The bipartisan campaign to halt the siphoning of U.S. Patent and Trademark Office user fees appeared to gather momentum May 9 when a House panel unanimously approved legislation that would block the controversial practice.

The move came at a Judiciary Committee mark-up of the “Patent and Trademark Office Reauthorization Act,” H.R. 4034, sponsored by Rep. Howard Coble (R-N.C.). That measure would amend 42 U.S.C. �42 by requiring that all PTO-generated user fees be credited to a PTO account set up in the U.S. Treasury, and authorizing the PTO director to collect and use all fees brought in by the agency “until expended,” bypassing the appropriations process.

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