Patent and Trademark Office seeks OK to spend higher fee income

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is urging Congress to increase its funding for fiscal 2010 in light of new projections that the agency said shows it will receive in excess of $100 million more from patent fees than it estimated in September.

Appropriators used the September projection of $1.887 billion to set the agency's fiscal 2010 spending level.

"Absent further congressional action, the USPTO will not be able to expend this fee income to address its urgent fiscal needs," Patent and Trademark Office Director David Kappos wrote in a Monday letter to House and Senate appropriators.

He added that, unlike past years, appropriators removed language from the fiscal 2010 spending bill that allowed the agency to spend up to $100 million more in fees than the set spending level.

Despite the projected increase in fees, Kappos warned that the dire fiscal problems the agency faced last year when it was forced to "cut spending sharply" will likely carry over into 2010.

He said unless the agency receives more funds, it will be forced to operate on a "bare-bones budget" that would allow it to replace only a small percentage of the 500 patent examiners expected to leave this year.

But lawmakers may not be swayed by Kappos' warnings. The PTO fee projections have been overly optimistic in recent years, which has led to other programs funded by the Commerce-Justice-Science Appropriations bill to be shortchanged, a congressional source said.

In fact, House and Senate appropriators chided the agency, which is funded by fees, for using a budget process that does not adequately plan for economic downturns when fees may be less than anticipated.

"USPTO's financial situation in fiscal year 2009, while anomalous, may be repeated again. The decision to rely solely on fee income has removed USPTO from the safety net of the appropriations process and has placed it at the mercy of the economy; it has allowed USPTO to build a boom-time infrastructure that it cannot support in an economic downturn," according to the Commerce-Justice-Science fiscal 2010 Appropriations conference report.

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:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

    Download
  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

    Download
  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

    Download
  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

    Download

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