Industry coalition opposes PTO-fee bill

A coalition of big U.S. companies that rely on patents said on Monday it opposes House legislation that would allow the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to set fees to pay for its operations, arguing the measure would not bar Congress from diverting some of the fees for other purposes.

The House is expected to take up the bill on Tuesday. The provision is in a broader compromise patent-overhaul bill that is supported by the Coalition for 21st Century Patent Reform that is made up of such companies as DuPont, General Electric, Motorola, Merck and 3M. The broader patent reform bill is awaiting action by the full Senate.

But the coalition said in a statement on Monday that while it backs the idea of allowing the PTO to set fees to adequately fund its operations and improve the time it takes to review patents, it opposes the House bill on grounds it does not include a provision that would prohibit PTO funds from being diverted for other government programs.

"We need legislation that guarantees that the fees paid by the users of the patent system are adequate to hire and train needed examiners and to provide them with the modern information technology necessary to conduct thorough examinations and grant valid patents. Unfortunately, the [PTO measure] is not that bill. Although it authorizes the USPTO to set fees to recover its estimated costs, it contains no safeguards to prevent those fees from being diverted to support other totally unrelated government programs," it said in a statement.

At a recent hearing on the PTO, the bill's expected sponsor, House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, D-Mich., and Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., pressed PTO Director David Kappos on whether he would support a stand-alone fee-setting bill. Kappos said only that the agency still believes a broader patent overhaul bill can make it through Congress.

But many lawmakers say something must be done to help the PTO address its funding needs regardless of what happens with the broader patent bill.

Conyers, Lofgren, House Judiciary Committee ranking member Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, and other key panel members oppose some of the provisions in the Senate compromise patent bill unveiled in March by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and ranking member Jeff Sessions, R-Ala. The House Judiciary members have been negotiating with their Senate counterparts to try to address their concerns, with the goal of producing a measure the House Judiciary panel could take up.

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.