Diversion of excess USPTO fees has been a controversy for some time. (link, link, link). Almost every year, a bill is introduced to prevent appropriators from using patent fees for other purposes by requiring the PTO to refund any fee revenue that exceeds the agency’s appropriation. This year’s bill, HR 2791, has now been approved by the Judiciary Committee with broad bipartisan support.
Comment: Despite theoretical support, this bill will almost certainly be quietly killed in the back room by appropriators trying to make-up for the increasing revenue gap of the Federal Government.