Patents, Copyrights a Bargain-For Now
From basement workbenches to national labs, creative minds are constantly developing what they hope will prove popular and useful products. With a patent, these inventors can establish a right to profits from the commercialization of their innovations. A congressional audit now reports that fees to cover the costs of processing U.S. patent claims are generally not commensurate with the services an inventor receives. Its recommendation: Raise those fees.
The Patent and Trademark Office, which is supposed to be economically self-sustaining, is not running in the red yet. Trademark processing fees "appear to be aligned with costs," according to a new report by the General Accounting Office (GAO), an investigatory arm of Congress. Many of the 139 types of patent fees, however, are not in line with the expenses.
Evaluation of the material filed by an inventor accounts for about 90 percent of a patent's costs, the GAO notes. Yet owing to the agency's fee structure, it brings in only 19 percent of the revenues. …