President Obama released his proposed budget for 2012. The new Budget would allow the USPTO “full access to its fee collections” and for a “temporary” but major fee surcharge. The proposed budget would include a 1.4% increase in fees based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI) increase and a 15% surcharge on patent fees. The projected collections for FY2012 would jump to $2.71 billion ($2,700,000,000.00), a 16% increase of FY2011 and a 34% increase of FY2010 spending.
The 2010-2012 increase works out to a little over $100,000 extra per examiner. Examiners should not, however, expect raises.
The increased budget is intended to help cut “the average overall processing time of a patent application from 35 months to 20 months by 2015” by hiring 1,500 new patent examiners and to implement a “much-needed 21st century information technology (IT) system” for the USPTO. The proposed budget is far less than the $1 billion infusion suggested by former Chief Judge Paul Michel.