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Patent Office To Get Funding Boost Under Bush's Budget Proposal

The proposal represents a $159 million, or 8%, increase over last year's $1.916 billion Patent Office budget.
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office would receive additional funds under President George W. Bush's fiscal year 2009 budget proposal.

Bush's request would provide the Patent Office with $2.075 billion and full access to its fees for the fifth year in a row.

The proposal represents a $159 million, or 8%, increase over last year's $1.916 billion budget. It maintains the current fee structure, which allows the office to keep all of its revenues from fees.

Jon Dudas, undersecretary of commerce for intellectual property, said the request for 2009 supports the office's goals, as outlined in its five-year strategic plan. He said it would help optimize patent and trademark quality and efficiency and improve intellectual property protection domestically and abroad.

"Importantly, it provides us the resources to continue our record hiring of patent examiners and to streamline our processes to achieve maximum operational efficiency," Dudas said in a statement.

The Patent Office plans to hire an additional 1,200 patent examiners in the 2009 fiscal year and to expand telework programs. The office also hopes to improve electronic communications with applicants by encouraging them to correspond via the Internet.

Bush's request would fund IP training for foreign officials through the Patent Office's Global Intellectual Property Academy, as well as cooperative projects with international IP offices.

The request also would pay for operational changes dictated by pending patent reform bills, Dudas said. The administration supports several efforts in the House of Representatives and the Senate to promote quality patent applications, give the Patent Office the authority to adjust patent and trademark fees, and create an efficient post-grant patent review process to save litigation costs, he said. Policy makers disagree about how damages should be determined after a patent's validity is successfully challenged.

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