U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Seeks Public Comment on Proposed Fee Decrease

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) announced in September that it is taking further steps to implement the most significant reform of the U.S. patent system in more than a century, and is asking the public for comments. 

The Office published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) in the Federal Register on Thursday, September 6, 2012, seeking public input on proposed patent fees, including reductions to fees for new procedures and programs created by the broadly bipartisan Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (AIA) that allow robust reviews of issued patents, and provides discounts to individual inventors and small businesses.

Fees are currently set by statute. The AIA directed the USPTO to set these fees on a cost-recovery basis and to seek public and stakeholder input in setting those fees, a change widely supported by businesses, entrepreneurs, and educational institutions.

The proposed fees are at least 22 percent lower for a routine patent process—i.e., filing, search, examination, publication, and issue fees—than the current fee schedule. The current proposed fees also are lower than those originally proposed by the USPTO in February 2012. The Office acted on extensive public feedback solicited in writing and at public hearings held by the Patent Public Advisory Committee in Alexandria, Virginia, and Sunnyvale, California.

With the publication of the NPRM, the USPTO opened a 60-day comment period (through November 6th, 2012) in which the public can provide input on the latest proposal. Following the comment period, the Office will prepare the final fee-setting rule, which would go into effect no less than 45 days after it is published in the Federal Register. Further information about the NPRM for proposed fees may be found at: http://www.uspto.gov/aia_implementation/Proposed_Fee_Schedule.pdf.

The proposed fees continue to keep the cost of entry into the patent system low, making it easier for innovators to acquire venture capital, begin hiring, and moving their goods and services to market. The proposed fees also will enable the USPTO to implement a discounted fee structure that provides 75% savings on many patent fees for micro entities, primarily individual inventors and small entrepreneurial ventures. Also included in the proposed fees is an expansion of the existing 50% discount for small entities.

The AIA granted the Office fee-setting authority in order to give it the ability to set fees that reflect the costs of the services it provides, while ensuring it has the financial resources needed to reduce the backlog of unreviewed patent applications, reduce patent pendency, and perform its core missions efficiently. This new authority was widely supported across the business, innovation, and education communities.

New rules and procedures mandated under the AIA went into effect on September 16, 2012, including three new administrative trial processes. Under the AIA, those reviews must be completed by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) within one year of filing. The proposed fees introduced in the NPRM reduce the cost recovery fee amounts that were effective on September 16, 2012.

The public is welcome to review and provide comments to the USPTO regarding these proposed fee schedule changes.

The AIA will hopefully restore the U.S. to its position as the global leader in intellectual property, empowering businesses large and small to enter the global market with innovative goods and services that will create U.S. jobs, increase U.S. exports, and grow the U.S. economy.

Why You Need a Professional Patent Illustrator

First time inventors often ask if they really need to hire a professional patent illustrator to draw their idea.  Hiring a certified patent illustrator is not only important to the success of your patent application, but a huge time saver…and headache deterrent for you. Career inventors and multiple patent owners agree: professional patent illustrators not only protect your design from USPTO rejection, but can often spot inconsistencies that an IP attorney might miss.

A professional patent illustrator is important because they make it their business to stay informed about current USPTO Standards for Drawings.  Those standards start with utilizing the most widely accepted drawing method: black and white line art.  Black and white drawings also known as line art must be used for patent drawing submissions.  Today’s professional patent Illustrators also use modern software to help them quickly create precise drawings that meet ink requirements while simultaneously adhering to other strict USPTO drawing standards.

For patent drawings to be accepted, they must also include:

  • Identification of the drawings: Identifying indicia should include the title of the invention, inventor’s name, and application number, or docket number (if any) if an application number has not been assigned to the application. If this information is provided, it must be placed on the front of each sheet within the top margin.
  • Graphic forms in drawings. Chemical or mathematical formulas, tables, and waveforms may be submitted as drawings and are subject to the same requirements as drawings. Each chemical or mathematical formula must be labeled as a separate figure, using brackets when necessary, to show that information is properly integrated.
  • Margins. The sheets must not contain frames around the sight (i.e., the usable surface). Each sheet must include top and left side margins of at least 2.5 cm., a right side margin of at least 1.5 cm., and a bottom margin of at least 1.0 cm., thereby leaving a sight no greater than 17.0 cm. by 26.2 cm. on DIN size A4 drawing sheets, and a sight no greater than 17.6 cm. by 24.4 cm. (6 15/16 by 9 5/8 inches) on 21.6 cm. by 27.9 cm. (8 1/2 by 11 inch) drawing sheets.
  • Views. Patent drawings must contain as many views as necessary to show the invention. They may be plan, elevation, section, or perspective views. Detail views of portions of elements, on a larger scale if necessary, may also be used. All views of the drawing must be grouped together and arranged on the sheet(s) without wasting space, preferably in an upright position, clearly separated from one another, and must not be included in the sheets containing the specifications, claims, or abstract.

There are many more specific USPTO guidelines including the arrangement of the views, scaling, symbols, and legends.  Still wondering why you might need a professional patent Illustrator?  Read the General Information Concerning Patents here, and contact Inventia Patent Drafting for help today.