USPTO Director Uses Blog to Defend Fee Increases

by Sheldon Mak & Anderson on April 3, 2012

Los Angeles patent lawyerDirector of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) David Kappos recently took to his public blog to defend the new patent fee proposal. As we previously reported on this blog, most fee categories will have an increase of from 7% to 142% under the proposed fee schedule, on top of the recently instituted 15% fee increase

In his blog post, titled “Increased Fees v. Operational Efficiencies,” Kappos responded to critics who argue that the USPTO simply needs to become more efficient. He specifically cautioned that “attempting to draw a corollary between fee-setting and speculation about the possible impact of potential future efficiency gains is difficult without the benefit of hindsight.”

Kappos further reiterated the USPTO’s position that the fees “must be set in a manner that enables us to continue investing in reducing the backlog and improving all other areas of our agency.” He further acknowledged that it often takes years for improvements to pay off, not just for the USPTO but for any business.

Therefore, in Kappos’ view, “The responsible approach is to rely on our experience and current cost model, factoring in the efficiency gains we have achieved to date, but not speculating about possible future gains.”

To conclude, Kappos posed the following question: “Does the U.S. innovation community want us to continue investing to quickly reduce the backlog and fully capture the promise of the AIA, or does it want us to back off a bit and accept a longer trajectory to reducing the backlog, and a higher level of risk relative to future funding downturns?”

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