With Congress on summer hiatus, and significant election uncertainty coming in the Fall, Patent Reform efforts are seemingly on hold (again). Still, last week, the USPTO was able to secure an additional $139 million in funding. H.R. 5874 permits the USPTO to retain $139 million in fees collected from patent applications and patent maintenance fees for fiscal year 2010 “salaries and expenses.”
Senator Leahy, a backer of S.515, in passing the new PTO funding bill took the opportunity to emphasize the importance of the this perenially pending legislation, noting that more needs to be done to modernize and improve our patent system, which is a crucial component of our economic recovery… This bill [the S. 515 manager’s amendment] will provide the legal structure we need to allow our inventors to flourish. It will improve our economy and create jobs without adding a penny to the deficit.
The concept of patent reform is increasingly popping up in the news media as of late, perhaps as a sign of the White House PR machine attempting to sell the reform legislation as an economic stimulus that does not raise taxes.
The CBS video below implies an economic impact to the PTO pendency issue. CBS Video on USPTO Pendency
Also, see the New York Times article of last week selling changes to the patent system as a form of economic stimulus (here)