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.