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Bill proposes exempting USPTO from budget sequestration

A bill has been introduced to the US Congress proposing to exempt the USPTO from funding cuts as a result of budget sequestration

The Patents And Trademarks Encourage New Technology (PATENT) Jobs Act , introduced by Representatives Mike Honda, Zoe Lofgren and Anna Eshoo, would exempt the Office from budget cuts from 2014 to 2021.

A press release from Honda claims that if legislation is not passed, the USPTO will not be able to open five new patent offices around the country, including one in Silicon Valley. Honda said that an exception should be made for the USPTO because, unlike other government agencies, it is funded entirely by fees paid to the Office.

Honda also expressed concern about the Office’s backlog of 640,000 applicants, which the planned new locations are designed to ease.

In May, AIPLA president Jeff Lewis wrote to the Office of Management and Budget protesting against sequestration being applied to the USPTO. Lewis, writing on behalf of AIPLA’s 15,000 members, said recent progress in reducing the backlog is likely to be undermined by sequestration.

In a statement today, AIPLA executive director Q Todd Dickinson welcomed the proposed legislation.

“We believe that Rep. Honda's bill recognizes the unique fee-funded status of the USPTO and provides the best chance of ensuring the necessary funding for effective implementation of the AIA," said Dickinson.

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