Patent and Trademark Fees Need To Be Raised

CED-78-163: Published: Nov 14, 1978. Publicly Released: Nov 14, 1978.

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During fiscal year 1977, the Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) of the Department of Commerce received 109,773 patent applications and 63,886 trademark applications. The principal fees PTO charges for its patent and trademark services are prescribed by statute; in 1965, PTO user fees were set by Congress to recover about 74 percent of PTO operating costs.

Fiscal year 1977 operating costs rose by $87.5 million, and the cost recovery rate fell to 32 percent. If the recovery of costs had been the considered reasonable rate of 74 percent, an additional $37 million would have been collected from patent and trademark users. Statutory fees for individual patent and trademark services need to be increased so that a more reasonable share of PTO costs may be borne by those using its services. Some individual inventors and small business concerns may not have adequate resources so that higher fees could deter them from obtaining patents and trademarks. Congress may wish to consider lower fees for independent inventors and small businesses with limited resources.

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