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Public Statements

United States Patent and Trademark Office Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2010

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. PATRICK J. MURPHY of Pennsylvania. Mr. Speaker, I thank Chairman Mollohan. I appreciate your leadership on this issue and allowing me to partner with you on this important piece of legislation.

Mr. Speaker, we need to continue to get our economy back on the right track, and this bill is about boosting American technology and innovation. It's about making things in America again. Right now, at an office building outside of Washington, D.C., over 1 million patent applications sit gathering dust. Hundreds of thousands have yet to be looked at for the first time. Those applications could be the next iPhone, the next Netbook, or the next Google. But the agency tasked with reviewing those applications just can't keep up. So they sit and they sit, often for years. In fact, the average time that it takes a patent to be approved is about 30 months, but when you consider that today technologies often become obsolete within 18 months or less, it is clear that a process that takes 2 1/2 years is simply too long, and it hurts our competitiveness.

Those applications at the U.S. Patent and Trade Office, or USPTO, represent the greatest this country has to offer in terms of new ideas and new technologies. They contain any number of breakthroughs that could help to propel our economy out of the recession, expand small businesses, and create new jobs. And they could be the key to helping our Nation maintain its technological edge globally. Patent activity among our biggest competitors like China, India, and South Korea have shown exponential growth, but this bill is one step in providing the USPTO the resources necessary to keep pace with the flow of innovation and ensure American businesses and workers can compete globally. And it is fully offset with a reduction in spending for the U.S. Census Bureau.

We need to make sure that the USPTO can hire the necessary patent examiners, install up-to-date information technology, and make other operational changes necessary to get at this backlog. This is an issue that's of critical importance for our economy and the job market. I encourage my colleagues to join me in supporting this commonsense and paid-for legislation. I know the manufacturers in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and across our country care about it.

I want to thank, again, the leadership of Chairman Mollohan.


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