Inventors and entrepreneurs who would like to see the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office keep the fees it collects – rather than have the agency further decimated by congressional raids on its funds – have a powerful and newly outspoken opponent.
U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) has signed a strongly worded letter to the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, objecting to a key provision in pending patent-reform legislation that would let the patent office retain those fees and spend them on rebuilding itself after years of underfunding.
More background on this issue here:
Reacting to Congress’ decision to raid another $100 million from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the agency’s director has thrown the brakes on nearly every one of its planned internal reforms, triggering new warnings that the congressional action will cause a “catastrophic” setback for American innovation, competitiveness and job creation.
“It’s a tax imposed on innovators,” said Paul Michel, recently retired chief justice of the federal court in Washington, D.C., that handles patent cases.
Because the patent office is structured to be self-supporting by charging fees without costing taxpayers a penny, Congress effectively has helped itself to funds that belong to garage entrepreneurs, start-ups and inventors, Michel said Monday.
“Instead of helping innovators by speeding the patent system, Congress is impeding innovators by taxing their innovations,” he said.
I hope more incumbents are turned out of Congress in 2014.