By Dennis Crouch
H.R.3547 – Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2014 will soon become law, only 3 ½ months into the fiscal year being budgeted. The new compromise budget offers $3,024,000,000 (three billion dollars) to the USPTO for FY2014 (that started October 2013) and that will “remain available until expended” provided that the USPTO cannot spend more than it collects in user fees and surcharges. In addition the PTO will be allowed to keep and later spend any receipts over the $3 billion mark. The inspector general gets $2 million to investigate and audit the agency.
If I understand the math correctly, this total figure is a significant increase over the $2.5 billion spent by the PTO in FY2013. The chart below shows the USPTO’s annual spending with the budgeted figure for FY2014 in place. The PTO handles both patent and trademark operations, although the bulk of the money is spent on patents.
The question: Will Director Lee be able to use this money to get us better examination, patents with clearer boundaries, and a significant reduction in the backlog?