The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) needs more staff in order to clear a major backlog of applications, it has been claimed.
Writing for the Richmond Times Dispatch, intellectual property lawyer John B. Farmer noted that since 1992, trademark and patent application fees have been repeatedly used by Congress for other purposes.
Farmer claimed that $900 million in fees have been diverted away from the USPTO, slowing the agency’s work.
“The average time from patent application filing to the issuance of a patent or final denial of the application is more than 33 months,” Mr. Farmer stated.
“It takes on average more than 27 months to get just an initial response to an application.” He added that the office currently has a backlog of 700,000 unexamined applications to wade through.
At its current staffing levels, if no other applications were filed, it would take the office more than 22 months just to process this backlog, Mr. Farmer stated.
And because revenues have been taken away for use in other areas, the office would not have finances available to complete the task.