USPTO Fees and Revenue

Three months into FY2018, the USPTO has released some budget numbers – noting that spending is currently outpacing revenue. However, the Office has an optimistic outlook and is planning for revenue to catch-up (and spending to slow down).

Several USPTO fees were modified in January 2018. I’ll note here that the America Invents Act (AIA) of 2011 substantially expanded the USPTO’s fee setting authority. However, that authority is set to sunset in September of this year (2018).

31 thoughts on “USPTO Fees and Revenue

  1. 6

    Below, in reply to Silicone Valley Girl, I provide a new contest in regards to the ongoing 101 Broken Scoreboard situation.

    To wit:

    if the tool were a shovel it would still be ineligible,”

    Prize to the first person showing a item outside of the computing arts (i.e., in the “shovel” arts or equivalent) to show an eligibility decision along the lines here that Ned is so sure of.

    – and yes, this would need be without a 102/103 rejection. Bootstrapping is not permitted for this contest.

  2. 5

    Thanks for bringing back post numbering, Dennis.

  3. 4

    If they would quit making Alice rejections they would collect more in issue fees and maintenance fees.

    1. 4.1

      That’s a horrible Ends masquerading as a Means.

      Regardless of any such effect, the ultra vires rewriting of statutory law by a branch of the government lacking that authority should be corrected for the proper reasoning.

      We do not need this type of tangent “reasoning.”

    2. 4.2

      Silly, why if course this makes sense. Stop making rejections, and just allow cases. That will get the PTO more issue and maintenance fees, which makes them happy. It will also get patent attorneys more patents which makes clients happy.

      But, there is a downside, not so?

      1. 4.2.1

        One downside is dust-kicking like the type that comes from Ned.

        There simply is no need for such.

        Rubber stamping of any kind is B A D.

        Rubber stamping “Reject Reject Reject” is B A D.
        Rubber stamping “Accept Accept Accept” is B A D.

        1. 4.2.1.1

          I like to use rubber stamps.

          1. 4.2.1.1.1

            Lol – LOTS of lazy examiners “like to.”

            That is part and parcel of the problem.

  4. 3

    MOVE, INC. v. REAL ESTATE ALLIANCE
    link to cafc.uscourts.gov

    Lourie, Wallach and Stoll, Stoll writing for the court.

    Today’s 101 case from the Federal Circuit seems to be the problem Dennis recently gave his students and posted here for our amusement. It involves claims to a method for identifying real estate information using a computer-displayed map . Real estate information stored in a database is associated with a location on the map. When the user zones in on a particular area the map, the “available” real estate that is within locus identified on the map is “identified” in the database – but there is no active display required.

    Of course, the Federal Circuit affirmed the lower court bases because the computer was being used as a tool.

    Setting aside the conclusory nature of REAL’s expert
    declaration, the focus of claim 1 is not on any technological
    advancement but rather on the performance of an
    abstract idea “for which computers are invoked merely as
    a tool.” See Enfish, LLC v. Microsoft Corp., 822 F.3d
    1327, 1336 (Fed. Cir. 2016). Instead of focusing on the
    technical implementation details of the zooming functionality,
    for example, claim 1 recites nothing more than the
    result of the zoom. Such claims are drawn to an abstract
    idea because they “claim[] the function of [the abstract
    idea], not a particular way of performing that function.”
    Affinity Labs, 838 F.3d at 1258 (“There is nothing in claim
    1 that is directed to how to implement [the abstract idea].
    Rather, the claim is drawn to the idea itself.”).

    Claim 1 focuses not on a technological improvement, but rather on a method of
    searching for real estate using a computer.

    1. 3.1

      “the performance of an abstract idea”

      This is just surreal nonsense. Stoll was selected by Google (highly likely) and agreed to get patents under control in exchange for her appointment (highly likely).

      1. 3.1.1

        Stoll was selected by Google (highly likely) and agreed to get patents under control in exchange for her appointment (highly likely).

        Also highly likely that green aliens abducted your mind.

        1. 3.1.1.1

          Or highly likely that a green alien abducted every comment thread on this blog.

      2. 3.1.2

        That really is an oxymoron clause. “Performance of an abstract idea.”

        Plus, what about the ladders of abstraction?

    2. 3.2

      So if the tool were a shovel instead of a computer, would this be patent eligible subject matter?

      Where in the statute does it says that computers are tools that should be treated differently than other tools?

      Oh wait; it is not in the statute but rather in the pronouncements of judges who are appointed and not elected. Bravo for democracy!

      1. 3.2.1

        Wouldn’t computers ALWAYS be invoked merely as a tool? That’s what they are – tools.

        1. 3.2.1.1

          Point in fact, PatentBob, the “broken scoreboard” has resulted in a clear item falling within statutory categories being singled out for what amounts to be “call it a witch.”

      2. 3.2.2

        Silly, using a tool does not make an improved tool. It makes no difference whether the tool is a computer or a shovel or a toothbrush when the question is whether the tool is improved.

        1. 3.2.2.1

          Except that’s not the law. 35 USC 100(b).

          1. 3.2.2.1.1

            Exactly, Bguy – as has been pointed out to Ned countless times (and that’s EVEN IF you want to presume that the inherency doctrine applies and that you do not have to FIRST change the machine with the addition [and re-configuration] of that machine with software).

            Ned strikes out in either case.

            If Ned wants to NOT have an improvement, then let him have the machine without any software.

            He won’t have his additional utility. He will merely have a paperweight (or heat sink). He also won’t have the innovation – as claimed.

            You know what else he will not have? inte11ectual honesty.

          2. 3.2.2.1.2

            Big guy, I said, “… when the question is whether the tool is improved.” I think my statement is accurate in the context of the caveat. You want to change the question. However, it appears that the question of whether a new use of an old tool that does not produce a result different in kind has already been answered by the courts; but you are welcome to take your theories to court and test them if you would like. Until then the law is different than what you think it is.

            1. 3.2.2.1.2.1

              Until then the law is different than what you think it is.

              A bold statement coming from someone who portrays the law incorrectly in order to advance his own Windmill Hunts.

              Your “context of the caveat’ translates into purposeful obfuscation and spin in order to NOT be inte11ectually honest concerning exactly what software is and how you must FIRST change a machine by reconfiguring that machine with the addition of the machine component of software BEFORE you can “just use the machine.”

              Until YOU are inte11ectually honest about this – none of your posts matter much at all.

              1. 3.2.2.1.2.1.1

                anon, “A bold statement coming from someone who portrays the law incorrectly in order to advance his own Windmill Hunts.”

                We will let the reader figure out who is guilty of pursuing lost causes.

                1. We do NOT have to let the readers figure out who is inte11ectually dishonest.

                  Clearly, that would be you.

                  Maybe instead of celebrating broken score boards, you can take a step back and think as to WHY you are being inte11ectually dishonest.

        2. 3.2.2.2

          So you are saying that if the tool were a shovel it would still be ineligible, correct?

          1. 3.2.2.2.1

            Absolutely, Silly. Using a tool, even a shovel, does not make an improved tool. A new use of an existing tool, a shovel, can be patented as a process provided, of course, that that new use be at least different in kind, and the use itself be otherwise directed to a patentable process, i.e., producing a new or improved manufacture, machine or composition.

            Considered a CD-ROM. It encodes data that in be read by lasers. Whether the data is a computer file, or music, the CD-ROM is still being used to encode data. The use of the CD-ROM is not changed if the music is changed because the essential character of the use of the CD-ROM has not changed. It remains that it encodes data.

            Now suppose the quality of the surface of an encoded CD-ROM is discovered to filter unwanted rays from the sun so that it and enhances the growth of a particular kind of crop while retarding the growth of weeds. Now that kind of use would, I believe, be a new kind of use that would support eligibility.

            1. 3.2.2.2.1.1

              Seems like you want to (but do not actually get there) use the inherency doctrine of patent law.

              Well Ned – we BOTH know why you obfuscate on that point.

              Without the changing of a computing device by adding software and reconfiguring the device with the software, the computing device simply CAN NOT BE “just used.”

              Try as you may to obfuscate with NON-Useful Arts items, the fact remains that the exceptions to the judicial doctrine of Printed Matter are NOT what you pretend them to be.

              One does NOT need to go to your “quality of the surface” example to understand the difference between software (new utility) and “music”** plays out for patent eligibility.

              ** – or any other of the vapid Fine Art types of obfuscating examples that pedants so often attempt to interject into the discussion.

            2. 3.2.2.2.1.2

              that kind of use

              This would be directly analogous to requiring a NEW KIND of configuring force between protons, neutrons and electrons in order to make patent eligible any configurations of protons, neutrons and electrons.

              There is simply NO such requirement in patent law.

          2. 3.2.2.2.2

            f the tool were a shovel it would still be ineligible,

            Prize to the first person showing a item outside of the computing arts (i.e., in the “shovel” arts or equivalent) to show an eligibility decision along the lines here that Ned is so sure of.

            – and yes, this would need be without a 102/103 rejection. Bootstrapping is not permitted for this contest.

  5. 2

    Do we know how these numbers compare with past years? Is spending up or flat? Is revenue down or flat? Difficult to make sense of the data without some context.

    There’s a wealth of information here at uspto.gov, but with a five-minute casual review, I couldn’t find metrics that were clearly comparable.

    1. 2.1

      I think that spending has typically been below collections (which prompts the ‘piggybank’ raiding and innovator tax complaints).

  6. 1

    the America Invents Act (AIA) of 2011 substantially expanded the USPTO’s fee setting authority

    with caveats (to which, I usually note that the supporting details are typically located in the “clear sunshine” that the former SAWS program [and its current admitted “many like programs”] enjoy).

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