CNET: Lawmakers: Hands off patent fees
In an effort to improve the seemingly random process of awarding patents - especially in view of some doozies seen in the Internet space - the U.S. House of Representatives voted through a bill that would allow the patent office to keep the fees it charges applicants. These moneys have, in the past, been siphoned off for other, completely unrelated purposes.
Budget woes have been partly responsible for typically large delays in patent processing and a distressingly low quality of patent examiners, many of whom have poor English skills and little experience in their supposed areas of expertise.
Bill sponsors hope that this will help correct the root cause behind some of the dumb patent decisions that continue to cause friction in the e-commerce markets, such as the "one-click" patent awarded to Amazon.com.