The United States Patent Office (“USPTO”) faces criticism from its users and legislators that the timeliness of the patent process and ultimate quality of issued patents are inadequate. In order to address this criticism Congress made several changes to the authorities of the USPTO in the last decade and considered more changes in 2009. Nevertheless, problems persist and some stakeholders argue that reorganizing the USPTO as a government corporation would best alleviate these problems by broadening its authorities even further and releasing it from external constraints.
The USPTO had a backlog of over one million patents at the end of 2008. Given the rapid pace at which technology currently evolves, demand for patents is only likely to increase. The average time to review and issue a patent is thirty-two months. The office is unable to keep adequately educated staff even as it hires 1,200 new employees every year. The attrition rate at the USPTO is over ten percent, significantly higher than any other agency. This is particularly burdensome because the USPTO requires three to five years to train new hires.
Among the many proposals to alleviate these problems is the proposal that Congress restructure the USPTO as a government corporation. Congress considered this proposal several times in the 1990’s and the National Academy of Public Administration (“NAPA”) released a report in support of this idea. Though H.R. 400 passed in the House in 1997, the Clinton Administration favored, and Congress passed, legislation establishing the USPTO as a performance-based organization (“PBO”) instead. Proponents of structuring the USPTO as a government corporation argue that the USPTO will be better able to serve the ne...
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...ed States Patent Office, supra note 1, at 11.
Id. at 13-14.
Id. at vii.
Id. at ix-x.
Restructuring the United States Patent Office, supra note 1, at 27-28.
Id. at 11.
Id. at 24-25.
S. 610, 111th Cong. at Sect. 9(a).
S. Rep No. 111-18 Supplemental Views of Senators Coburn, Hatch, Grassley, and Kyl (2009).
Restructuring the Patent and Trademark Office, supra note 1, at 12.
See, Restructuring the Patent and Trademark Office, supra note 1, at 15-28.
Restructuring the Patent and Trademark Office, supra note 1, at 15.
Id. at 16.
Id. at 15.
Restructuring the Patent and Trademark Office, supra note1, at 15.
Id. at 19.
Incorporating the Patent and Trademark Office, supra note 12, at 32.
Restructuring the Patent and Trademark Office, supra note 1, at 20-21.
Id. at 21-23.
Id. at 15-28.
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