On December 8, 2004, the President signed legislation into effect which imposes fee increases at the USPTO without addressing the controversial diversion of USPTO user fees to other governmental programs. Intended in part to fund the hiring of several hundred more patent examiners, the fee increases have drawn fire from practitioners. The fee increases are expected to generate about $200 million in additional revenues according to an appropriations committee report.
Some of the more substantial fee increases include the filing fee which increases from $790 to $1,000 (divided into distinct filing, examination and search fees), additional total claims in excess of 20 from $18 to $50 per claim, and additional independent claims in excess of 3 from $86 to $200 per additional independent claim. Maintenance fees have increased. In addition, there is now a $500 fee for filing an appeal with the BPAI, and an additional $500 for filing a brief in support of the appeal, and an additional $1,000 for requesting an oral hearing in the appeal before the BPAI.