Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Doll Confirms that Budget Crisis Is Affecting USPTO

Being a fee-funded government entity, it should be no surprise that the PTO would be affected by the recent economic meltdown. But by how much? In a recent interview, acting USPTO Director John Doll stated that the PTO's current projections show that patent filings should drop by a mere 2% in 2009. Other analysis are predicting a 10% drop in filings.

While this drop in filings will hurt the PTO's bottom line at some future date, the more immediate problem for the PTO is the rising rate of abandonment. While the PTO is aware of the problem, it does not appear to be too concerned:

"I talked to a large corporation today and they're going through their patent portfolio to see what's core," said Doll, adding that the company could decide to abandon much of its portfolio. The budget woes mean that the patent office has stopped recruiting examiners, which it had been doing in an effort to clear a tremendous backlog of patent applications.

"We've stopped hiring at this time," said Doll. "If we closed our doors today, it would take us almost two years to clear out our backlog."

"It would be a great time to hire," he added.

Another problem is the steep dropoff in the allowance rate. With the PTO waging wars of attrition against certain applicants, chances are that such applicants will simply walk away from the prosecution instead of fighting repeatedly fruitless (and pointless) battles with the Office.

Read "Patent Office budget hit by financial crisis" (link)

See also Gene Quinn's excellent post "PTO Hiring Freeze and Budget Problems" (link)

3 Comentários:

Anonymous said...

This is NOTHING.
If patent "reform" pushed by the IT Goliaths passes this year, and patents get seriously devalued, watch for people to stop paying maintenance fees on existing patents.
That will cause a budget TSUNAMI and will really kill patent quality.

Anonymous said...

"That will cause a budget TSUNAMI and will really kill patent quality."

And exactly how would that be bad from the "patent reformers" (CPF) perspective? Isn't that, in fact, EXACTLY what they're after?

Perhaps you have provided them yet another reason to pursue "patent reform."

Anonymous said...

By killing quality you also devalue the product quality. And the market would be flooded with cheap, piece of junk products...is that what you want?


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