2013 Sequester at the USPTO

by Dennis Crouch

If the 2013 Sequester holds through the end of FY2013, it looks like the USPTO will be forced to cut about $148 million from its FY2013 budget of $2.951 billion. [White House Report on Sequestration]. This amount represents 5% of the agency’s annual budget.

However, the USPTO’s fee collections for FY2013 have fallen somewhat under the budgeted amount.  Under USPTO budget rules, the executive agency can only spend what it brings in through fees with a maximum cap set by the budget.  If this trend continues through the major fee shake-up of March 16, 2013, then we should not see any direct serious direct impact due to an ongoing sequester.

The Federal Circuit will be expected to cut about $2 million from its $30 million budget.  Chief Judge Rader previously indicated the Court’s intention to continue to provide the highest quality opinions in the same timely manner.  Still, the cuts have to come from somewhere. The judges may take a voluntary pay cut and hourly employees could receive reduced hours.

Update: An official at the Department of Commerce has confirmed that the USPTO is subject to sequestration but that the agency is already operating below the sequester’s funding level.

 

86 thoughts on “2013 Sequester at the USPTO

  1. 6: I’m simply presuming that if they’re going to make cuts to entitlements then they will make cuts to the more questionable areas first.

    Meanwhile, on planet Earth:

    [T]he effect of indiscriminate cuts on HUD programs would be devastating, especially because the agency does not have the authority to determine how those cuts would be implemented.

    “Sequestration doesn’t distinguish,” he said. “It doesn’t give us the opportunity to say, okay, we’re going to protect the population that may become homeless as a result of sequestration. We’re going to allocate money to make sure people don’t become homeless.” Instead, all programs are affected equally, with no room for discretion.

    As a result, the HUD programs to be affected include programs to help those who are at risk of becoming homeless, relief for Hurricane Sandy victims, and assistance to people afflicted with AIDS.

    link to tv.msnbc.com

  2. Take the meds every day. It’s very important.

    Remember kids, liberalism is a mental disorder. Get help early.

  3. buy a house with that money, rent it out, save that money, buy more houses,

    p o p

    reason I was really wanting to go (to straighten out the nonsensical lawl that has prevaded the patent system

    LOL – you might find it not so nonsensical after all – kind of goes hand in hand with that logic 9and reading comprehension) thing you got going on.

  4. Mostly because of the people all the time telling me not too, the $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$
    $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$
    $$$$$$$$$$$$$$
    required and the fact that the reason I was really wanting to go (to straighten out the nonsensical lawl that has prevaded the patent system these last 20 years) is now evaporating slowly but surely as the law gets straightened out. But also because of logic games not letting me get a 170 :(

    After looking at the $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ required it always amazes me that there are many people wanting to be a patent attorney at all. The math seems to say screw it, buy a house with that money, rent it out, save that money, buy more houses, and soon you’re making more by doing nothing of consequence than you would be as a partner.

  5. You’ve got it all figured out man. You should head to law school and join us out here in private practice.

    Why haven’t you?

  6. “There is no such thing as OT as a private attorney. It’s all straight time.”

    For the purposes of this discussion, let’s just call over 40 hours OT. Regardless of if you’re paid more or not.

    “For example, you get 2k to write an Office action response, get it approved and file it. At 250, that’s 8 hours. ”

    It takes you 8 or 4 hours to write the sht piles I read? Christ I can bang those out in like 30 minutes. Like 10 tops if I had a secretary and if we don’t count the reading of references.

    That’s interesting what you say about client developement, which I take to mean that you’re just trying to encourage people to file a patent or use you in some other manner in prosecution. But, after I have an established record of ez allowances and getting things allowed with a simple 10 minute monologue, I doubt it’ll be that big of an issue.

    “(aside from billing out 2k hours at 50% actual efficiency).”

    You really should look into inventing ways to improve that efficiency. It really is pathetic.

  7. Will there be room in your sleeping bag?

    Why don’t you tell me? I gave it to you out of pity driving by and seeing you all scrunched up in the cold.

    You never did finish telling me why your mom kicked you out of the basement.

  8. If your remarks here are any indication, you have never been a fully grown adult.

    I give no sympathies to any side (see my post at 2:10 pm).

    Your rants are over the line.

    Period.

  9. thinly veiled r@c1st accusations

    LOL. Unlike you, anon, I was a fully grown adult in 2001 when some religious n-tcases from Afghanistan attacked the US and, in response, we k-lled hundreds of thousands of people, including women, children and unborn children in … Iraq. I remember it well. I also remember the cheerleading for that war. I also think it is unwise to forget that the war was pressed upon us by shameless sociopathic lxars and, yes, ignorant r-cists.

    “Why do they h-te each other? Why do Sunnis k-ll Shiites? How do they tell the difference? They all look the same to me.“ Sen. Trent Lott – (MS-R)

    But keep up the whining, anon. Please tell us more about your sympathies and respect for “the law”. I always enjoy hearing you give voice to your nuanced thoughts, even if I can only understand you a third of the time (at best).

  10. You might very well be (in the future) that guy under the I-95 bridge.

    Will there be room in your sleeping bag?

  11. General Hardboner knows some brown people that need k-llin’.

    Prof. Crouch, can I raise some type of decency veto to have such thinly veiled r@c1st accusations squelched on a patent law blog?

    Too much to ask?

    Some soapboxes should come with soap.

  12. He wants to PERSONALLY HURT WORKERS! I’m not making this up. The Right-wing actually believes this nonsense.

    That is why the wingtards are screwed and more desperate than ever to keep middle-class and poor people away from the polls where they might actually vote for policies that don’t cater to the rich.

    ”Our goal is a complete gridlock for the next two years. There is no place for bi-partisanship, compromise, only acceptable outcome is total victory and any politician that disagrees will be treated as a traitor. This is war.” – (Fmr.) Sen. Jim DeMint (R)

    Unemployed? Sick? Tough luck for you. Grover wants tax cuts for the rich and General Hardboner knows some brown people that need k-llin’.

    Remember when the worst thing ever was gays? Funny how quickly that tune changed.

  13. Wow. That is a truly remarkable paragraph. I read the original article and there is no surrounding context that makes it any better.

  14. Speaking of which, the ever-unreliable AP dishes out some classic Saud-lovin’ goodness:

    link to lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com

    Chavez invested Venezuela’s oil wealth into social programs including state-run food markets, cash benefits for poor families, free health clinics and education programs. But those gains were meager compared with the spectacular construction projects that oil riches spurred in glittering Middle Eastern cities, including the world’s tallest building in Dubai and plans for branches of the Louvre and Guggenheim museums in Abu Dhabi.

    LOL!!

  15. MM; we all just assumed you’d be on the next flight to Venezuela in order to publicly mourn with the other socialists the passing of your despot hero Hugo Chavez.

    Lord Soros is only handing out 10,000 free tickets and I missed the cut-off. Besides, like all True Americans, my favorite despots are our trusted allies in the House of Saud. *smooch*

  16. The reason Wall Street is doing so well is because the Federal Reserve’s policy of quantitative easing is creating a stock market bubble.

    Yup.

    he federal government has nearly doubled spending since the year 2000, but hey I guess we are way better off now.

    Wasn’t there a war or something a few years back? And our responsible Republican leaders told Americans that we didn’t need to figure out a way to pay for it before launching in. Of course, they told themselves that it would pay for itself in black gold. And if you’re part of the military-industrial complex, it certainly has been a wonderful time.

    And unemployment in and around Washington DC, of course, is far lower than the average elsewhere. That’s not a problem in itself but it can create a problem if the people who live in that bubble world and make the rules for the rest of us don’t “get out” and see what life is like for ordinary Americans in the rest of the country.

  17. FauxBot: an actual email that the white house sent out … saying to hurt workers as much as possible

    Let’s see it, Limpballs, Jr.

  18. Obama could have requested flexibility in administering the cuts. He would surely have gotten some.

    Why do you say this? He’s negotiating with insane —holes who sole purpose in life is to lower taxes on the rich.

    Republicans don’t care about budget cuts that affect ordinary people as long as they think they can put the blame for any ensuing pain on their “enemy.” They’ve been quite open about this.

    All they care about is installing another puppet like the great Chimperor so they can get on with their plan of selling the country to the highest bidder. And maybe starting another war so we can k-ll more brown people.

  19. By the way, if Keynes was so right, then we would be back to full employment.

    Keynes was right and that’s why the measly “stimulus” certainly did help the economy. That’s easy to see. It just wasn’t nearly enough to get us out of a devasting recession. People still don’t have money to spend, so they don’t buy things. People don’t buy things, companies don’t hire.

    We have merely propped up failed institutions and have almost replicated the same behavior before the crash by lowering interest rates and encouraging borrowing.

    Indeed. And smell the irony there: businesses need to borrow money to get started. Wait, what? B-b-b-ut borrowing is the worst thing ever! That’s why in the middle of a historic recession we have to worry about a deficit and instead of putting people back to work we need to punish them. Meanwhile, the rich gets richer.

  20. Another example of why you have NO business in private industry. You’re just not smart enough to feed yourself without the aid of the government.

  21. Can you do that from the jump? I like where I live and don’t want to move my family.

    I’ve read about it, but I can’t get a straight answer on that from the PTO.

  22. 1. There is no such thing as OT as a private attorney. It’s all straight time.

    2. Fixed fees. Large entities tell you what they’ll pay for a service. A firm tells you your billing rate. For example, you get 2k to write an Office action response, get it approved and file it. At 250, that’s 8 hours. It takes 2hrs of going back and forth to get approved and filed, and a partner writes down an hour for review at 500. So, you get 4 hours to read the application, Office action, references, come up with an argument, make the amendments, and actually write up the response. It takes 8-12 to do a response right, maybe more depending on the length of the application, claims, references, etc. and how many rules the Examiner misapplied in the Office action. So you work 10-14 hours and get credit for 4. I’ll leave the rest of the math to do.

    3. Client development. If you ever want to make more than 1/3 of what you bill out, which is necessary as we don’t have paid benefits like you do, then you MUST get clients. This is all that matters in your world (aside from billing out 2k hours at 50% actual efficiency). You view this as the holy grail to increasing your realization (amount of money paid TO YOU for hours worked) and ever making headway on your student loans and household necessities. This takes a ton of time. I average probably 10 hours a week on this not including things like talking to people at my kids events and such.

  23. 20 years or so is way too small of a time period for such a major thing to happen in.

    Do you know how long the effort has been going on?

    Do you really need someone to connect the dots for you?

  24. And whatever on earth makes you think that anyone in our government would want to go with the “lowest cost provider”?

    That can’t be a serious question.

  25. I do have one question for you lawlyers that apparently just can’t find a place to practice lawl and have a decent life outside of it.

    Why is it soooo hard to make that 40 hours of work be what you do? All the attorneys I try to call are usually only there like 8-5, 9-5, 9-6. What’s the deal and why are you guys having to work OT every single day?

  26. “Where do you think the drive for “world patents” is going to place you?”

    There will be no “world patent” before I retire if I stay here all my career. 20 years or so is way too small of a time period for such a major thing to happen in.

    “Lowest cost provider will not be the POPA people.”

    And whatever on earth makes you think that anyone in our government would want to go with the “lowest cost provider”?

    You’re such a tar d I don’t even know why I bother typing this.

  27. Softiewaftie nonsense will always need better things to run on tar d. Chances I am replaced by softiewaftie nonsense = 0. Because even if it could occur, it will be long after my retirement and probably death.

  28. Imagine how bitter you (the royal you) will be when (if not outsourced), you find yourself replaced by that “softiewaftie nonsense.”

  29. Screw em, let the other people in line take over then.

    LOL. Where do you think the drive for “world patents” is going to place you? Lowest cost provider will not be the POPA people. Sure, you will need someone internal to the US to initially vet for security reasons, but whole art groups – including yours – are more or less expendable.

    You might very well be (in the future) that guy under the I-95 bridge.

  30. Yup, 40 hours “exactly” here too. That would have been a pipe dream at my old firm. And when you are easily doing 160% production, there’s quite some give in that 40 hours.

  31. But then, on the other hand, since I take it your firm is based a lot on softiewaftie nonsense, serves you guys right. I hope you work 80 hour weeks every week for what you’re doing to the country.

  32. “I see people working 70 hour weeks with a line of people waiting to take their place. ”

    I must admit that is just totally preposerous if you guys are doing it on the regular. Screw em, let the other people in line take over then.

  33. “but the vast majority of weeks I do exactly 40 and then go home”

    Mind telling me which art you’re in?

  34. it’s a great plan as long as you don’t care about right and wrong.

    See my post at 2:10 pm.

  35. I don’t know about smart, but he’s certainly cynical and devious.

    I admit, it’s a great plan. He gives free stuff while blaming the republicans for everything bad he does. He knows the media will follow his lead without question, even to their own detriment. The only risk is that they won’t. But they even just trashed Bob Woodward at his request. It’s in the bag. So, given that fact, it’s a great plan as long as you don’t care about right and wrong.

  36. You know there’s actually a memo right? Like an actual email that the white house sent out warning appointees not to contradict the party line and saying to hurt workers as much as possible, right?

    The republicans aren’t making it up; you’re refusing to believe what the administration is telling the management of our institutions. This isn’t party stuff, this is you refusing to believe that reality is real.

  37. I thought Obama’s plan to get votes was to give people free stuff. Now you’re saying his plan is to hurt them and get them to blame Republicans?

    You gotta admit, the dude is smart.

  38. He is, but not because he hates them. Because he wants the public to blame republicans for the pain, and give the house back to the dems in 2014.

  39. Right wing…
    Left wing…
    Republican…
    Democrat…
    Libertarian…

    What really is nonsense is acting like their really is any fundamental difference – they are all politicians. Period.

  40. Gosh, MM; we all just assumed you’d be on the next flight to Venezuela in order to publicly mourn with the other socialists the passing of your despot hero Hugo Chavez.

  41. Are you really that ignorant? Republicans do not argue that Obama is maximizing the pain of the sequester because he is a “big Kenyan meanie who hates America.

    and yet earlier in the thread someone said:

    Granted, the administration is doing its best to hurt workers personally…

    He wants to PERSONALLY HURT WORKERS! I’m not making this up. The Right-wing actually believes this nonsense.

  42. Are you really that ignorant? Republicans do not argue that Obama is maximizing the pain of the sequester because he is a “big Kenyan meanie who hates America.” Rather, Obama is maximzing the pain of the sequester because he hopes that doing so will help democrats win the house in 2014. Obama could have requested flexibility in administering the cuts. He would surely have gotten some. Instead, he demanded to abolish the cuts and further raise taxes. He knew he wouldn’t get that, but it is all part of his 2014 strategy.

  43. 6 I am one of those “creatures” and you’re out of your mind if you think working at the PTO is the same amount of work as working at a firm. The most hours I’ve worked in a single week here in the PTO is 60, but the vast majority of weeks I do exactly 40 and then go home. I can’t recall a single week in private practice where I only worked 40 hours. That’s not even considering all the paid vacation and holidays. Just look at today, a snow day. That’s 8 hours of othertime today that I wouldn’t dream of back in firm life.

    I know a large number of attorneys turned examiners here at the office and we’re all doing it for the better life and not much worse total compensation. We did the math: primary examiner pay + TSP matching + pension + health care, etc. For me I’d have to make equity partner in my old firm to justify the loss of free time, and even then I wasn’t sure that giving up the time with my kids was worth it. Looking back I’m glad I didn’t trade the time with my kids for the chance of making partner.

    Now I’m off to enjoy the rest of my snow day.

  44. What do you mean by that? Are they sending export controlled subject matter to India for drafting as patent applications? If so, they’re gonna find themselves in a world of hurt. I’m having a hard time believing that any reputable company would risk sending export controlled subject matter to India simply to save money on drafting costs.

    Of course there is no issue with sending non-export controlled subject matter to India for drafting purposes. Personally, I review a lot of applications drafted in India, and while some are terrible, they’re no more terrible than some of the terrible apps I see drafted by outside counsel. There is a quality gap overall, to be sure, but it’s not that big of a gap as it was 10 years ago, and while the gap may never be fully closed, the decision has been made to continue outsourcing the drafting of apps when it makes sense.

  45. And I assume that a foreign filing license or the like was obtained before the technical information left the US

  46. And, 6, for example in drafting figures, many of the companies I deal with now use India. Some of the companies I deal with openingly or secretly use India for prosecution.

  47. By the way, if Keynes was so right, then we would be back to full employment.

    lolololo, last time I checked, the economy was picking up steam and most professional economists thought the stimulus spending should have been greater.

    The Republican leadership knows their sequester plan is going to suck. That’s why they’re already putting out these absurd excuses on talk radio to explain why spending cuts won’t unleash the free market and create a torrent of private sector growth.

  48. 6, I see people working 70 hour weeks with a line of people waiting to take their place. I see managing partners upping their salaries as much as they can get away with. I see clerical staff being laid off. I am sure the PTO has added some heat, but believe me it is nothing like it is in the real world.

    The problem is the labor market. Their are lines of people who will take your place. And, India is starting to get some real traction in taking away prosecution business. On the plus side, China is starting to care about patents. Now, antis (aka liars and thieves), China is doing this to try and build innovation in their country like Korea did. You antis can fabricate all the smoke you want, but that is the reality of the situation.

    Just filthy that we have to deal with outright liars who knowing make false statements. Yes, Lemley and Stern that is you.

  49. Keynes himself said that that his idea had very small limits. He said that it should only be used to smooth small dips, and that it would fail if used in the wrong circumstances. We now include stimulus in baseline budgets for the following year. I’m guessing that’s way, way, way beyond Keynes’ “small dip” limitations.

    Round 2 will be here soon. We have the student loan bubble, and housing prices going back up despite rising inflation and falling wages…. who’s buying those houses exactly? And more importantly, with what?

  50. Interesting how it is the Republicans that painted themselves into this corner when it was the President who offered the sequester in order to get the debt ceiling raised, and then signed the bill himself. By the way, if Keynes was so right, then we would be back to full employment. However, Keynesianism fails to take into account how government spending affects economic output when the government’s debt/GDP ratio nears 1. Our real problem is that we have failed to correct the underlying fundamentals that created the financial crisis in the first place. We have merely propped up failed institutions and have almost replicated the same behavior before the crash by lowering interest rates and encouraging borrowing. Further, risk taking has not been curbed because of the moral hazard created by too big to fail and the revolving door between Washington and Wall Street.

  51. You’re joking right? The sequester isn’t an actual cut, it is a decrease in the rate of increase in yearly spending. Make no mistake the federal government will be spending more money next year than it did this year. Aside from that, the federal government has nearly doubled spending since the year 2000, but hey I guess we are way better off now. The reason Wall Street is doing so well is because the Federal Reserve’s policy of quantitative easing is creating a stock market bubble.

  52. Doesn’t make a lick of sense, but if Malcolm & Co. parrot it out often enough, the rank and file will buy it.

    We see that a lot around here.

  53. I’m simply presuming that if they’re going to make cuts to entitlements then they will make cuts to the more questionable areas first.

    But if not, meh, that’s ok too. If the government is stu pid enough to not spend what money it is going to spend well then there is little I as one person can do about it.

  54. Granted, the administration is doing its best to hurt workers personally…

    You can expect to see this talking point parroted out a lot in the coming months. The Republicans have painted themselves in a corner with the sequester: for decades they’ve argued that slashing big gov’t spending will produce a cascade of wealth. Now they’ve got what they want, but the party leaders know full well that Keynes was right and the sequester is going to suck for the lower/middle classes.

    So they’re going to have to explain why their clever plan didn’t work, and the best they’ve got is that Obama just wants to hurt people because he’s a big Kenyan meanie who hates America. Doesn’t make a lick of sense, but if Hannity & Co. parrot it out often enough, the rank and file will buy iy.

  55. If you actually believed this for a nanosecond, you’d have switched over to the PTO yourself.

  56. tightening up those programs to go to ones that are deserving

    That’s what you think is happening right now? Programs are being “tightened up” to prevent money from going to “undeserving” people?

    You make it sound so awesome. Where do you get your information?

  57. “6, I know attorneys who have left private practice for the reduced work loads and increased total hourly compensation of the PTO. Why do you think that is?”

    I actually met one of these creatures last thurs. When he got here he didn’t actually seem to think it was necessarily less work. Which I thought was funny because he was like a 7 and he was an older guy that must have been an experienced attorney. He was a bit bellyaching about how the touted PTO work/life balance is a hoot. All said and done though he was kind of glad to be here because it wasn’t all constantly last minute filings.

  58. 6, I know attorneys who have left private practice for the reduced work loads and increased total hourly compensation of the PTO. Why do you think that is?

    Trust me, stay where you are; you want no part of the real world out here.

  59. Plus, the PTO has actual production requirements like out here in the real world, unlike most government divisions.

  60. Well, it would if it weren’t for the fact that their “points” are already up, and their salaries are already down.

  61. LOL. I’m not bagging on examiners because they do an important consitutionally mandated function, but that perfectly describes how blinded most government workers are to the real world at this point. We’ve been living the cuts, increased production requirements, etc. for 5 years now, and they’re whining about the office party budgets being not cut, but reduced. Granted, the administration is doing its best to hurt workers personally, but it’ll get back to normal once everyone realizes what’s going on and demands that the administration’s temper tantrum end.

  62. In all honesty MM, these people that get entitlements, surely some are deserving, some are simply not trying to give making dollas a go. And frankly, tightening up those programs to go to ones that are deserving is not going to affect the nation that much.

  63. In other words, the PTO is so fed over regularly that even a royal fin over of all the government agencies doesn’t even increase the amount of being fed over that the PTO is.

  64. No layoff? No reduced salaries? No upping their points? No reducing their holidays? No increasing the salary of the leaders?

    Still sounds like nirvana to me.

  65. hourly employees could receive reduced hours.

    Austerity! So awesome.

    But hey the stock market just set some record which is the Most Important Thing Ever. Yea! If we just keep ruining the lives of average people and taking away all their “entitlements” so they feel as much pain as possible, then the wise, rich people who rule us will regain their “confidence” and start creating jobs for all those people who are too lazy to file their own patent applications.

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