BIO Leads Coalition In Support Of Full Funding Of U.S. Patent Office

WASHINGTON, D.C. (April 14, 2000) The BiotechnologyIndustry Organization (BIO) has put together a coalition of entrepreneurial associations to support full funding of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO).

"Nearly half a billion dollars of fees paid by applicants to the PTOhave been diverted to non-PTO purposes over the past ten years," said Chuck Ludlam, BIO's vice president for government relations, "and it has undermined the ability of this vital agency to provide services to inventors.

"Our coalition -- called the Twenty-First Century IntellectualProperty Coalition -- seeks to end this diversion and empower the PTO to retain these fees to fund services to inventors," Ludlam said. "There is no possible rationale for diverting the fee revenue for any other purpose."

The coalition has sent a letter to all members of Congress, endorsing H.R. 4034, the Patent and Trademark Office Reauthorization Act, which would end the fee revenue diversion. The bill has been forwarded to the full House Judiciary Committee by the Subcommittee on Courts and Intellectual Property. Attached to the coalition's letter was a detailed analysis of the fee revenue diversion and the adverse impact on the PTO.

Copies of the coalition letter and background analysis of the fee revenue diversion are available from BIO.

In addition to BIO, the coalition members includes the AerospaceIndustries Association, Alliance for American Innovation, American Intellectual Property Law Association, American Bar Association, American Electronics Association, The Association for Manufacturing Technology, Business Software Alliance, Computing Technology Industry Association, Information Technology Association of America, Information Technology Industry Council, Intellectual Property Owners Association, International Trademark Association, National Association of Manufacturers and the Software & Information Industry Association.

"We believe the PTO is an agency that is critical to the entireentrepreneurial sector and our nation's continued economic growth," Ludlam said. "For our industry, the PTO is now implementing the landmark patent reform legislation, which will restore tens of thousands of years of lost patent term. It also is finalizing the guidelines for patenting gene sequences. The PTO needs to retain the fee revenue to fund these and many other vital projects," Ludlam said.

BIO represents more than 900 companies, academic institutions and state biotech centers in 47 states and 26 nations. BIO members are involved in the research and development of health-care, agricultural, industrial and environmental biotechnology products.