PTO Director: Commerce Secretary Locke has been confirmed as Commerce Secretary. Congratulations. With patent attorney blinders - the next step is to solidify the PTO leadership positions. Leading candidates include Todd Dickinson and David Kappos (IBM). Dickinson is an old-guard Clinton supporter. Kappos was an Obama donor.
Drop in Filing?: I recently relayed an apparent quote from the PTO General Counsel James Toupin reporting a 16% decrease in new patent filings. Toupin and the PTO have since rejected that number as a large overstatement and have indicated that they will provide better numbers shortly. The bottom line is still true - the PTO is experiencing a cash-shortfall and is cutting its own budget wherever it can.
Fee Increases: Dramatically shifting its position, the IPO has announced that it opposes "any significant increase in USPTO patent fees in the near term."
Patent Reform 2009: The Senate Judiciary Committee holds the ball on patent reform and is set to meet again to discuss mark-ups on March 31, 2009. Lobbying will be heavy during the next week to define the center "consensus" ground. Quinn; IPWatch.