The House of Representatives is expected to consider the America Invents Act (H.R. 1249) this week after a compromise was reached yesterday on a contentious provision to allow the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to keep all of the fees it collects.
As Politico reports, under the agreement, the USPTO would still be subject to the annual appropriations process, but “greater care would be taken to ensure that the fees collected are used for their designated purpose and not diverted to other accounts.” Excess fees would be deposited in a reserve fund in the Treasury Department and used exclusively for processing patent applications.
ACE and a coalition of higher education and research groups sent a letter on June 13 to House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) requesting that the fee retention provision be retained.
The provision is necessary, the groups wrote, because over the last two decades more than $875 million in user fees has been redirected to other governmental purposes in what amounts to a hidden tax on innovation.
ACE also signed on to a letter sent June 15 to House members urging their support for H.R. 1249.
The Senate passed its version of the America Invents Act (S. 23) in March by a vote of 95-5. The user fee compromise and any other changes in the House bill would have to be reconciled with the Senate measure.
For more information on patent reform, see:
Memo on Patent Reform: Support the America Invents Act (H.R. 1249) (140 KB) (June 14, 2011)
Memo on the America Invents Act (H.R. 1249) (140 KB) (May 17, 2011)
Association Statement on Prior User Rights in Patent Reform Legislation (297 KB) (March 25, 2011)
Letter to the Senate in Support of the Patent Reform Act of 2011 (S. 23) (138 KB) (Feb. 28, 2011)
House Committee on the Judiciary Summary of the America Invents Act