Director Kappos Announces Funding Cuts Affecting USPTO Operations

April 21, 2011 – Firm News

Director Kappos announced today that the USPTO would be making some "difficult decisions" due to funding cuts reflected in the FY 2011 budget signed on April 15, 2011 by President Obama (Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act, 2011 (Pub. Law 112-10)). The Director anticipates that the USPTO may be operating at the FY 2011 level "for the foreseeable future".

Affected items noted were:

  • All overtime is suspended until further notice;
  • Hiring—both for new positions and for backfills—is frozen for the rest of the year unless an exemption is given by the Office of the Under Secretary;
  • Funding for employee training will be limited to mandatory training for the remainder of the year;
  • Funding for contracting of Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) search is significantly reduced;
  • The opening of the planned Nationwide Workforce satellite office in Detroit and any consideration of other satellite locations are postponed until further notice;
  • Only limited funding will be available for mission-critical IT capital investments;
  • The Track One expedited patent examination program, scheduled to go into effect on May 4, 2011, is postponed until further notice.

Director Kappos further indicated that Trademark operations would be unaffected.

We will continue to monitor the situation, and will keep our clients informed of further developments.