Author: Glenn J. McLoughlin, Section Research Manager
Traditionally, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office was funded primarily with taxpayer revenues through annual appropriations legislation. In 1980, P.L. 96-517 created within the U.S. Treasury a “Patent and Trademark Office Appropriations Account” and mandated that all fees collected be credited to this account. Subsequently, in 1982, Congress significantly increased the fees charged to customers for the application and maintenance of patents and trademarks to pay the costs associated with the administration of such activities. (Note that fee levels were established by Congress.) Funds generated by the fees were considered “offsetting collections” and made available to the USPTO on a dollar-for-dollar basis through the congressional appropriations process. Additional direct appropriations from taxpayer revenues, above the fees collected, were made to support other operating costs.