The global backlog of unprocessed patent applications is now estimated to be 5 -10 million; some 750,000 alone of which are in the United States, where the average wait for a patent decision is almost three years.
The globalization of patent regimes and the increased complexity of many patentable technologies combined with inadequate institutional resources have resulted in a worldwide backlog of patent applications and substantially longer pendency periods. Backlogs and longer applications increase the uncertainty that the intellectual property within new inventions will be protected and slow the speed at which new inventions reach the marketplace, ultimately costing the global economy billions of dollars annually in "foregone innovation." In the United States, the extent of the patent backlog and the increasing length of patent pendency make all the more important the enactment of the America Invents Act. This legislation should go to President Obama with the Senate provision that would permanently end fee diversion and would thereby ensure that the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) could keep all the money from fees it collects and prevent any future appropriations bills from diverting USPTO funds to other uses.