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Dr. Coburn Urges House to Reject Modified Patent Bill

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Says House version does not end fee diversion

U.S. Senator Tom Coburn, M.D. (R-OK) released the following statement today regarding the flawed patent reform bill, H.R. 1249, moving through the House of Representatives.

"For too long tomorrow's inventions have been stymied by today's incompetence in government. It is outrageous for Congress to take fees paid by Americans for a specific service and spend those dollars on other programs. Since 1992, Congress has pilfered nearly $1 billion in user fees dedicated to the Patent and Trademark Office and spent those dollars elsewhere. As a result, we have 700,000 patents waiting for a first review that, if approved, could help get our economy moving again," Dr. Coburn said.

"The Senate voted to end this egregious practice by a margin of 95 to 5 when it passed legislation this March that included an amendment I offered to end fee diversion once and for all. The House, unfortunately, decided to water down this language and allow the Appropriations Committee to control this account. Unfortunately, the Appropriations Committee has a poor record of managing such accounts responsibly and honestly in this area and others. For instance, the Appropriations Committee has stolen billions from the Crime Victims' Fund and other funds," Dr. Coburn said. "There is no reason to believe they won't continue to do the same with the patent account."

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