Jennifer Rankin Byrne
(571) 272-8400 or
Washington, D.C. - Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property Jon Dudas today announced the president's fiscal year 2009 budget request for the Department of Commerce's United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is $2.075 billion.
The FY 2009 request represents a $159 million (8 percent) increase over the FY 2008 budget of $1.916 billion, and assumes continuation of the current fee structure. The USPTO's enacted FY 2008 budget allowed the agency full access to anticipated fee revenues. The agency's proposed budget for FY 2009 continues this practice for the fifth consecutive year.
"The president's budget request for 2009 will support the goals of the USPTO's five-year strategic plan: optimizing patent and trademark quality and timeliness, improving intellectual property protection both domestically and abroad, and achieving organizational excellence," said Under Secretary Dudas. "Importantly, it provides us the resources to continue our record hiring of patent examiners and to streamline our processes to achieve maximum operational efficiency."
In FY 2009, the USPTO plans to hire an additional 1,200 patent examiners and to continue expanding the agency's award-winning telework programs. The USPTO will also continue to improve electronic communications with applicants, encouraging them to do business with the USPTO via the Web. Additionally, the president's request will allow the USPTO to continue working to protect American intellectual property domestically and abroad by providing IP training for foreign officials through its Global Intellectual Property Academy and through ongoing work with international IP offices to cooperate on various issues.
Patent examiners completed over 362,000 patent applications in 2007, the largest number ever, while maintaining for the second year in a row an examination compliance rate of 96.5 percent, the highest in a quarter of a century. The agency also processed a record number of trademark applications in 2007. USPTO trademark examining attorneys took final action on 324,000 trademark applications. Nearly 96 percent of first actions and more than 97 percent of final actions meet statutory and compliance rates for quality of decision making and writing, the highest levels ever achieved.
The president's budget request will also support USPTO operational changes that could result from the passage of pending patent modernization legislation. The administration supports current provisions in the House and Senate bills that promote patent applicant quality submissions, provide the USPTO the authority to adjust patent and trademark fees, and establish an efficient, effective post-grant patent review process as a lower-cost alternative to litigation for those who want to challenge a patent's validity. The status of this legislation is uncertain as key provisions, particularly language pertaining to how damages are determined, are the subject of concerned debate.