HR 400 -- 04/15/97

April 15, 1997
(House Rules)

H.R. 400 - 21st Century Patent System Improvement Act
(Coble (R) North Carolina and 35 cosponsors)

The Administration appreciates the Judiciary Committee's consideration of its proposal to establish the Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) as a performance based organization. The Administration supports the substantive patent law provisions of the bill.

The Administration supports House passage of the floor manager's en bloc amendments to H.R. 400, which include some of the Administration's proposals to improve the performance of the PTO. The Administration will seek further improvements as the legislation continues through the legislative process.

Amendment by Representative Rohrabacher

The Administration strongly opposes House passage of H.R. 811, which may be offered as a substitute for H.R. 400. H.R. 811 would undermine the internationally agreed upon rule for a patent term of 20 years from the filing of the patent application. It would have the practical effect of allowing applicants to delay the patenting of an invention, thereby enabling the eventual patentee to extract large royalties from businesses using the invention or to threaten the viability of those businesses.

Pay-As-You-Go Scoring

H.R. 400 would affect direct spending and receipts; therefore, it is subject to the pay-as-you-go (PAYGO) requirement of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1990. OMB is developing its preliminary PAYGO estimate.