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United States Patent and Trademark Office

Fee Modernization act Of 2003

Purpose and Need for Proposed Statutory Changes to 35 U.S.C. 41 – Fees

This legislative proposal revises section 41 of title 35, United States Code, to establish a new schedule of patent fees and trademark application fees.  The proposal complements the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO) revised 21st Century Strategic Plan announced on February 3, 2003 in realigning fees so they better reflect the needs of customers and better correlate fees with the extra effort required to meet the demands of certain kinds of patent requests.  This proposal would generate the levels of patent and trademark fee income needed to implement the goals and objectives of the strategic plan.

The President’s 2004 budget proposes a fee increase to fund the USPTO’s long-term quality, e-Government, and pendency initiatives.  The proposed fee changes in this legislation reflect more accurately the costs of the services provided and produce income levels consistent with the 2004 budget proposal, taking into account changing expectations about patent and trademark application filings.  The resulting revenues will ensure that there is no delay in the implementation of the USPTO’s new initiatives aimed at improving the quality of granted patents and trademark registrations, increasing efficiency through e-Government programs, and reducing pendency in processing applications for patents and for the registration of trademarks.

The proposed changes to section 41 also will initiate a restructuring of patent fees by, among other things, providing refundable search and examination fees rather than the composite fee currently charged.  This change will provide patent applicants with a reduced filing fee and give them an opportunity to evaluate the commercial value of their invention and recover the cost of patent search and examination when the situation warrants. 

Enactment of this bill at the earliest possible date may provide the USPTO with additional income and funding to support initiatives in the President’s fiscal year 2003 budget request.       



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