Friday, September 27, 2013

U.S. Trademark Office Could Shut Down Within Weeks

USPTO Headquarters in Virginia
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office only has enough reserve cash to avoid shutting down completely for "a few weeks," according to a top agency official.

Deputy Director Teresa Stanek told the agency's employees that the agency has enough leftover fee collections from prior years to operate as usual for "at least a few weeks," in the event the federal government does not manage to pass a law increasing the debt limit, which is reached on October 1.

The agency largely funds itself without the need for congressional funds by generating filing fees, but would nonetheless run out of cash and only be able to maintain IT functions in the event of a shutdown.

Congress is in the midst of a deep partisan divide over how to avert the shutdown, with a faction of Republicans in the House joined by a few Republican Senators both trying to use fear of the shutdown as leverage to de-fund the Affordable Care Act, also known as ObamaCare.

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