Acting Director Teresa Stanek Rea (at right) sent the following memo to USPTO employees regarding the possibility that the government will be shut down if Congress fails to agree to a continuing resolution to fund government agencies for the rest of this year:
As you know, the Obama administration is working diligently with Congress to try to ensure that the federal government remains open and continues to do its work on behalf of the American people. However, I wanted to inform you that even in the event of a government shutdown on October 1, 2013, the United States Patent and Trademark Office will remain open, using prior year reserve fee collections to operate as usual for at least a few weeks. We continue to assess our fee collections compared to our operating requirements to determine how long we would be able to operate during a government shutdown; we will update you as more definitive information becomes available.
Because the USPTO maintains sufficient carryover funding from prior fiscal years, our agency can and will stay open for business for a period of time using these available reserves. During that time we will all continue to conduct our duties and serve our Nation, by processing the patent and trademark applications that drive our country's innovative economy. Should we exhaust these reserve funds before the government shutdown comes to an end, USPTO would have to shut down at that time, although a very small staff would continue to work to accept new applications and maintain IT infrastructure, among other functions.
I realize you likely have many more questions. As new information becomes available, we will inform you promptly and thoroughly. Your respective business unit managers will also be reaching out to you to provide further clarification, as needed.
I thank you for your hard work, and the continuing dedication you demonstrate to the American people.
Hat tip to Hal Wegner for alerting us to this memo.