Monday, November 22, 2004

BAH! The long-running battle to reserve the money raised from patent fees exclusively for use by the Patent and Trademark Office is unlikely to be resolved in the 108th Congress.

Lawmakers refused to block the diversion of such fees as part of the omnibus appropriations bill for fiscal 2005 cleared over the weekend.

They did provide PTO a funding boost and specifically allocated funding to hire more patent and trademark examiners. But the technology lobbying community, which worked hard to stop fee diversions this year, is split on whether the larger budget will benefit technology companies as long as PTO still could lose money from patent fees to unrelated programs.

Under the omnibus appropriations bill, PTO would receive up to $1.6 billion, or $342 million more than in fiscal 2004. The measure also would let PTO raise its fees between 15 percent and 25 percent over the next two years to fund its operations.

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