
single underline
 (1,657.6)
single underline
 (1,771.0)
single underline
 (1,879.3)
single underline
 (1,874.2)
single underline
Fiscal year unavailable collections $       -  $       -  $    12.2  $       -  $       - 
Prior year collections unavailable     516.5 
single underline
    516.5 
single underline
    516.5 
single underline
    528.7 
single underline
    528.7 
single underline
Cumulative temporarily unavailable fee collections $   516.5 
double underline
$   516.5 
double underline
$   528.7 
double underline
$   528.7 
double underline
$   528.7 
double underline

In addition to these annual restrictions, collections of $233.5 million are unavailable in accordance with the OBRA of 1990, and deposited in a special fund receipt account at the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

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