USPTO Budget Cuts for 2011

Today USPTO Director David Kappos announced what the impact that the budget reduction will have at the Patent Office. There are a number of important areas where the USPTO will no longer be able to strive for this year. Track One, the Fast-track patent processing system that allows inventors and businesses to have their patents processed within 12 months, which was supposed to go into effect May 4th will be postponed. Applicants interested in an expedited and prioritized process should consider whether they qualify for Accelerated Examination, information about how we can assist you can be found here.

In a memo to USPTO employees Kappos states “In view of the funding cuts reflected in the final budget and affecting the U.S. government as a whole, we will be unable to expend the additional $85-$100 million in fees that we will be collecting during this fiscal year — funds that we had anticipated being able to use to fund operations this year.”

The proposed Nationwide Workforce satellite office in Detroit, which could have held 100 examiners, as well as the other potential offices has been postponed. Employee benefits including overtime and training have been suspended and reduced as well as a reduction in all other non-compensation-related expenses, including travel, conferences and contracts. Other projects that are being postponed include IT initiatives, hiring for new positions and backfills, as well as Funding for Patent Cooperation Treaty outsourcing.

At this point it seems clear the ever-growing backlog of patents waiting for their turn at the USPTO will be growing steadily this year.

Read Kappos’ blog post here