IT groups back temporary patent office user fee boost

The information technology industry is urging Senate appropriators to support a likely provision in the fiscal 2005 Commerce-Justice-State spending bill that would increase Patent and Trademark Office user fees for one year and prevent any of those fees from being earmarked for other federal programs.

"We feel the movement they've made is incremental, but it's a good step in the right direction," Ralph Hellmann, the Information Technology Industry Council's senior vice president of government relations, said Monday of the PTO appropriations language. Hellmann said Commerce-Justice-State Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Judd Gregg, R-N.H., is expected to include that language as part of the base text of the spending bill.

The Appropriations Committee is scheduled to mark up the Commerce-Justice-State bill Wednesday. Aides to Gregg and the Appropriations Committee did not immediately return calls seeking comment.

A stand-alone bill approved by the House in March calls for a long-term PTO fee increase and a mechanism to ensure that none of those fees would be diverted to other federal agencies. The Senate Judiciary Committee approved the House-passed bill in April, but the legislation stalled after Senate appropriators raised concerns about the fee provisions.

Supporters have said the bill would enable PTO to fund fully its strategic plan for improving its efficiency and reducing a backlog of hundreds of thousands of pending patent applications.

Hellmann said Gregg's expected compromise language, which would expire at the end of fiscal 2005, is "not ideal," but would help PTO hire additional staff and take other steps to speed up the patent approval process.

"We want a longer term solution, but we can work down the road about how to institutionalize a longer term agreement," Hellmann said. He added that Senate appropriators "understand what we're trying to get at," but they have to operate in "one-year increments."

But two intellectual property organizations last week urged Senate appropriators not to incorporate a PTO fee increase into the spending bill without providing a long-term mechanism to prevent those fees from being channeled to other agencies.

"Our members are willing to support raising fees to fund reforms at the PTO, but we must urge no fee increase unless the increase is accompanied by a long-term solution to fee diversion," Jeffrey Hawley, president of the Intellectual Property Owners Association, and Rick Nydegger, president of the Intellectual Property Law Association, wrote Thursday in a letter to Gregg, Appropriations Chairman Stevens, ranking member Robert Byrd, D-W.Va., and Commerce-Justice-State Appropriations Subcommittee ranking member Ernest (Fritz) Hollings, D-S.C.

Hawley and Nydegger added that limiting a PTO fee increase to one year would "undercut implementation of PTO's 21st Century Strategic Plan and prevent the office from setting in place the basic reforms needed to enhance quality and reduce pendency."

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download
  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.