House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet Subcommittee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) released the following statements in advance of next week’s hearing.

Chairman Goodlatte: “The intellectual property industry in America is a major driving force and job-creating engine of our economy. We must do all we can to ensure that this vital sector of our economy is protected and able to flourish.  Next week’s oversight hearing is critical to ensuring that the USPTO is held accountable and that it is doing everything within its power to protect America’s intellectual property.

“I am extremely concerned about the recent Inspector General’s report that indicates time and attendance fraud is still a serious problem at the Patent and Trademark Office.  The amount of wasted man-hours that could have been spent reducing the patent backlog is astounding, not to mention the millions of taxpayer dollars that were wasted paying USPTO employees for work they were not doing.

“I am also concerned about the recent Government Accountability Office’s study that indicated the increase in the number of patent infringement lawsuits being filed can be directly attributed to concerns over patent quality.  While the Patent and Trademark Office has taken steps to improve patent quality, the GAO found that more work is needed in this area.

“I look forward to hearing from Director Lee and learning more about how she and the Patent and Trademark Office are addressing these important issues.”

Subcommittee Chairman Issa: “The latest report raises serious questions about the integrity of our patent system. For innovation to flourish, Americans need to be assured that our Patent and Trademark Office is implementing procedures that guarantee high-quality work from our patent inspectors. If the PTO can’t even guarantee sufficient oversight of its employees timecards, how can we be assured patent examiners aren’t just rubberstamping ideas without oversight as well? I look forward to getting answers to these important questions and seeing what changes the agency will implement squash this abuse and ensure our patent examiners are doing the thoughtful, through review of our patent applications they are supposed to.”

Witnesses

Name Occupation Organization Testimony Truth in Testimony
Honorable Michelle Lee Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

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