SUCCESS ACT: Study of Underrepresented Classes Chasing Engineering and Science Success

The SUCCESS ACT has been joined together with the USPTO FEES Act in the recently introduced H.R. 6758. The focus of the proposal centers around the stated Sense of Congress:

It is the sense of Congress that the United States has the responsibility to work with the private sector to close the gap in the number of patents applied for and obtained by women and minorities to harness the maximum innovative potential and continue to promote United States leadership in the global economy.

The basics of SUCCESS are buried in its acronym: Study of Underrepresented Classes Chasing Engineering and Science Success.  The proposal would order the USPTO to provide a report to congress on patents applied for and obtained: (1) by women and minorities, and (2) by small businesses owned by women and minorities.  The USPTO would also be directed to provide recommendations for promoting both patenting and entrepreneurship among these under-represented groups.

The Bill also includes the 8-year extension of USPTO Fee Setting Authority previously mentioned on Patently-O in the form of the USPTO FEES Act.

This Bill is not controversial– but nothing is easy in Congress.

Update: When I originally wrote that the bill is “not controversial” — I was thinking more about the SUCCESS portion of the Act rather than the FEES portion.  The virtually carte blanche fee authority continue to be somewhat controversial — especially for those sensitive to high fees.

6 thoughts on “SUCCESS ACT: Study of Underrepresented Classes Chasing Engineering and Science Success

  1. 4

    Seems controversial to me.

    The recommendations will no doubt be the same as they always are, kill/rob/cuck/tax/etc. etc. the evil white cis hetero christian capitalist democratic republican pieces of mail in order to get japanese people to redouble their efforts and up the number of patents they receive to help the groups (the group above vs everyone else) balance out. Frankly I don’t think anyone but the pro-japanese elitists in congress would vote for it, nor should they. The japanese are well off enough in terms of patents.

  2. 3

    1. Fees are a tax on applicants (particularly since they are not refunded when the patent franchise is revoked).

    2. Only Congress can tax, as observed by Representative Paul Ryan when he objected to the fee authority in 2011.

    3. USPTO/OMB have determined that a $720M fee increase has $0 monetary impact to the economy.

    4. USPTO/OMB have determined that fees are a “transfer payment” from one economic group to another.

    5. The first two fee increases were rammed through without notice and comment in violation of Executive Order 12866.

    6. The current fee increase violates President Trump’s Two-In-One-Out Executive Order.

    7. PTAB has run a deficit, resulting in user fees being used to both issue and revoke the same patents.

    8. The USPTO/PTAB has become a lucrative target for capture by special interests; giving them more authority is the last thing Congress should be doing.

    9. The fee increase was a classic swamp maneuver – H.R. 6758 was written on Monday, published on Tuesday, and passed without debate on Thursday; the committee was fully aware of these problems.

    link to usinventor.org

    1. 2.2

      The “fees” discussion slipped by without being fully explored.

      See: link to patentlyo.com

      Your linked article is interesting – care to provide a few speaking points here, given that some maybe too lazy (or philosophically disinclined) to follow your link?

  3. 1

    Recursive acronym, eh? Reminds me of GNU: GNU’s Not Unix (or the more esoteric Mung Until No Good).

    The proposal would order the USPTO to provide a report to congress on patents applied for and obtained: (1) by women and minorities, and (2) by small businesses owned by women and minorities.

    Hmm. Well, I support pretty much any neutral information-gathering effort, and this one specifically. (I presume that they’re going to establish a baseline, right? Like: also collect stats on patenting by all small businesses, to establish relative metrics of representation?)

    However – for small businesses, both in general and for these particular subgroups, the issue isn’t obtaining patents. Thanks to small-entity and microentity discounts and falling prep/pros rates, the USPTO’s end of things is more accessible than ever. (Getting a good patent out of the system, with fair claim scope, is another story – but we’ll put that aside for now.)

    The issue is what happens next:

    1) Enforcement is more expensive and dicey than ever. Patentees that are recognized as industry leaders, and that have virtually unlimited funds for patent assertion, cannot reliably assert their patents against competitors. What chance does a small-business owner, or even worse an individual, have to enforce their patents? Is Flash of Genius anything but a mirage? Even worse – the new fee-shifting provisions create financial risks and create a chilling effect.

    2) Patentees can’t be content to sit on their patents or use them casually; they can get dragged into post-grant / CBM / IPR.

    3) Because of the above, the market for patent licensing has cratered.

    All of this creates significant backpressure and a pretty terrible value proposition. It’s still tolerable for large, well-funded companies – those that can wait 10 years for a payout, and that can brush off $10,000 spent in maintenance fees if it doesn’t. Small businesses and individuals don’t have that luxury.

    So I hope that the survey includes a comprehensive set of follow-up questions about how these parties are using their patents.

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