The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has released an initial proposal detailing how it plans to utilize its newly gained authority to set its own fees. While a number of businesses have been distressed by some of the planned fee increases, intellectual property experts insist that the ends may justify the means in the quest to improve patent quality.
Patent management teams around the country have been crunching the numbers contained in the USPTO fee change proposal in an effort to determine exactly what the legislation could mean for their operations. According to an independent analysis conducted by Bloomberg Government, large companies would pay approximately 47 percent more to apply for and register a patent.
But despite increased sensitivity to price changes in a time of economic uncertainties, some IP analysts are taking the agency at its word and acknowledging that such fees will be necessary to increase USPTO hiring and pare down a massive national patent backlog.
"There should be no question that now is the right time to have a discussion about the benefits of investing in further improvements in patent quality and the potential costs of delaying that investment," explained Microsoft patent attorney Horacio Gutierrez in a recent company blog post.
According to PatentlyO, the forthcoming debate could help the patent community face vital questions such as the importance of maintaining a reserve fund for three-month's worth of USPTO operating expenses and for establishing transparency and accountability for internal investments.