USPTO Announces Patent Fee Changes

Press Release

Brigid Quinn
Maria V. Hernandez

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), which has been fully fee-funded since 1993, recently announced changes in patent fees to take effect October 1, 2000. In order to recover the high costs associated with doing business, patent fee amounts are being increased by the current rate of inflation over 1999 levels.

The USPTO employs activity-based cost (ABC) accounting principles and systems on an agency-wide basis. Patent fees are set by section 41 of title 35, United States Code. Subsection (f) of this section authorizes the Commissioner of Patents and Trademarks to adjust patent fees annually to reflect fluctuations in the Consumer Price Index over the preceding twelve months.

This is the first time that patent fees have been increased since October 1997. In both 1998 and 1999, patent fees were reduced to more accurately reflect the cost of processing patent applications.

A final rule notice was published in the Federal Register on August 11, 2000. The notice is available on the USPTO website at .

USPTO, a user fee-funded agency of the United States, within the Department of Commerce, administers laws relevant to granting patents and registering trademarks. The Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office advises the Secretary of Commerce and other Federal departments and agencies on intellectual property policy matters. Over 6 million patents have been issued since the first patent in 1790, and 2.3 million trademarks have been registered since the first in 1870. Last year USPTO issued 161,000 patents and registered 104,000 trademarks.

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