WASHINGTON — March 14, 2014 —
BSA | The Software Alliance today expressed strong support for the Patent Fee Integrity Act, introduced in the United States Senate by Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.). The measure would remove the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) from the congressional appropriations process and empower it to fund its operations through the fees it collects.
“The USPTO plays an indispensable role in enabling the growth of America’s innovation economy by protecting intellectual property and promoting innovation,” said BSA President and CEO Victoria Espinel. “But with their funds regularly at risk due to shifting political winds, the USPTO faces an endless and unnecessary challenge to provide the critical services for which American innovators have already paid. This threatens to reduce the USPTO’s operating capacity at a time when it needs to expand to enable American businesses to bring new innovations to market.”
Over the last two decades, the federal government has withheld, diverted, or sequestered more than $1 billion in USPTO user fee collections. As the America Invents Act (AIA) emphasized, these fees are unique from ordinary discretionary government spending and Congress has previously exempted from sequestration “activities financed by voluntary payments to the Government for goods or services to be provided for such payments” 2 U.S.C. 905 (g) (1) (A). The Patent Fee Integrity Act will help the USPTO continue to increase patent quality, provide critical, time-sensitive services, and guarantee continuity of its operations independent of political considerations.
“We commend Sen. Feinstein for introducing this important bill, and we look forward to working with her to advance it through Congress,” Espinel concluded.