WASHINGTON, May 14 – LAWFUEL – The Law News Network — Intellectual P…

WASHINGTON, May 14 – LAWFUEL – The Law News Network — Intellectual Property Owners Association (IPO) today announced its strong support for Title III of the
COMPETE Act of 2005 (S. 1020), which was introduced in the U.S. Senate
yesterday by Senators Norm Coleman (R-MN) and Mark Pryor (D-AR).

This provision, entitled “United States Patent and Trademark Fee
Modernization,” prevents the diversion of user fees from the United States
Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) by allowing the agency to collect only the
amount of fees that it may spend in that fiscal year. According to the
provision, if Congress does not appropriate the full amount of estimated user
fee collections for use by the USPTO in a fiscal year, the USPTO Director
would be required to reduce fees for the remainder of that year to make
estimated fee collections equal to the appropriation. The legislation is
designed to insure that the USPTO has adequate funds to carry out its
examination of patents and trademarks, which is vital to U.S. businesses and

IPO Executive Director, Herbert Wamsley, said, “It doesn’t seem too much
to ask that the USPTO keep 100 percent of its own patent and trademark fees.
… To do anything less is a disservice to our inventors and entrepreneurs and
a drag on our nation’s competitiveness and productivity.”

From 1992 until 2004, Congress diverted more than three-quarters of a
billion dollars of fees paid by patent and trademark applicants to unrelated
government programs. This diversion of user fees has caused large backlogs of
unexamined patent applications and has been a major factor in the workload
crisis at the USPTO.

IPO has long advocated for improvements at the USPTO, which is facing not
only a workload crisis, but also questions about the quality of the patents it
grants. IPO’s recommended objectives for the USPTO are to: (1) improve patent
quality, (2) reduce the time it takes applicants to get a patent, and (3)
achieve cost effectiveness in all operations. IPO has supported the USPTO’s
“21st Century Strategic Plan” as a way to achieve these objectives, but until
now, the USPTO has been hampered by lack of funding. Last year Congress
passed legislation raising patent application fees by 15-25 percent. The fee
increase will provide more than $200 million a year in additional revenue to
the USPTO through September 2006.

About Intellectual Property Owners Association
Founded in 1972, IPO is a national trade association for owners of
patents, trademarks, copyrights and trade secrets in all industries and fields
of technology. IPO was established to broaden public understanding of
intellectual property rights. Members include large and small businesses,
universities, intellectual property attorneys, and independent inventors and

IPO has more than 100 corporate members that own patents, trademarks,
copyrights, and trade secrets and that employ more than 5 million people in
the United States. IPO members file about 30 percent of the patent
applications that are filed in the U.S. by U.S. nationals and pay more than
$200 million a year in user fees to the USPTO, which is supported entirely by
user fee income.

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