By Donald Zuhn --
Last month, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, exercising the new fee setting authority conferred upon the Office by § 10 of the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act, submitted a table of patent fee changes to the Patent Public Advisory Committee (PPAC). The proposed fee changes were submitted to the PPAC in advance of two public hearings that were held on February 15 and February 23.
AIA § 10 allows the Director to set or adjust any fee established, authorized, or charged under Title 35 (but "only to recover the aggregate estimated costs to the Office for processing, activities, services, and materials relating to patents"). Pursuant to that section, the Director must submit proposed fee changes to the PPAC not less than 45 days before publishing the proposed fees in the Federal Register, after which the PPAC shall have 30 days to deliberate, consider, and comment on the proposal as well as hold a public hearing on the proposal. (The proposed fee changes were submitted to the PPAC on February 7, so the Committee has at least until March 8 to consider the changes and the Director must wait until March 23 before publishing a notice regarding the changes.) The Director shall then consider and analyze PPAC's comments, advice, or recommendations before setting or adjusting the fee. AIA § 10 also requires that the Director provide the public with a 45-day period in which to comment on any fee change, and specifies that fee changes shall not become effective until 45 days after the final rule regarding such change is published in the Federal Register (in order to give Congress an opportunity to enact a law disapproving of the fee change).
Along with the table of proposed changes, the Office has also made the following materials available on its AIA implementation webpage:
• A 4-page letter from Director Kappos to PPAC regarding the proposed changes;
• A 34-slide executive summary of the proposed changes that was submitted to PPAC;
• An 85-slide collection of detailed appendices regarding the proposed changes that was submitted to PPAC;
• An attachment providing aggregate revenue calculations that was submitted to PPAC; and
• A 5-page memorandum from USPTO General Counsel Bernard J. Knight, Jr. regarding patent fee setting.
A listing of the twenty highest patent fees* under the Office's proposal is shown below:
As measured in dollars, the twenty patent fees* that would increase the most under the Office's proposal are as follows:
Finally, as measured by percentage, the twenty patent fees* that would increase the most under the Office's proposal are as follows:
*Patent fees for design, plant, and reissue applications were excluded.