A new fee schedule being proposed by the USPTO may create unexpected expenses for patent filers. The proposed new fees and fee increases are meant to help the USPTO cover its expenses (1). In some instances, the proposed fees may be unreasonable in relation to the service being provided. If your company uses these services, your patent related expenses may increase significantly.
Companies should review the proposed fee schedule (2) to determine if any of the proposed fees will disproportionately affect prosecution costs. If so, it may be helpful to provide comments to the USPTO before the upcoming deadline of February 29, 2012. For example, at the recent America Invents Act Roadshow in Alexandra, USPTO representatives indicated that they will take into account public comments. If the USPTO receives no comments, they have no reason to change their proposal. However, well-reasoned public comments may be effective since the USPTO cannot use excess funds that it collects.
(1) See http://www.uspto.gov/aia_implementation/fee_setting_-_ppac_hearing_executive_summary_7feb12.pdf
(2) See http://www.uspto.gov/aia_implementation/fee_setting_-_ppac_hearing_attachment_1-table_of_patent_fee_changes_7feb12.pdf