Comments on S. 2079

B-197643: Published: Mar 5, 1980. Publicly Released: Mar 5, 1980.

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Comments were requested on S. 2079, a bill to improve the administration of the patent and trademark law by establishing the Patent and Trademark Office as an independent agency. The provisions of this bill are directed toward removing the Patent and Trademark Office from the Department of Commerce. Implicit in this proposed action is the assumption that the Patent and Trademark Office would be more effective in performing its functions if it were a separate organizational entity. Numerous problems have been identified through Commerce appropriations hearings as well as from other sources. Among these concerns are a need to increase the number of patent examiners; an increase in the time it takes to obtain a patent; and the integrity of the patent once it has been issued. It appears that many of the problems that beset the Patent and Trademark Office stem from the lack of sufficient funds. GAO maintains that the commitment to get a job done and the appropriate allocation of resources can be accomplished within an organization whether it is an independent agency or housed within a department. In light of these considerations, GAO has no basis with which to formulate a position regarding the bill.

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