Dr. Coburn's amendment #599 to H.R. 1249, the Patent Reform bill would provide an immediate solution to the financial crisis at the Patent & Trademark Office (PTO). The amendment creates a lockbox—a new revolving fund at the Treasury—where user fees that are paid to the PTO for a patent or a trademark go directly into the revolving fund for the PTO to use to cover its operating expenses. Congress would not have the ability to take those fees and divert them to other general revenue purposes.
Dr. Coburn's op-ed on ending patent fee diversion here.