By Donald Zuhn --
Earlier this month, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) issued a cost estimate for the Innovation Act (H.R. 9). The bill, which was introduced in February, was reported by the House Committee on the Judiciary in June. The CBO noted that implementing H.R. 9 would cost an estimated $3 million between 2016 and 2020. This cost estimate, however, excludes costs to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, which were separately identified in the report. The $3 million per year cost estimate would cover the preparation of several studies and reports, and administrative costs incurred by the Administrative Office of the United States Courts (AOUSC) and the Government Accountability Office (GAO). The CBO estimated that H.R. 9 would cost the USPTO about $7 million per year to implement, which would cover changes such as the development of new databases to make information about patent ownership and litigation available on the USPTO website. Because the USPTO has some fee collection authority, the CBO noted that the net budgetary effect of implementing the bill on the USPTO would not be significant.
According to the report, the CBO expects that "by requiring inventors to be more specific in pleadings to the court, awarding attorney fees to the prevailing party, and limiting discovery early in an infringement proceeding, the bill would affect the decisions of inventors to initiate lawsuits for patent infringement." The CBO indicated that H.R. 9 would impose a mandate on both public and private entities because the USPTO would charge fees to offset the costs incurred to collect and make some information related to patent ownership and litigation publicly available, as well as change administrative procedures related to patents that would result in increased patent fees. Of the $7 million per year the CBO estimates will be required to comply with this mandate, the CBO determined that less than $150,000 of the costs would accrue to public entities, with the remainder accruing to private entities.