As a result of the 2011 budget resolved on April 15th, the United States Patent & Trademark Office has unfortunately had to tighten their belt like everyone else. With an appropriation of only $2.09 billion, some anticipated programs will have to be reduced or postponed for this fiscal year. Most notably, track one of the newly proposed Three-Track program which would bring the option of expedited patent examination for new applications, has been postponed until further notice. The new program would have given inventors whom are anxious to receive legal protection for their new ideas a means to jump ahead of more patient patentees for an additional fee. The first track was set to go in effect on May 4th of 2011.
“Given this level of spending authority, USPTO will have to make significant reductions for the current fiscal year.” said David Kappos, Director of the USPTO. “We have not come by these decisions lightly; I recognize that these measures will create new challenges for our ability to carry out our agency’s mission, but we will continue seeking innovative ways to do more with less.”
Also postponed is the opening of a new satellite office in Detroit and exploring new sites for other locations. All hiring for USPTO jobs is frozen. No new positions or current openings will be filled. The IT upgrades long since overdue are to be scaled back. Funding for Patent Cooperation Treaty outsourcing will be cut back, and all current employee training and overtime will be reduced or suspended.
A small bit of good news, Trademarks will remain unaffected by the budget cuts and will maintain normal operations.