Friday, April 22, 2011

The budget and the patent office

Director Kappos's blog entry (reproduced below) explains it all.

An Update on the USPTO's FY 2011 Budget:

As you may know, the FY 2011 budget was enacted on April 15, 2011 and contains the USPTO’s appropriation through the end of this fiscal year, September 30, 2011. With the enactment of the Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act, 2011, our total spending authority for FY 2011 has been limited to $2.09 billion.

Given this level of spending authority, USPTO will have to make significant reductions for the current fiscal year.

We have not come by these decisions lightly; I recognize that these measures will create new challenges for our ability to carry out our agency’s mission, but we will continue seeking innovative ways to do more with less.

Effective immediately and until further notice:

  • Track One of the Three-Track program, which offers expedited patent examination and was scheduled to go into effect on May 4, 2011, is postponed;
  • The opening of the planned Nationwide Workforce satellite office in Detroit, as well as consideration of other possible satellite office locations, is postponed;
  • Hiring—both for new positions and backfills—is frozen;
  • IT projects will be scaled back;
  • Funding for Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) outsourcing will be substantially reduced;
  • Employee training will be reduced;
  • All overtime is suspended.

In addition, business units will be required to reduce all other non-compensation-related expenses, including travel, conferences and contracts.

Trademarks is unaffected and will maintain normal operations.

I would like to thank our entire team for their continuing cooperation and patience, and for their dedication and service during this challenging time.

Patently-O and IP Watchdog have additional details.

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