Changes & Funding Head to USPTO

With the imminent enactment of the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (AIA) into law, the USPTO is preparing for a much needed  infusion of funding. Immediate funding relief comes by way of the 15% surcharge to patent fees included in the legislation. (See H.R. 1249, Sec. 11 Fees for Patent Services) The 15% surcharge will be implemented 10 days after enactment, the increased cash is immediately available to the agency.

Changes you will notice in the weeks ahead:

-Hiring, the USPTO is currently seeking Administrative Patent Judges (APJs) across all technologies.

-Additional patent examiner hires are expected in October.

-Examiner overtime was re-established yesterday (just in time for the end of fiscal year 2011).

-Prioritized examination, and other Office initiatives suspended/postponed back in April are expected to resume.

As to implementation of the AIA, the Office has been hard at work formulating rules for comment. The Office is scheduled to begin publishing the rules for comment in early to mid-December. Currently, the Office is working with the ABA, IPO and AIPLA on issue spotting to enhance the quality of the issued rule sets as there is little time for “town hall” or round table style meetings.