This is a subscriber-only article. Join Entrepreneur+ today for access

Learn More

Already have an account?

Sign in
Entrepreneur Plus - Short White
For Subscribers

Patent Lather Inventors are hit hard as Clinton proposes to take $92 million from the Patent Office.

By Janean Chun

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

In a material and psychological blow to inventors, PresidentClinton recently proposed to take $92 million out of the U.S.Patent and Trademark Office's (PTO) surcharge income of $119million. Many believe the budget cut will result in delays inpatent approvals and an increase in the fees charged to maintainpatents over a 20-year period.

This reappropriation of funds will hamper automation efforts,contends Lisa-Joy Zgorski of the PTO, who says, "It'sclear that, in the face of these cuts, patent pendency willincrease."

And yet the damage comes not just in the injury but also in theinsult. In 1991, Congress set up the PTO to be a self-supportinggovernment agency and raised patent application fees by 69 percentto cover operating costs and improve services for inventors. Overthe past few years, however, inventors have watched as theoffice's so-called surplus funds have been diverted to CommerceState Justice programs or used by Congress in an attempt to balancethe federal budget. "These problems should be funded bytaxpayers' money," says Robert Lougher, founder of theInventors Awareness Group in Westfield, Massachusetts. "Butthey're financed by a small segment of our society: theinventor."

The rest of this article is locked.

Join Entrepreneur+ today for access.

Subscribe Now

Already have an account? Sign In