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June 19, 2008

Comments

I haven't read the proposed fee increases yet, but I assume there is no provision for refunding the search and/or examination fee when the search or examination isn't performed on time. I wonder if you or any of your readers have any statistics on how frequently this occurs with PCT application for which the US is the RO or ISA - from my own experience, it's fairly frequent, but I can't provide numbers. I don't see a reason to increase a fee for a service that will not be performed on time, or may even performed so late as to be useless (such as a WOISA issued at 29.9 months or an IPRP issued after 30 months). Also, any idea how the PTO calculates its cost? Does this tell us how much time is allocated to PCT searches, or just how much it costs to outsource PCT searches? If the PTO were willing to suck up and refund the money when PCT services aren't timely provided, the proposed fee increases would be much more palatable.

The extra fees for the service not performed can be used to fund illegal "new rules" and other Dudas adventures.
Dudas collects these fees today, and by the time the 3rd-world-quality outsorcing search firm gets around to actually doing the work (and late at that) Dudas will be loooong gone, at a cushy job at one of the CPF firms.

Dear Circuitous-
You raise a valid question (to me, at least). In fact, I just filed a US National Phase today off of a PCT that did not yet have the ISR/IPER performed/completed, so I could not file it with the application. In a strange twist (but a bit of a fiscal windfall for the PTO), I think it cost the Applicant "extra" to file this application, as the fee for filing without a search report is more than filing with a search report.

The Federal Register Notice refers to estimated average costs for the searching and ISR/IPER preparation as well as initial processing, but does not get too detailed. It has to be based on the general amount of time PTO personnel spend on searching and related database costs (I don't think they outsource completely (yet)).

In any case, I do not think that the PCT Rules provide explicitly for a fee refund if a ISR/IPER is not timely completed. Many of the administrative procedures are left to the discretion of the individual Receiving Offices (i.e., their national rules). Last I checked, the CFR wasn't too chock-full of refund options. -- It looks like anonymous Agent has a working theory...

Thanks for the comments.

Chris

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