USPTO Director Announces President Obama’s FY 2011 Budget Request for the USPTO

by Brian Fletcher on February 1, 2010

In a press release today, Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) David Kappos today announced President Obama’s $2.322 billion fiscal year 2011 (FY 2011) budget request for the USPTO.

The president’s budget request for FY 2011 will support a five-year plan designed to enable the USPTO to achieve the strategic objectives laid out by Under Secretary Kappos and Commerce Secretary Gary Locke – a significant reduction in patent pendency periods and the existing patent inventory backlog; improvement in patent quality; enhanced intellectual property (IP) protection and enforcement; global IP policy leadership; and investment in information technology (IT) infrastructure and tools to achieve a 21st Century system that permits end-to-end electronic processing in patents and trademark IT systems.

To achieve these performance commitments, the USPTO will:

– Achieve 3 percent annual efficiency gains in patents processing through the re-engineering of management and workflow processes.

– Initiate a targeted hiring surge and hire 1,000 patent examiners annually during FY 2011 and FY 2012. This effort will target former patent examiners and IP professionals who will require minimal training and can be productive virtually from the start of their employment.

Further details on the USPTO’s five-year strategic plan will be released in the second quarter of 2010 as they become available.

“The USPTO’s 2011 budget represents a significant investment in American innovation,” Secretary Locke said. “We must reduce the unacceptably long time it takes to patent a new idea or technology and improve our enforcement of intellectual property. Doing so will help create jobs and enhance the long-term competitiveness of the U.S. economy.”

The FY 2011 budget request projects fee collections of $2.098 billion. In addition, the administration is proposing an interim fee increase on certain patent fees which is estimated to generate $224 million. The administration continues to support granting the USPTO fee-setting authority as a significant part of a sustainable funding model that would allow the director to propose and set fees in a manner that better reflects the actual cost of USPTO services.

“The USPTO’s work in fostering innovation and bringing patented goods and services to market is a crucial driver of job creation and economic recovery,” said Under Secretary Kappos. “Intellectual property is America’s competitive advantage in the 21st Century global economy and will play a central role in our long-term economic growth. We will continue to take steps to make the USPTO more efficient, and drive to reduce the unacceptably long pendency periods that hinder the creation of new businesses and new jobs.”

{ 1 comment }

Gena777 February 3, 2010 at 2:49 am

This item and the news about the USPTO’s expedited PCT-PPH examinations cause one to almost dare to hope that the agency’s backlog and pendency problems may finally start to become resolved. This could work wonders for patent law. It’s unfortunate to have to pass the costs onto innovators, but by all accounts the US patent law system is in such disarray (at least at the application stage) that it’s become critical to address the USPTO’s serious underfunding issue — using almost any means necessary.

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