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Public Statements

Senate Votes to Protect the Diversion of Patent Fees


Location: Washington, DC

U.S. Senator Tom Coburn, M.D. (R-OK) released the following statement after the Senate defeated his amendment ending fee diversion in the patent office. Dr. Coburn's amendment, which failed by a vote of 50 to 48, would have set up a new revolving fund at the Treasury in which user fees that are paid to the Patent and Trademark Office for a patent or a trademark go directly to the business of processing patents and trademarks. Dr. Coburn's amendment ending fee diversion had already passed the Senate by a margin of 95 to 5 and was passed by the House Judiciary Committee by a vote of 32 to 3.

"It is immoral, and close to being criminal, for Congress to steal from job creators and use fees paid to process patents and trademarks for other purposes. I'm disappointed the Senate failed end fee diversion once and for all," Dr. Coburn said.

"Unfortunately, Congress has a terrible record of not keeping its word when it comes to fee diversion. Since 1992, Congress has stolen nearly $1 billion in user fees dedicated to the patent office. Fee diversion is one reason why we have nearly 750,000 patents waiting for a first review that, if approved, could help create jobs.

"Congress routinely raids funds large and small -- from Social Security to the patent fee -- to avoid making tough decisions and setting priorities. It's no wonder the American people don't trust us to address the challenges facing our nation," Dr. Coburn said.

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