From the Wall Street Jornal:
Inventors and companies would face a new 15% surcharge on patent fees under the Obama administration's proposed budget, with the funds going to help the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to "improve the speed and quality of patent examinations."
The head of the patent office floated the surcharge proposal late last year. The proposal would require congressional approval.
The funds would allow the administration to hire more examiners and upgrade technology under the Patent and Trademark Office's proposed $2.3 billion budget for fiscal year 2011.
[O]verall, the Commerce Department's proposed $8.9 billion budget would represent a 36% decrease from fiscal year 2010. Last year's budget was higher than usual because of billions of dollars set aside to hold the 2010 Census.
Read: "Surcharge Seen on Patent Fees " (link)
See also, Reuters, "U.S. patent office gets boost in Obama budget" (link)