A group consisting of businesses, unions and academic organizations have rallied in support of a provision in the Patent Reform Bill that would allow the Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) to keep its user fees from being directed to other governmental purposes. Organizations, including Intel, Pfizer and the U.S. Steel workers signed a letter to John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) claiming that such fees are needed by the PTO to work through the large backlog of patent filings. These organizations claim that the $875 million in fees that have been redirected, prevent the office from timely processing of applications and thus equates to a tax and is thereby unconstitutional. Proponents of the provision are mostly House Republicans such as Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee who has stated that its inclusion would “eliminate the ability of Congress to perform substantive oversight of the PTO.”
The overall bill is mostly favorable to these organizations. But it is feared that if the provision is omitted, the entire bill may lose considerable political support and be killed.
Read the Entire Article by Kevin Bogardus of The Hill