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AIPLA attacks USPTO sequestration

AIPLA president Jeff Lewis has written to the Office of Management and Budget protesting against the application of sequestration to the USPTO

The letter, sent on Tuesday to OMB director Sylvia Mathews Burwell, claims that applying sequestration will significantly reduce the USPTO’s funding at a critical stage in the implementation of the AIA.

Lewis, speaking on behalf of AIPLA’s 15,000 members, noted that the USPTO depends entirely on user fee collections to fund its services.

“It is vitally important for the USPTO to have full access to all its fee collections, to be able to do the best job possible to help secure and maintain our intellectual property system as a key economic driver to attract and protect investment in new technology.”

He said that recent progress in reducing the backlog of applications, which has partly been achieved by hiring more examiners, developing new IT systems and establishing more effective administrative processes, is likely to be undermined by the confiscation of USPTO funds.

“Any delay in these improvements represents a major step back from the commitment of the Administration to the AIA and a fundamental challenge to the innovation and job creation these improvements represent.”

Under former USPTO director David Kappos, who left the organisation in January after resigning from his post in November, the backlog was reduced by 20% despite a 5% average annual increase in patent applications. Over the last two years of his administration, Kappos increased the number of patent examiners by 30% to over 8,000.

Following the departure of Kappos, the USPTO is now being led by acting director Teresa Stanek Rea.

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