Patent office fee diversion has been a thorn in the side of all the major Intellectual Property Law Associations. The associations agreed to support a major fee increase at the PTO if that fee increase was linked to an anti-diversion provision. In March 2004, the House passed HR 1561 that included both the fee increase and an anti-diversion provision. The Senate has not passed parallel legislation, and now looks likely to support the fee increase without the accompanying fiscally responsible anti-diversion provision. This change is unacceptable to the Associations.
As Congress began consideration of a 2005 omnibus appropriations bill yesterday, eight trade and professional associations including IPO wrote to House appropriators urging that any patent fee legislation include language to prevent fee diversion and that the fee increase not be limited to one year. Associations included the National Association of Manufacturers and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. For the text of the letter, click here.