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Monday May 14, 2012

Focusing on Funding Continuity

Blog by Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO David Kappos

As USPTO continues to work toward improving effectiveness, a key to maintaining progress will be financial stability, predictability, and sustainability.

Towards this end, the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (AIA) authorized a 15 percent surcharge on most patent fees, which went into effect on September 26, 2011.  The AIA also entrusted the USPTO with the responsibility to set fees through regulation— a new authority that the Office, in collaboration with our stakeholders, is working to put in place in the coming months.  Our target is to have a new fee schedule operational by the middle of FY 2013.

In addition to these in-process AIA fee adjustments, the USPTO recently published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that proposes an increase to statutory fees based on inflation as of October 1, 2012, using the Consumer Price Index.  CPI adjustments have routinely been implemented in the past—generally on an annual basis—to help the Office adjust to the higher costs of doing business resulting from increases in the price of products and services. Given this mix, it is quite understandable that I am sometimes asked why we need the additional fee increase, given the 15 percent surcharge already in place and plans to implement a revised fee schedule by the first quarter of next year.

The answer is: leveling, cash flow, continuity -- much like with any large enterprise.   Think of the CPI adjustment as ensuring “bridge funds.”  This planned CPI adjustment will provide a small but needed increase in funding, allowing the USPTO to continue reducing the backlog and pendency until our new fee schedule--which will provide long-term financial resources--is in place.

An adequately funded USPTO will optimize the administration of the U.S. intellectual property system, moving your innovative ideas to the marketplace more quickly, while creating and sustaining U.S. jobs and enhancing the health and living standards of Americans and indeed people everywhere around the globe.


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