Sen. Thom Tillis has asked the Administrative Conference of the United States to study the idea of combining the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and the U.S. Copyright Office as part of a potential consolidation of federal intellectual property entities.
Tillis (R-N.C.) is “exploring the possibility” of a unified intellectual property agency that fuses the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, U.S. Copyright Office, and the White House Office of the U.S. Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator, according to a Jan. 26 letter.
“The current fractured approach to intellectual property in the federal government, with multiple IP functions housed in different agencies, leads to conflicting policy agendas and unnecessary bureaucracy,” Tillis wrote. “Concentrating our intellectual property rights expertise into one agency will not only provide a ‘one stop shop’ to assist Americans with engaging in their intellectual property system, it will also appropriately reflect intellectual property’s elevated role in our modern, digital economy.”
Tillis asked the Administrative Conference to examine how to streamline the key functions of each current agency, including combining domestic and international policy activities. Other requests include considering how a unified office should be funded and how general operations would be performed.
The Administrative Conference hasn’t made a decision on undertaking the study, said Harry Seidman, the chief financial and operations officer.
The study is needed before Tillis considers any legislation, according to the letter. Tillis envisions that one Senate-confirmed director would lead a combined agency, with separate leaders for patent, trademark, copyright, and policy.
The deadline for the study is Feb. 1, 2023.