Sunday, July 19, 2009

USPTO hiring freeze: lifted in 2001 but what about 2009?

IPBiz notes that on July 19 someone in the vicinity of Arlington, VA [66.171.212.# (VERIZON AVENUE) ] did a search

-- us patent and trademark office hiring freeze lifted --

The first hits obtained pertained to events that happened in the year 2001:

Oversight Hearing on the United States Patent and Trademark Office dated June 7, 2001

U.S. PATENT AND TRADEMARK OFFICE OPERATIONS AND FUNDING dated June 7, 2001

That was eight years ago. Deja vu all over again? Not exactly, in 2009, we have a freeze.

From BNET on June 25, 2009:

Being underwater — or, at least, standing in line — seems to be a fact of life for the US Patent and Trademark Office, and things have only been getting worse. With current applications down, so are fees and, therefore, USPTO revenues. The agency has frozen hiring and just cut examiner overtime, meaning that patent applications will only pile up even more. Will a Senate attempt to throw a lifeline help?

From the nationaljournal on July 7, 2009:

Godici, who has been a top advisor to Birch, Stewart, Kolasch & Birch, LLP since 2005, could be a valuable asset at PTO as the agency struggles to avoid budget cuts and furloughs. The office, which is funded through fees collected from its users, recently suspended overtime pay for patent examiners and earlier this year instituted a hiring freeze. Lawmakers have introduced legislation that would let the PTO's patent division borrow money from its trademark portfolio, which has a multi-million dollar surplus. A House bill sponsored by Judiciary Chairman John Conyers is scheduled for a floor vote under suspension of the rules late Tuesday. Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy has introduced a companion measure in his chamber.

From the national journal on July 9, 2009 :

The PTO, which is funded through user fees and is faced with a lengthy patent application backlog, recently suspended overtime pay for patent examiners and earlier instituted a hiring freeze.

[The bill, on which the Senate signed off on July 17, allows the USPTO to use $70 million of its trademark budget to help the the USPTO avoid layoffs and fund its patent operations. Nothing explicit about removing the hiring freeze.]

2 Comments:

Blogger Joshua said...

Hopefully under new leadership the USPTO can stay above water and not have to cut back on much more. Patent applications are generally fairly resistant to economic downturns so hopefully the turnaround will be fast. In the meantime, the PTO and the thousands of applications will have to cope.

For more on patents, see Generalpatent.com

9:49 PM  
Blogger Kia said...

It's October 12th, 2009, I see on the USPTO website where they are recruiting and accepting applications again...they will hire atleast 1000 engineers (mostly electrical and comnputer engineering) when the freeze is finally lifted. Go to www.uspto.gov and click on "careers" then click on "events".

2:57 PM  

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