Welcome Back Fee Diversion: USPTO Likely to Begin Sending Collected Fees back to Treasury

By Dennis Crouch

Many agencies within the Federal Government are suffering under sequestration that effectively cuts budgets by about 5% for the rest of the fiscal year. In March, I reported that the USPTO would not be forced to cut its spending because the collected fee revenues were already under budget. It seems that result is not sitting well with other federal agencies who would prefer to see more equal suffering. Under orders from the White House, it appears that the USPTO will now be forced to reduce its spending – essentially using fee revenues as the base from which to cut.

Robert Budens sent around an email raising some alarm regarding USPTO funding. Budens heads the USPTO employee union POPA. Budens writes:

About a week or so ago POPA started hearing rumors that the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) was attempting to mess with USPTO funding by requiring that our sequestration hit be taken off of our fee income rather than our appropriated budget level. I also heard that USPTO management had been put under a “gag order” not to discuss these changes until approved by OMB and Commerce. The rumors also suggested that the sequestered fees would not go into our AIA reserve fund for later availability, but would in fact, not be available for USPTO use, i.e., our fees are going to be diverted once again, barely a month after full implementation of the AIA that was supposed to prevent fee diversion!

In discussions with AIPLA, IPO and others, I learned that they had also heard such rumors and that none of us were getting any information out of USPTO management. To date and despite numerous inquiries from POPA, USPTO management has still not discussed this issue, all but confirming the gag order.

I believe other recent developments have all but confirmed those rumors and I wanted to update you because OMB’s interpretation of the impact of sequestration on the USPTO will have significant impacts.

Today, the OCIO notified its staff of an $80M cut to the OCIO budget. [DDC Note: Office of the Chief Information Officer] This will result in layoffs of a number of USPTO contractors and significant delays in the development of the Patents-End-To-End project (PE2E) and upgrades to PALM — both critical IT projects. Obviously this is not good news, but I suspect it is evidence that OMB’s sequestration decision is being implemented. And yesterday, you all should have seen the Memorandum from the ADCs regarding changes to overtime in the Examining Corps. Again, more evidence that the rumors are true.

The USPTO’s fee income is currently below projected levels. In other words, we are already operating in a sequester environment by virtue of our reduced fee income. It is incomprehensible to me why the White House would then pile on us by taking such a negative interpretation of sequester on the USPTO. This is about as short sighted as anything I can think of. Our fee income represents filed patent applications that will need to be examined. To now take away those fees while leaving the USPTO with the work to do is counterproductive.

In his letter, Budens mentions the AIA reserve fund that is now codified in 35 U.S.C. § 42. The law establishes a “Patent and Trademark Fee Reserve Fund” within the US Treasury.

If fee collections by the Patent and Trademark Office for a fiscal year exceed the amount appropriated to the Office for that fiscal year, fees collected in excess of the appropriated amount shall be deposited in the Patent and Trademark Fee Reserve Fund. To the extent and in the amounts provided in appropriations Acts, amounts in the Fund shall be made available until expended only for obligation and expenditure by the Office in accordance with paragraph.

As Budens suggests, it does not appear that this provision would be effective against the budget cuts outlined above because they are coming from either executive fiat or the cap set in the Budget Resolution – neither of which changes the amount appropriated.

Depending upon how it is calculated, the USPTO may be facing about $140 million in cuts for the remaining 5½ months of FY2013.

104 thoughts on “Welcome Back Fee Diversion: USPTO Likely to Begin Sending Collected Fees back to Treasury

  1. Whoop de do Basil – you found some quotes with the words “patent” in it.

    You still suck.
    Your views still suck.
    Your twisted perversions on how you express those views still sucks.

    Your head, sir.

  2. “What may surprise many readers, however, is that there are actually several well regarded academics [including Richard Epstein] who actually agree that the patent system fosters innovation. Yes, that is nearly heretical. ”

    Guess who? (Question: what percentage of academics belives that the patent system does not “foster innovation”? Seems to me that most “academics” are not per se opposed to a patent system, nor do they believe that patents have no role in a system which “fostering innovation”).

    “[Richard Epstein” is a professor “who really gets it”.

    Guess who believes that?a

    “the detractors of the patent system have once again had their arguments shattered by reality.”

    Guess who? (and golly but that phrasing sounds very familiar …)

  3. What does nay of this have to do with patent law, and why are you kicking up so much dust in your dissembling mode here?

    WE DONT CARE

  4. Speaking of Richard Epstein, here’s some news about another one of his fellows at the Heritage Institute:

    link to dailykos.com

    [Heritage fellow] Richwine’s two stories for Spencer’s website, AlternativeRight.com, dealt with crime rates among Hispanics in the United States. AlternativeRight.com describes itself as “dedicated to heretical perspectives on society and culture—popular, high, and otherwise—particularly those informed by radical, traditionalist, and nationalist outlooks.”

    Oops.

    And more on this pathetic conservatard “thinkless tank”:

    link to politico.com

    The Heritage Foundation has gone into damage-control mode in the last few days, after coming under fire from Republicans and conservative outside groups over a report it published that puts the price tag of immigration reform at $6.3 trillion….

    The group has also come under scrutiny after it was reported that one of the authors of the report asserted previously that white Americans have higher IQs than immigrants.

    Nice group of “intellectuals” you’ve chosen to hang with, Professor Epstein. Lotsa real serious thinkin goin on there.

  5. Niall Ferguson says John Maynard Keynes’ economic philosophy was flawed and he didn’t care about future generations because he was gay and didn’t have children.

    Wow. To his credit, Ferguson did apologize for those remarks, and it was a real apology, not one of those fake “I’m sorry if you were offended” apologies:

    link to businessinsider.com

  6. 31st July 2012 is the 100th anniversary of the birth of Milton Friedman. To celebrate this, Professors Richard Epstein, Niall Ferguson and Deepak Lal, and John Redwood MP comment on the impact of Friedman’s life and work

    Niall Ferguson and patent troll luvvah Richard Epstein take some time out from kicking the teeth of poor people to throw a little tea party in honor their hero. So cute!

    What’s Niall Ferguson up to these days?

    link to fa-mag.com

    Niall Ferguson says John Maynard Keynes’ economic philosophy was flawed and he didn’t care about future generations because he was gay and didn’t have children.

    Oy. Where do they dig these people up?

  7. The government bought me about 1500 free lunches in the 70′s and didn’t make me do a thing for it. I’m still deeply grateful. Last year’s taxes alone paid them back 25 times over. I’m just happy to be in a position to pay it – if a fraction of that can feed a hungry kid then all’s the better.

  8. Your Republican party, always thinking of the “little guys”:

    link to mediamatters.org

    “I think it would be a good idea if perhaps we had the kids work for their lunches: trash to be taken out, hallways to be swept, lawns to be mowed, make them earn it,” said Ray Canterbury, a Republican from Greenbrier and a member of the West Virginia House of Delegates, during debate over Senate Bill 663, also known as the Feed to Achieve Act.

    Where do they dig up these prime examples of human sc-m?

  9. 6, look at what the federal government did in this case. They maximized the pain to the public in order to put as much pressure on us to end their suffering.

    By suffering I mean that the poor little babies might have to take a small salary increase or not take a cost of living raise when the most Americans salaries have decreased over the last 6 years.

    Relevancy: That is what we can expect from the PTO.

  10. CNN Headline: Senate OKs a measure aimed at ending budget-related air traffic controller furloughs blamed for widespread flight delays.

    B-b-b-ut what about the d-d-d-deficit? Somehow the Republicans found a way to embrace a little bit more spending when their rich clients complained.

  11. More om

    om.

    Speaking of those who know no shame – let’s look at the prime example and leader of the little circle club: Malcolm.

  12. More om the Reinhart and Rogoff fiasco:

    I still haven’t seen where AEI “scholar” and self-proclaimed patent expert Richard Epstein has disclaimed this report, which he relied on in the past to support his plans to inflict pain on poor people. Will he ever do that, I wonder? Doubtful. These people know no shame.

  13. Strange, no posts make it through to this thread anymore–except for this one, of course, if you are seeing it.

  14. If they are exceeding their authority, perhaps someone will sue. Perhaps the coalition of companies and organizatoins that brought us the AIA?

    Is that you taking Ned (incompetence) or your third party interest?

    Why haven’t you figured it out yet that the people who brought us the AIA want the most messed up and expensive patent system possible? The AIA has brought is far less value with far more cost (and with no improvement in time). By any measure, the AIA is one massive FAIL.

  15. Every member of my family except myself works a non-union factory job, everyone of them has better Health benefits than me (I have the highest option PPO available). The health plans are not cadillac unless you mean those busted up pieces of junk people in my hometown like to cruise around it.

  16. IIRC, power behind using PTO fees for general revenue has always been the OMB, Republican or Democrat. It was my understanding that the AIA was intended to end that practice (I haven’t looked up the exact language, so I may be wrong here.) But it appears that the OMB is using this sequestration crisis to undo the work of the AIA.

    If they are exceeding their authority, perhaps someone will sue. Perhaps the coalition of companies and organizatoins that brought us the AIA?

  17. More on this developing scandal:

    link to prwatch.org

    It will come as no surprise that Reinhart and Rogoff have ties to Wall Street billionaire Pete Peterson, a big fan of their work. Peterson has been advocating cuts to Social Security and Medicare for decades in order to prevent a debt crisis he warns will spike interest rates and collapse the economy. (Peterson failed to warn of the actual crisis building on Wall Street during his time at the Blackstone Group.) …

    Reinhart, described glowingly by the New York Times as “the most influential female economist in the world,” was a Senior Fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics founded, chaired, and funded by Peterson. Reinhart is listed as participating in many Peterson Institute events, such as their 2012 fiscal summit along with Paul Ryan, Alan Simpson, and Tim Geithner, and numerous other Peterson lectures and events available on YouTube. She is married to economist and author Vincent Reinhart, who does similar work for the American Enterprise Institute, also funded by the Peterson Foundation.

    Ah yes, the American Enterprise Institute, a welcoming home to so many of the lovely neocons behind the awesome policies of George W. Bush (remember him?). Who are some other “scholars” who do “reserach” there? Oh right: Richard Epstein.

  18. So far as I’m aware they do, and indeed, I don’t think we even have a “pension” plan. It’s just savings now (that the agency matches by ~1/2 up to 5%). Some of the old timers still have their “pension” plan, but for the most part those guys are even ageing out.

    That said, if I moved back to my old hometown, I would be one rich arse mo fo in retiring based on my current savings rates (which are actually kind of absurd because I pump them up so high).

  19. Funny, 6.

    If you think that “gate receipts” at the PTO cover the entirety of the costs of operation, including things like future pension obligations and benefits, then I suggest you look at the numbers again, because they do not.

    I should say, “the bloated, unsustainable, and unjustifiable cadillac benefit plan”.

  20. Re: “the presentations they gave us on PE2E the probability of that functioning properly when scaled is next to nothing. Sorry if I don’t trust OCIO to get it right when we haven’t seen stable versions of eDan, OACS, and East in the decade they’ve been around.” – Sadly, I 100% agree with your view of the OCIO and their ability to roll out a new product that actually does what it is supposed to do and is stable. My almost-twenty years of using the USPTO IT systems support your personals views.

    Re: “I’m also curious what modern systems PS DIP is referring to that the EPO has that makes efficiency skyrocket” – The EPO uses the EPOQUE system and licenses it to other patent office like ARIPO. They would gladly license the system to the USPTO I’m sure. Other modern systems with comprehensive data coverage are (in no particular order) Minesoft PatBase, Questel Orbit, Thomson Innovation, Lexis TotalPatent. Each of these systems has been around for a long time and gone through dozens and dozens of upgrades and innovation cycles.

    To give an example of increased efficiency that would be super easy to adjust to, look at family data. There are multiple definitions of a patent family, but for examiners a common priority document and shared disclosure is a good one. Every one of the databases above groups documents by family. No more seven US Patents, five PG-Pubs, 10 EP docs, 6 JP’s, and another 4 documents from Derwent when a single representative member will suffice.

    Here’s another simplistic efficiency tool that just about everyone offers outside of the USPTO campus (including Google patents): highlighting of key words in patent image file to allow for easier column/line identification. Beats me how you’re supposed to find paragraph 156 of the detailed description when it starts with “In a preferred embodiment” just like the fifty paragraphs above and below it.

    Patent information and patent databases are really complex and hard to handle for neophytes. The difference between a continuation, continuation-in-part, and divisional means something to us but is gobbledy-gook to a computer programmer. That’s why it baffles me that the USPTO selected vendors with ZERO patent experience to develop the PE2E system.

    Side note: One of the reasons for the switch to the CPC was supposedly work sharing. When a US examiner types in B65D83/7532.cpc., they are supposed to see the same art as a European examiner typing that in. This is not the case today and I actually spoke to the CIO about this and he said that it likely never will be the case.

    Second side note: 6 – I may defend EAST in discussions with you at times, but that is because you overly bash it. Does it blow? Yes, but it also has a zero delay image presentation that is unmatched by any commercial tool which is what I need for most mechanical and medical search work. You just have to be aware of the limitations and plug the holes with other tools which are not available to rank and file examiners.

  21. “Get rid of the unsustainable and unjustifiable cadillac benefits plan that is paid for through borrowing”

    What unsustainable and unjustifiable cadillac benefit plan is that?

  22. IBP: Solution? Get rid of the term “government employment”. There is no such thing. There is only “government service”.

    Once that is recognized, rescind Kennedy’s fatal executive orders.

    Once they are rescinded, get rid of the union.

    Then enact legislation declaring government service to NOT be a “right”, overturning SC-made law.

    Then entirely repeal equal employment opportunity legislation, and hire on the basis of substantive merit, and demonstrated capability to either perform, or to learn how to perform, and evidence of good character.

    LOL. Sounds like a real popular plan, gramps.

    The current system is TOTALLY INFLEXIBLE AND UNRESPONSIVE, and is dying a tortured death while we all look away to avoid the horror show.

    Right. We need a system based on produce-or-die principles with efficiency and austerity placed above all else. What people really want to watch is this:

    link to nytimes.com

    As an elementary school principal, Leonidas Nikas is used to seeing children play, laugh and dream about the future. But recently he has seen something altogether different, something he thought was impossible in Greece: children picking through school trash cans for food; needy youngsters asking playmates for leftovers; and an 11-year-old boy, Pantelis Petrakis, bent over with hunger pains.

    But thank gob those bloated pension plans are gone. They were disgusting.

  23. Agreed. On so many levels.

    (but you are likely to receive flack from you know who about the comment “paid for through borrowing, and that is crippling…“)

  24. It’s the unions protecting their own. They see the PTO budget as “theirs”.

    More of the same.

    Solution? Get rid of the term “government employment”. There is no such thing. There is only “government service”.

    Once that is recognized, rescind Kennedy’s fatal executive orders.

    Once they are rescinded, get rid of the union.

    Then enact legislation declaring government service to NOT be a “right”, overturning SC-made law.

    Then entirely repeal equal employment opportunity legislation, and hire on the basis of substantive merit, and demonstrated capability to either perform, or to learn how to perform, and evidence of good character.

    Then put into place a system of incentives and disincentives. Reward performance, honor, integrity, and loyalty. Dismiss for incompetence. Dismiss with prejudice for dishonor, disloyalty, and lack of integrity. Sanction for malfeasance or fraud.

    Advance those who exhibit performance, honor, integrity, and loyalty, to maximize the chance of those values being propagated.

    Re-structure the entire compensation scheme. If it turns out that the PTO still costs a lot with a reasonable pay structure, MOVE IT. There is no reason it has to be where it is. Move it to a steel building somewhere outside Kansas City–cheap land, high-speed access. Overall costs, including wages especially, would decrease dramatically.

    Get rid of the unsustainable and unjustifiable cadillac benefits plan that is paid for through borrowing, and that is crippling our public, and increasingly our private, accounts.

    There is no other way. The current system is TOTALLY INFLEXIBLE AND UNRESPONSIVE, and is dying a tortured death while we all look away to avoid the horror show.

  25. “Sorry if I don’t trust OCIO to get it right when we haven’t seen stable versions of eDan, OACS, and East in the decade they’ve been around.”

    That’s because they were flawed creations that they’ve never gone back and actually fixed, they only spared the budget for tiny upgrades, not the massive overhaul that is really needed. They did this because they kept planning to make something like Pe2e but could never get the budget (hello fee diversion + backlog hiring needed)

  26. “It’s even worse if we use the $2.5 billion fees expected to be collected. 5% of that is $125 million of which the OCIO bears 64% of the burden.”

    By the by, we’re below our expected fee income for the year, by a lot I heard.

  27. “Why is the OCIO’s office bearing the brunt of the cuts?”

    Because they’re contractors. And because they have non-mission critical projects that can be cut. I can examine a patent without Pe2e but I would really like to have Pe2e and it will make me vastly, vastly, more efficient.

  28. justsaying,

    Now was that so bad that you had to go and have your little immature conniption at my invitation for effected people to give their views?

    (sheesh – funny it is that I am the one to be told to just shut up amidst the blatant crp that goes on)

  29. Well to start his back of the envelope calculations look off when he uses an average of $100,000 salary per examiner since the average examiner is not a GS-13 or higher.

    But to get to the heart of it, where would you purpose the office make the cuts? They’re cutting overtime in areas with less of a backlog of cases, and when they cut it completely last time there was a noticeable rise in the backlogs (new and rce), so that’s not a great option. Same with furloughing examiners. Since the PTO rents the office space most of the overhead is contractually obligated. Salaries+overhead is only 60% of the PTO budget. Somehow the capital improvement fund (e.g. extra IT spending on PE2E) is 38% of the entire PTO budget for FY13 (and it was 37% in FY12). This is shocking considering how little they have to show for it (at least what they’ve show the average examiner). 38% and they have a hard time keeping even the current systems up and running even for a week at a time without crashing.

    So if your objective is to not cause a spike in the backlog (or at least dampen it), pretty much the only expenses that can be cut without immediate effects to the PTO’s core purpose are IT investments like PE2E, and to cut down on the number of “red badges”, i.e. contractors.

    I’m also curious what modern systems PS DIP is referring to that the EPO has that makes efficiency skyrocket. I’m all for upgrading the IT as long as it makes the job easier, but my experience so far has shown the IT “upgrades” at the patent office have made the job more difficult and from the presentations they gave us on PE2E the probability of that functioning properly when scaled is next to nothing. Sorry if I don’t trust OCIO to get it right when we haven’t seen stable versions of eDan, OACS, and East in the decade they’ve been around.

  30. Some people like a patent law blog to be about, well, patent law.

    Prof. Crouch, when is enough enough?

    Is nobody minding the store?

    (sigh) C’est la vie.

  31. Some people like examples. Here’s notorious t–p-rty fanboy and incessant warmonger Glenn Reynolds alerting everyone to an article that is surely of great interest to Americans suffering in the middle of this recession with high unemployment and skyrocketing health care costs.

    link to pjmedia.com

    The trouble with paid sick leave.

    And guess who the author of that article is? Why it’s that awesome libertardian conservative “thinker” Richard Epstein who will never need paid sick leave himself as long he lives and as long as he keeps shoveling on behalf of his ultra-wealthy friends.

    Nobody could have predicted.

  32. Most Republicans agreed at the time that the sequestration trigger was a good thing—that it would force everyone to get together and agree to a path forward and a long-term budget deal.”

    Long-term budget deal? LOL. Future Congresses aren’t bound by the actions of this Congress.

    Yet another reason why all the deficit hand-wringing is just a Republican sideshow. They don’t care about the deficit, certainly not when there’s a Republican in the White House. They care about lowering taxes on rich people and, whenever possible, inflicting pain on anyone who isn’t perceived to be a member of their Very Special Tribe (sometimes referred to by them as “Real America”). Nothing Republicans do is inconsistent with this simple, easy to remember and transparent premise.

  33. Asking for comments from those directly affected is hardly clueless.

    justsaying – just get a clue.

    Are you related to Leopold? See my lovely red cape of “anon said?”

  34. “And I wouldn’t say that it has a particularly high number of agencies or ratio thereof compared to other NOVA areas.”

    But it does have a particularly high number of residents who are employees of the federal government.

  35. Right…because patent examiners had the “in” on where budget cuts could and should go. You are clueless.

  36. Why is the OCIO’s office bearing the brunt of the cuts?

    The PTO has a budget of $2.9 billion. 5% of that is $145 million and the OCIO bears 55% of the burden?

    It’s even worse if we use the $2.5 billion fees expected to be collected. 5% of that is $125 million of which the OCIO bears 64% of the burden.

    I appreciate the investment in manpower as much as the next guy, but the USPTO manpower is searching for patents using 1998 technology, writing up office actions with 1993 technology, and using stuff from the 1980′s quite frequently. The rest of the world (corporations and the EPO) has moved to modern systems and seen efficiency skyrocket. Maybe a little efficiency and less pure manpower would solve some of our problems.

    Back of the envelope calculations on employee costs: 8,000 examiners at $100,000 per employee plus $100,000 of benefits = $1.6 billion per year. Computers and servers start looking cheap in light of that. And that doesn’t include the additional 8,000 or so contractors wandering around with their red badges.

  37. “And then, when it was all put into legislation, it was the Republicans who passed the Budget Control Act of 2011 in the House, with 218 of them voting yes. So even if administration officials proposed it, it would have remained just a proposal if those 218 Republicans hadn’t supported it (no House Democrats backed it). Most Republicans agreed at the time that the sequestration trigger was a good thing—that it would force everyone to get together and agree to a path forward and a long-term budget deal.”

  38. I wouldn’t say that it has a particularly high number of agencies or ratio thereof compared to other NOVA areas.

    I don’t think Arlington is exceptional among NOVA areas. Rather, I suspect it’s representative. Are there any NOVA jurisdictions with an unemployment rate higher than the national average?

  39. Actually MM, if you went to Arlington you’d know pretty quickly why there is low unemployment. And I wouldn’t say that it has a particularly high number of agencies or ratio thereof compared to other NOVA areas.

  40. MLM Obama is now deliberately maximizing the pain of sequester to gain a political advantage.

    We can also rest assured that if Obama demanded that a big pile of money be dumped into Federal agencies to put poor unemployed people to work and minimize their pain, that too would be deemed by MLM to be a horrible crime committed for “political advantage”.

    The big difference being that such an idea would be quite popular except, of course, among the face-stuffing cocktail clubbers and Sunday morning TV pundits who are quite sure that other people suffering is the best thing for everybody right now.

  41. MLM Obama is now deliberately maximizing the pain of sequester to gain a political advantage.

    LOL. Maximizing the pain? I highly doubt that.

    But let’s assume what you say is true. Isn’t austerity what the Republican party has been campaigning on for years now? The deficit is the worst thing ever but we refuse to raise taxes on the people who can most afford to pay them so we need instead to take away the “entitlements” that ordinary people rely on when times are tough.* Isn’t this the Republican party line for years now (leaving out the gay/Muslim bashing and bomb-bomb-bomb-Iran nonsense, of course)? I can certainly understand a liberal like me complaining about Obama’s centrist tendencies (although I knew what I was getting) but the tactic you are accusing him of was perfected by the rich and overwhelmingly white and male folks across the aisle. There can be no mistake about that.

    *fyi, those people are surely not the people filing record numbers of applications at the USPTO!

  42. give us a break. The sequester was Obama’s idea. Obama is now deliberately maximizing the pain of sequester to gain a political advantage. You know this.

  43. Since you are the primary one

    Welcome to the Malcolm-Accuse-Others-Of-That-Which-He-Does show.

    Must warn you though: it’s on perpetual reruns.

  44. Just because you don’t like the facts, doesn’t mean you can blow them

    LOL – happens ALL THE TIME.

  45. Since you are the primary one, you would know best. Your use of “t–b-ggers” is just disingenuous and childish. Grow up.

  46. Could be worse. In the US military, you have twice as many acronyms, and they’re all twice as long.

  47. Dennis: In March, I reported that the USPTO would not be forced to cut its spending because the collected fee revenues were already under budget. It seems that result is not sitting well with other federal agencies who would prefer to see more equal suffering.

    Also, for the record:

    link to blogs.wsj.com

    The area in around DC, where a lot of “Federal agencies” and governement contractors and businesses who serve them are located, are actually doing quite well compared to nearby areas where the unemployment rates are higher than the national average. As we all know,

    link to en.wikipedia.org

    Arlington has consistently had the lowest unemployment rate of any jurisdiction in Virginia.

    link to en.wikipedia.org

    My guess is the unemployment rate in Arlington where a lot of these agencies are located is about half that in California. These cuts probably won’t amount to more than a percentage point change, if that. A lot of ordinary are suffering in this country. And it’s been that way for a while. And somehow the answer proposed by our great leaders is to make them suffer even more. Go figure.

  48. Strawman? You’re not really serious, right? Your hatred is astonishing and would be shameful to a normal person. Your use of “ultra-wealthy” as some tag on republicans is laughable (as you known the democrates have similar number of “ultra-wealthy adherants).

    Your use of homosexual slurs just shows your immaturity. You should be ashamed of yourself, but I know that shame is not something that liberals feel. But I bet your mother is ashamed of you.

    Where did I say he campaigned on the sequester? I said it was his idea. Just because you don’t like the facts, doesn’t mean you can blow them off. I feel sorry for your clients. Based on your ignorance of the facts and issues, they msut get terrible reprresentation from you. What a blowhard you are.

  49. s-ckie : MM, it’s those pesky republicans that cause all the bad problems in the US and world

    Nice strawman. My argument is that Republicans want the government to stop functioning on any number of levels, in part to cause pain to ordinary Americans (which they will blame Obama for) and in part to allow their ultra-wealthy clients who already control most of the world to step in and grab more of it. You know, “privatization” and all that freedum stuff the pasty t–b-ggers and fly-over states are always clamoring for until their “entitlements” and jobs are fl-shed down the t–let and they are made to understand that their state survives almost entirely off the fumes of other states and government subsidies.

    Maybe you’re thinking of a different Republican party. I’m thinking of the one that does what Grover Norquist tells them to do. The one that had no problem with taking the entire country hostage to achieve its goals of protecting the property of the insanely wealthy.

    it was the President that suggested the sequester

    LOL. Right. He campaigned on the sequester, didn’t he? That’s why I voted for him and that’s why I love the guy so much and praise him endlessly here. Oh wait, that’s just your strawman. Sorry.

  50. borrowing is always cheap.

    Except when it is not.

    Sorry Malcolm, but if your hanld on economics is anything like you show with your handle on patent law, I am going to have to err on the side of caution and take the exact opposite view of anything you put up.

    Chances are very very good that I will be correct in doing so.

    Thanks.

  51. Less than A year over year increase is not a cut.

    This [too] is known as Federal Government Employee language.

  52. Let some other blog handle the “truth.”

    We have enough problems with the little circle handling patent truth here.

  53. POPA has in the past filed labor complaints and/or lawsuits to try to get back pay for examiners, albeit not always successfully.

    Not included in the quote from Robert Budens’s e-mail was a note that Congress is apparently considering eliminating bonuses for federal workers. Since our performance bonuses are bound by contract, I’m sure that would invite a lawsuit from POPA (not to mention the various other far larger unions).

  54. Blah – it appears that in this case, the rumored spending cut is not mandated by sequestration but instead would be a unilateral action by the Obama Administration to spend less than the the appropriated amount.

  55. Yes, yes MM, it’s those pesky republicans that cause all the bad problems in the US and world. Why, if it wasn’t for them, we would all be living in the land of unicorns and lollipops and all would be just swell!!

    But lets ignore for the moment that the great and glorious one chose specifically how to make the sequester cuts most burdensome. And also lets forget that the budgets of all govenment agencies went up around 3-5% on average at the beginning of the fiscal 2013. Further, it’s better to forget that it was the President that suggested the sequester. We have to do that because that would get in the way of your blather and blame game. In reality, even with the sequestor cuts, real budgets in all the agencies and departments stayed the same from 2012 to 2013 (actually this is not completely true as the sequester only affects the second half of 2013). Oh how terrible it is that they have to do with less.

    So, once agian, you are just spewing ignorance and stupidity. I was slow coming to this conclusion about you (as many others on this board already have reached it much faster than I) because I believe in honest debate. But it is now apparent that you are not interested in anything honest, but rather offer nothing other than simple blather. And that’s really unfortunate.

  56. Budens: It is incomprehensible to me why the White House would then pile on us by taking such a negative interpretation of sequester on the USPTO. This is about as short sighted as anything I can think of.

    I can think of something more short-sighted: worrying about a deficit and implementing contractionary policy at a time of high unemployment when borrowing is cheap.

  57. I’ll readily admit that there certainly have been some shenanigans with the RCE/appeal shuffle, but on the whole, I like to focus on the positive progress made toward issuing valid patents. It was destructive to the business community, and it’s a lot better now. I guess that I like to take what I can get, praise the good work, and minimize the unproductive side show efforts. You get more of what you reward.

  58. …democrats, republicans, WHATEVER.

    It’s ALL politics and they are ALL to blame.

    Can we get back to patent law now?

  59. bja,

    No rewriting of history, and certainly not bashing Kappos who did make real mindset changes (you don’t remember my posts on that subject, do you?)

    At the same time, a reality check cannot be avoided when it comes to what only amounts to a re-prioritization of which work was getting done.

    No doubt it was the Office bungling and stone-walling of granting valid patents that created the mountains of backlog, but lets not kid ourselves to the deck chair movements.

  60. The gradual improvement under Kappos was CLEARLY real. EVERYTHING improved for the most part. Let’s not rewrite history here. It seems that people have already forgotten the insanity that was going on before Kappos reoriented the office from a mission of rejecting patent applications to allowing VALID patents.

  61. What EG said. This is the administration’s way of intentionally and unnecessarily messing more stuff up and pointing the blame-thrower at the republicans.

  62. You lost me at “suffering” LOL!!

    After record breaking budget expansions, they’re SUFFERING!! ha ha.

  63. Very good point, AnotherExaminer. This is why calling the AIA (the Abominable Inane Act) “reform” is such a sham. Originally, the AIA made “fee diversion” verboten, but that got “watered-down” to basically a “promise” (not a requirement) by Congress not to divert those fees if not allocated to the USPTO operation. What we’re seeing here is simply a different version of the “game-playing” that goes on with the USPTO user fee funds, only now by the Executive Branch.

  64. As usual, more spin than fact with

      hand-wringing about the “data” underlying the NPE studies that allegedly wasn’t being made available.”

    Which quite misses the point that the “hand-wringing” was with the “just trust us and our analysis absent any possibility of a neutral review.

    Now if you want to get back to talking at (since you don’t actually engage in true discussions) patent law, I might venture to put something into my stomach.

  65. (1) – good question (throw in the costs of revamping the BPAI into the PTAB, including that hiring surge, as well as the cost of training examiners on the vast set of new laws…

    (2) – not a good question. The gradual improvement was largely smoke and mirrors as the deck chairs were simply being moved to decks R, C, E, and A(ppeal).

  66. (1) Will the new satellite offices still be opening on time; or will this result in long delays for those offices? (2) Is this likely to have a substantial effect on the application backlog that was gradually improving over the last several years?

  67. In the past anytime they’ve cut overtime as they have now done they’ve also stopped hiring. My guess is that the Office will freeze hiring for at least the rest of the 2013 fiscal year.

  68. Open Question: Didn’t the law that passed set the bases of the sequester cuts as the appropriated budget? For the White House to change the bases of the cuts to the amount of fees collected, at least to me, looks like the executive intruding into congress’ budgetary powers. How does the White House have to authority to unilaterally usurp congressional powers in this matter?

  69. Can someone please clarify?

    The diversion won’t go into the reserve fund because (1) the “fee collection” is below the amount appropriated, or (2) treasury is taking a cut of the fee collection, which keeps the remaining amount below the amount appropriated?

    If (2) then 35 USC 42 would still seem to apply because whether treasury takes a 5%, 50% or 100% cut, it is taking a cut of the “fee collections.”

    Even if (1), aren’t fees supposed to be based on cost estimates? If the fee includes an arbitrary 5% cut taken by the treasury, then how could the fee be rationally based on a cost “estimate”? The fee would instead be necessarily below cost.

    On the other hand the USPTO can’t raise fees either (to recover the diversion) because then the fees would be improperly above cost.

  70. Remember the folks here hand-wringing about the “data” underlying the NPE studies that allegedly wasn’t being made available?

    I’ll be they are just beside themselves over this:

    link to nextnewdeal.net

    In 2010, economists Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff released a paper, “Growth in a Time of Debt.” Their “main result is that…median growth rates for countries with public debt over 90 percent of GDP are roughly one percent lower than otherwise; average (mean) growth rates are several percent lower.” Countries with debt-to-GDP ratios above 90 percent have a slightly negative average growth rate, in fact.

    This has been one of the most cited stats in the public debate during the Great Recession. Paul Ryan’s Path to Prosperity budget states their study “found conclusive empirical evidence that [debt] exceeding 90 percent of the economy has a significant negative effect on economic growth.” The Washington Post editorial board takes it as an economic consensus view, stating that “debt-to-GDP could keep rising — and stick dangerously near the 90 percent mark that economists regard as a threat to sustainable economic growth.”

    In a new paper, “Does High Public Debt Consistently Stifle Economic Growth? A Critique of Reinhart and Rogoff,” Thomas Herndon, Michael Ash, and Robert Pollin of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst … find that three main issues stand out. First, Reinhart and Rogoff selectively exclude years of high debt and average growth. Second, they use a debatable method to weight the countries. Third, there also appears to be a coding error that excludes high-debt and average-growth countries. All three bias in favor of their result, and without them you don’t get their controversial result.

    Nice. Meanwhile, how is all this awesome austerity working here and in the UK? When are we going to be near full employment again? Aw, who cares. Daddy Warbucks’ stocks are soooooaring, baby.

  71. Thanks, Obama (not the Republicans – this is the White House), for taking people’s money to provide a service (e.g. patent examination) and then not providing the service paid for but instead using the money to send your wife and kids to Hawaii. In the real world that goes under various names: breach of contract, Ponzi scheme, theft.

    Guess you knew something we didn’t when you recently said the patent system still needs fixing. As in, you were gonna fix it goooooood.

  72. Thank you, Republicans, for standing in the way of accomplishing anything. Yes, let’s use a manufactured and fake crisis to inflict as much pain as possible on as many people as possible.

    A functioning government could simply create more jobs. More Examiners would be great, although hardly a priority in the big scheme of things. There’s a lot of stuff that needs to be done. Infrastructure repair leaps to mind immediately. Unemployed people could be put to work doing these things. Then they would have money to spend.

    But no. People need to suffer until Daddy Warbucks gets a big juicy slice of turkey.

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