In a Presidential Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) conference, broadcast live on the Internet, U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke stated that it is scandalous in how long it takes for a individual or company to get a patent, stating that it takes almost 3 years before an application is even looked at and another year before a decision is even made.
He stressed that for start-up companies to get investment seed money from venture capital sources or traditional financial loans, patent pending means nothing. He compared it to "trying to getting a loan for a home remodelling project, but don't have full title to the home yet" - you simply won't get a loan or investment if you don't have the patent. Currently there is Patent Reform legislation (H.R. 2795) before 111th Congress, which was first proposed in 2005 and again in 2007.
Frustrating the Commerce Secretary is how Copyright and Trademark's policies and processes compare to Patent review. He described how Copyright applications are reviewed and decided upon in as little as 3 months. Locke believes that there is a continuing reduction of R&D investment in the United States because of this and allows other countries such as China, Taiwan, India, Germany and others to move faster to market. He stated one example where China is spending $8 billion a month creating new green energy solutions not because it will reduce its greenhouse gas foot print, but will allow it to become a world leader and exporter of these technologies such as wind turbines. Currently Germany, Norway and Sweden are power houses in wind turbine technology.