Congress Decides to Withhold Funds from USPTO

In a move that will effect the entire patent community, Congress has decided not to give the United States Patent and Trademark Office ("

USPTO") access to all of the funds it will collect this fiscal year. Specifically, Congress authorized Public Law 112-10, which calls for withholding approximately $85 million to $100 million from the agency. As a result, the USPTO will have to complete this fiscal year with less money than it anticipated.USPTO Director David J. Kappos broke the news to USPTO employees via email on April 21, 2011. According to the email, the USPTO will undergo major cutbacks, including freezing hiring, limiting training, and suspending overtime for USPTO employees. Additionally, the planned satellite office in Detroit and any consideration of additional satellite offices are postponed until further notice, which will set back the USPTO’s progress in reducing patent application backlog. Trademarks will be unaffected.


"I recognize that these measures will place additional burdens on your offices, your staff, and your ability to carry out the agency's mission," Kappos stated in his email, "[h]owever, I believe that they are absolutely necessary to ensuring that the agency can continue to operate through the remainder of this fiscal year and into FY 2012."