Seems like the PTO might operate better if they had the budget to pay for their operations costs
Maybe. But the cynical economist in me sees danger. Bureaucracies, just like people, will act in their own best interest. if the Patent office becomes funded by their customers (the patent filers), then the Patent office has every incentive to make those customers happy so they'll come back for more, pay more fees and increase the budget of the Patent office. If the Patent office cracks down on weak or overly-broad patents, then their customers will be discouraged from filing more patents, and the Patent office will see a reduced budget. The incentives are all wrong.
The US Patent Trade Office FINALLY gets to keep the fees it collects..
Sounds like a disaster in-making to me. What if the Sheriff's office got to keep all the funds that it confiscated? No doubt there'd be a lot more arrests and confiscated funds. Same with the patent office. The Patent office will just issue more and more and more patents as it's now in their best interest. "Come one, come all, file your patents, On sale this week only!"
Why doing the filming of course. Big Fail for Microsoft...
"In order to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe." -- Carl Sagan, Cosmos