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AIPLA Applauds Bill to Provide Permanent Funding for USPTO

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The American Intellectual Property Law Association (AIPLA) applauds the bipartisan efforts of Reps. Conyers, Watt, Issa, and Collins on the introduction of H.R. 3349 to finally provide permanent full funding for the US Patent and Trademark Office.

The legislation would create a USPTO revolving fund into which the agency would deposit the fee revenues it collects. Those revenues would be solely for its use, without fiscal year limitation and until expended, to cover all ordinary and reasonable expenses incurred for the operation of the Office. The USPTO would no longer be subject to the annual appropriations process.

The hope that the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act of 2011 would solve the perennial problem of USPTO funding was not realized in the wake of recent financial maneuverings in Washington. With sequestration, hundreds of millions of dollars in USPTO collected fees were once again diverted away from the Office to other government programs. This diversion, in the words of former USPTO Director David Kappos testifying today, has had "devastating results." Sequestration has made it clear: the USPTO will never fulfill its crucial function of spurring innovation and economic growth until it is set free of the hand-to-mouth constraints of the annual appropriations process, which this bill would permanently fix.

"No serious enterprise can be expected to function well when its resources dry up and it cannot plan or make reliable commitments," said AIPLA Executive Director Q. Todd Dickinson. "We thought the compromise of the AIA had fixed this problem; it obviously hasn't. The time has come for Congress to provide the USPTO with the ability to do the work its customers pay for by ending the possibility of fee diversion, once and for all," said Dickinson.

AIPLA, the American Intellectual Property Law Association, was founded in 1897 to maintain a high standard of professional ethics, to aid in the improvement in laws relating to intellectual property and in their proper interpretation by the courts, and to provide legal education to the public and to its members on intellectual property issues. AIPLA is a national bar association constituted primarily of lawyers in private and corporate practice, in government service, and in the academic community.

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