San Diego – With the Federal Budget for Fiscal Year 2012 set, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) can expect to see $100 million less in its budget. Never mind that the USPTO is a fee-funded agency, and does not receive any funding from taxpayer dollars. What this cut equates to is a siphoning of revenues from the USPTO to fund other government programs.
Under the new budget, the USPTO will have the authority to spend $2.09 billion, $100 million less than its projected revenue of fee collections. While the $100 million accounts for only about 5% of the USPTO budget, the cuts are expected to be taken over the next five months which would equate to a 10% reduction in spending for that time period.
As a result of this money being siphoned from the USPTO, Track 1 of the new fee-based prioritized patent examination process will not be utilized. The Fast Track initiative would have been available May 4, 2011. Spending for the trademark budget will not be affected by the cut.
In addition to not implementing the new patent examination initiative, other areas that will be affected by the reduction in spending include the opening of new satellite offices to reduce the backlog in Washington D.C., the hiring of new employees, training for existing employees, overtime, information technology projects, and funding for the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) outsourcing.
This cut is odd considering President Obama’s recent efforts to promote prompt intellectual property protections in an effort to spur U.S. innovation and economic development. The president also recently announced his plans to double domestic exports over the next five years. The President’s export plan is now a little more unattainable as the USPTO’s efforts to examine and register patents has been undermined by the spending reduction. With the spending cuts, the already overburdened patent examination process cannot be as efficient at examining and registering patents and getting innovations and jobs to market.