Letter to House supporting H.R. 1561, the United States Patent and Trademark Fee Modernization Act of 2003
February 11, 2004
TO MEMBERS OF THE U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES:
On behalf of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the world's largest business federation, representing more than three million businesses of every size, sector, and region, supports H.R. 1561, the United States Patent and Trademark Fee Modernization Act of 2003. This legislation would increase application fees for new patents and trademarks in order to implement much needed reforms at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (PTO).
Patents and trademarks serve a critical role in the promotion and development of the American economy. H.R. 1561, which is scheduled for floor action today, is an essential part of private sector efforts to maintain America's role as the leader in the creation of innovative products and new technologies. If proposed reforms are not implemented at PTO, the quality of patents will continue to deteriorate, causing expensive and unnecessary litigation. Further, the time it takes to issue a patent or trademark will climb, thereby increasing uncertainty about bringing new products to the market.
Of specific interest to the business community is the issue of funding for PTO. During the past 12 years, more than $650 million has been diverted from PTO to other government programs, creating a significant strain on the efficiency and capabilities of the agency. The private sector has long signaled its willingness to bear the financial burden of reforming PTO, but only if these additional revenues are made available for PTO reforms. An increase in fees, without the full implementation of reforms, would severely undermine the innovation and efficiency of American industry.
The Chamber urges you to enact this important legislation and oppose any amendments that would weaken this reform measure. We may include any votes related to this bill in our annual How They Voted scorecard.
R. Bruce Josten
Executive Vice President, Government Affairs
U.S. Chamber of Commerce