Bill Heads to House Vote Today Without Strict Fee Diversion Provision

As expected, the proposed prohibition against USPTO fee diversion has been excised from H.R. 1249. In a compromise proposal reached yesterday, collected fees that exceed USPTO appropriations for a given year will be maintained in a “Patent & Trademark Fee Reserve Fund.” The excess fees would be subject to return to the agency, upon congressional approval. Unfortunately, the fees maintained in this fund would almost certainly be diverted, at least in some form, by future budget amendments.

The latest manager’s amendment can be found (here) with the fee diversion compromise at Sec. 22.  A statement of the Obama Administration’s concern on the compromise of Sec. 22  may be found (here). You can find a complete Bill summary, as well as rebuttal to the contitutionality arguments concocted by opponents. (here)

USPTO Director Kappos issued the following statement today:

I want to congratulate Judiciary Chairman Smith, Subcommittee Chairman Goodlatte and Ranking Member Watt as well as the House Leadership for their stewardship in ushering the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act onto the floor for consideration before the full House. Enactment of bi-partisan patent reform legislation would be a major step forward in transforming our patent system and improving the Nation’s competitiveness and promoting economic growth.  As the Statement of Administration Policy issued today indicates, the USPTO will need full access to all of its fees in order to carry out the mandates of this legislation effectively and perform its core mission to support America’s inventors. I look forward to continuing to work with Congress on this important matter as the bill moves toward final passage.

Floor debate of H.R. 1249 will begin at 11:30AM today, a list of amendments to be considered is found (here), the most significant being the exclusion of the firt-to-file provisions, and/or making its implementation contingent upon further study