IDSA Takes a Stand on Latest Design Patent Fee Proposal

Nov 30 2015 - 12:43pm

IDSA is voicing its strong opposition to the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO)’s proposal for a major hike in design patent application filing fees. The Patent Public Advisory Committee (PPAC) has scheduled a public hearing on Thursday, Nov. 19, 2015 at USPTO headquarters in Alexandria, VA.

Written comments are being accepted until Nov. 25. IDSA has submitted a letter by Board of Directors Chair John Barratt, IDSA via post and email to Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and USPTO Director Michelle K. Lee, expressing IDSA’s viewpoint:

The Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA), one of the world’s most established industrial design membership associations—representing thousands of professional and student members around the world—strongly opposes the USPTO’s proposed 48 percent increase in federal government fees to obtain a design patent.

With global competition at an all-time high and an increase in the number of knockoff products, IDSA believes the USPTO should be encouraging American innovation and supporting efforts to protect design intellectual property. Furthermore, the USPTO has not provided any rationalization for this dramatic increase in design patent fees which are already out of alignment with fees charged for filing utility patents.

A 2013 report by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) entitled Valuing the Art of Industrial Design states, “Designers are prolifically inventing new products, processes and systems that have a profound impact on our economy and civil society.” Taking such thoughts into consideration, IDSA believes it makes far greater sense to provide support and incentives to designers, rather than creating barriers to their substantial contributions to society.

Increasing government fees to obtain design patents is counterproductive and will have a trickledown effect on employment levels, as budgets will need to be adjusted to pay larger fees, as opposed to acquiring bright design talent.

IDSA sincerely hopes the USPTO will reconsider this proposed, substantial increase in fees for design patents. Without additional evidence on how the increased fees will be used or how they will benefit those paying these fees, we believe any increase in fees should be modest, more in line with the proposed increase in fees for utility patent applications.


John Barratt, Chair, IDSA Board of Directors
President and CEO, TEAGUE