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Obama Administration Boosts U.S. Patent Office’s 2012 Budget

in Intellectual Property/Patents by

Not Just Hot Air: President Barack Obama backed up his calls for an innovation-driven economy with a boost to the patent office's bottom line in his 2012 budget. Here, he looks inside a hydrogen cooled generator while touring the General Electric plant in Schenectady, N.Y. GE agrees with the Obama administration's support for quick passage of a patent reform law currently under consideration in the U.S. Congress

WASHINGTON, February 15, 2011 -- Amid talk of making sacrifices and cuts, the Obama Administration's 2012 budget in contrast proposes to boost the United States Patent and Trademark Office's budget in 2012 by 16% over 2010 levels to $2.7 billion.

The boost in income would come from reforms as well as an increase in patent fees.

The goal of the increased fees, and higher fees for expedited service, is to diminish the overall time it takes for patents to either get approved or rejected.

Currently, the average overall processing time for a patent application is 35 months.

The Obama administration wants to cut that to 20 months by 2015 by hiring more examiners and improving its technology systems.

President Obama has focused a lot of his time and energy stressing to the public that the United States needs to keep its edge, and that it needs to increase its competitiveness globally by innovating.

He made the point during his State of the Union speech, noting that no country currently processes more patent applications than the United States (China is about to change that.)

Silicon Valley has constantly called for better funding of the USPTO so that the office can reduce the time it takes to process a patent.

Monday's news should pave the way for a friendly visit to Silicon Valley, where Obama is expected to speak with high-tech CEOs on Thursday, before he visits Intel -- the 8th largest patent assignee in the United States in 2010, according to ifi Claims Patent Services.

The issue of patents and how the law is functioning is of crucial importance to U.S. tech companies.

Recent data from both the USPTO and ifi Claims Patent Services show that a record number of patents are being granted and rejected.

IBM, for example, broke records with the number of patents it was awarded in 2010 with 5,896 patents granted, up 20% from 2009.

Editor's Note: The Intellectual Property Club will host a panel discussion on patent reform in the 112th Congress March 8th. Join us!

1 Comment

  1. “GE agrees with the Obama administration’s support for quick passage of a patent reform law currently under consideration in the U.S. Congress”

    The problem is the bill was written by large firms to kill their small entity competition. It will make patents harder and more expensive to get and harder to enforce. Congress, Obama, and the Patent Office have turned a deaf ear to small entities who account for over 90% of new jobs and act as a natural deterrent to large corporate monopolies.

    Just because they call it “reform” doesn’t mean it is. Patent reform is a fraud on America.

    Please see for a different/opposing view on patent reform.

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