BIO Applauds House, Senate Actions To Strengthen PTO

Washington, D.C. (November 9, 2001) - The Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) applauded separate actions taken this week in the House and Senate to strengthen the U.S. Patent Office.

“The House passed a bill, H.R. 2047, that addresses the patent application backlog, the need to streamline the filing process, and the continuing under-funding of the PTO in the face of a soaring number of applications,” said Lee Rawls, BIO’s vice president for government relations.

H.R. 2047, the Patent and Trademark Office Authorization Act of 2002, has three key provisions:

  • Authorizes PTO appropriations for FY 2002 in an amount equal to PTO fees. In recent years, PTO appropriations have not kept pace with the fees collected.
  • Orders the PTO to develop over the next three years a “user friendly” electronic system for the filing and processing of patent and trademark applications.
  • Orders the PTO to develop a five-year strategic plan to increase patent and trademark quality, reduce the backlog of patent and trademark applications and develop an electronic system for all PTO processes.

In another PTO-related action, the Senate Judiciary Committee recommended approval of President Bush’s nominee to head the PTO, James Rogan. Rogan is a former House member from California who served on the Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet, and Intellectual Property.

“This is an agency that can ill-afford to be without strong, accountable leadership,” said Rawls. “Mr. Rogan is amply qualified to lead the agency through the mandates of H.R. 2047, and we urge the full Senate to confirm his nomination.”

BIO represents more than 1,000 biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers and related organizations in all 50 U.S. states and 33 other nations. BIO members are involved in the research and development of health-care, agricultural, industrial and environmental biotechnology products.

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