Commerce Secretary Tells Congress the Administration is Working to Eliminate Fee Diversion

Full Access to Fees Will Allow Agency to Improve Patent and Trademark Quality
Press Release

Brigid Quinn

In testimony on the department's FY 2004 budget yesterday before the Commerce, State, and Justice Subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee, Commerce Secretary Don Evans said "To support technology innovation and provide for intellectual property protection, the department is working to eliminate the practice of using USPTO revenues for unrelated federal programs. Making more fees available sooner will enable the agency to increase the quality of patents and trademarks issued."

The secretary's comments come as USPTO begins its transformation to a quality-driven, cost-effective organization under the provisions of the agency's 21st Century Strategic Plan. The USPTO is aggressively moving toward end-to-end electronic processing of patents in 2004, and is now working with the European and Japanese Patent Offices to end duplication of effort by sharing prior art searches.

"The president has already reduced the annual practice of 'fee diversion' by 50 percent in the administration's fiscal year 2004 budget," noted Under Secretary James E. Rogan. "Secretary Evans is also committed to working toward ending fee diversion entirely. This bold step is another manifestation of the administration's commitment to strengthen the economy by ensuring that the USPTO continues to lead the world in producing the most timely and reliable intellectual property rights protection for American innovators."

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