The U.S. patent operation may cease temporarily as from the second week in February. The USPTO noted this in a press release on the operating status of the agency on the 24th of January.
The Operating Status Of The U.S. Patent Operation
The agency may shut down its operation due to the lingering government shutdown that holds many activities at sway. The shut down has affected the funding of the agency which is a subset of the commerce department. Though it is funded by users fee, there is a need for appropriation from Congress to spend the money it collects. The agency had a budget of 3.3 billion dollars in 2018 and had requested for 3.5 billion dollars for 2019.
The shutdown has affected its staff strength which its effect doubles on the process of reviewing tens of thousands of applications on inventions of things, on telecommunications hardware and the next cutting edge medical treatments. Averagely, a preliminary response from an examiner of a patent application takes 15.8 months. The agency received a total of 640,000 patent applications in 2018.
Since the shutdown has started on December 22, the agency has been running on a fund set aside as authorised fund known as an operating reserve. The agency noted in the release that the agency would continue to evaluate options for conserving funds to increase the period its operation can continue as long as possible.
Though the vacation the staffs have been subjected to due to the shutdown has affected operation, the agency promised to keep a small staff to receive new applications and filings, to receive payments and maintain the information technology infrastructure pending a change.
Prolong U.S. Government Shutdown
The U.S. government shutdown that started on the 22nd of September over the disagreement with the opposition on the funding of the U.S. Mexico border wall has affected a lot of government activities and agencies.
The shutdown which is stated to be the longest in history has led to the withdrawal of a Bitcoin ETF application according to the CEO of Vaneck, Jan VanEck. Also, it has affected other crypto and blockchain firms such as bitcoin futures platform Bakkt and crypto trading platform ErisX, that are waiting on Commodity Futures Exchange Commission a government agency that is also affected for funding.