On April 22, 2011, David Kappos, director of the USPTO, announced via his public blog that commencement of the Track One program has been postponed. The Track One program will not go into effect on May 4, 2011, as initially planned and reported in a previous Alston & Bird advisory. Mr. Kappos did not indicate a new commencement date for the Track One program. The postponement is a result of the USPTO’s FY 2011 budget being reduced by Congress on April 15, 2011.
Other actions being taken by the USPTO as a result of the budget cuts include:
- postponing the opening of the planned Nationwide Workforce satellite office in Detroit, as well as consideration of other possible satellite office locations;
- freezing hiring — both for new positions and backfills;
- scaling back IT projects;
- reducing funding for Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) outsourcing;
- reducing its employee training;
- requiring business units to reduce all other non-compensation-related expenses, including travel, conferences and contracts; and
- suspending all overtime pay to its employees.
At this time, Trademarks is unaffected and will maintain normal operations