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February 06, 2017

Comments

Interestingly, while the total USPTO personnel and patent applications increased, the total number of examiners decreased in the past three years.
Total USPTO personnel
12,450 (2014), 12,667 (2015), and 12,725 (2016)

Total patent applications
618,457 (2014), 618,062 (2015), and 650,411(2016)
Total UPR and Design Examiners
8,611 (2014), 8,426 (2015), and 8,351 (2016).
(Table 28: https://www.uspto.gov/sites/default/files/documents/USPTOFY16PAR.pdf?utm_campaign=subscriptioncenter&utm_content=&utm_medium=email&utm_name=&utm_source=govdelivery&utm_term=)

I would be immensely more interested in a report released by the USPTO showing the "performance and accountability" of the budget, the allocations, expenditures and importantly the generated "income" by the various fee mechanisms.

As has been noted elsewhere, the AIA provided certain additional power to the USPTO in regards to fee setting. However, that additional power came with strings of additional responsibility, notably, that fee hikes could NOT be made in a vacuum, and that the totals from fee hikes MUST balance (in a budget sense) across the entire USPTO "scoreboard."

If that scoreboard is not available - and not publicly available - what protection does the public (and more importantly, those entirely paying USPTO fees: the innovators portion of the public) have to make sure that the fee setting power remains within its proper constraints?

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