[Federal Register Volume 70, Number 118 (Tuesday, June 21, 2005)]
[Notices]
[Pages 35637-35639]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 05-12174]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

Patent and Trademark Office


Representative and Address Provisions

ACTION: Proposed collection; comment request.

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SUMMARY: The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), as part 
of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork and respondent burden, 
invites the general public and other Federal agencies to take this 
opportunity to comment on the continuing information collection, as 
required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, Public Law 104-13 (44 
U.S.C. 3506(c)(2)(A)).

DATES: Written comments must be submitted on or before August 22, 2005.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by any of the following methods:
     E-mail: [email protected]. Include ``0651-0035 
comment'' in the subject line of the message.
     Fax: 571-273-0112, marked to the attention of Susan Brown.
     Mail: Susan K. Brown, Records Officer, Office of the Chief 
Information Officer, Office of Data Architecture and Services, Data 
Administration Division, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, P.O. Box 
1450, Alexandria, VA 22313-1450.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Requests for additional information 
should be directed to Robert J. Spar, Director, Office of Patent Legal 
Administration, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, P.O. Box 1450, 
Alexandria, VA 22313-1450; by telephone at 571-272-7700; or by e-mail 
at [email protected].

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Abstract

    Under 35 U.S.C. 2 and 37 CFR 1.31-1.36, a patent applicant or 
assignee of record may grant power of attorney to a person who is 
registered to practice before the United States Patent and Trademark 
Office (USPTO) to act for them in a patent or application. A power of 
attorney may also be revoked, and a registered practitioner may also 
withdraw as attorney or agent of record under 37 CFR 1.36. The rules of 
practice (37 CFR 1.33) also provide for the applicant, assignee, or 
practitioner of record to supply a correspondence address and daytime 
telephone number for receiving notices, official letters, and other 
communications from the USPTO. Further, the rules of practice (37 CFR 
1.33(d) and 1.363) permit the applicant, assignee, or practitioner of 
record to specify a separate ``fee address'' for correspondence related 
to maintenance fees, which is covered under OMB Control Number 0651-
0016 ``Rules for Patent Maintenance Fees.'' Maintaining a correct and 
updated correspondence address is necessary so that official 
correspondence from the USPTO related to a patent or application will 
be properly received by the applicant, assignee, or practitioner.
    The USPTO's Customer Number practice permits applicants, assignees, 
and practitioners of record to change the correspondence address, fee 
address, or representatives of record for a number of patents or 
applications with one change request instead of filing separate 
requests for each patent or application. Customers may request a 
Customer Number from the USPTO and associate this Customer Number with 
a correspondence address or a list of registered practitioners. 
Customers may then use this Customer Number to designate or change the 
correspondence address, the fee address, or to grant power of attorney 
to the associated list of practitioners for any number of patents or 
applications. Any changes to the address or practitioner information 
associated with a Customer Number will be applied to all patents and 
applications associated with that Customer Number.
    The Customer Number practice is optional, in that changes of 
correspondence address or power of attorney may be filed separately for 
each patent or application without using a Customer Number. However, a 
Customer Number associated with the correspondence address for a patent 
application is required in order to access private information about 
the application using the Patent Application Information Retrieval 
(PAIR) system, which is available through the USPTO Web site. The PAIR 
system allows authorized individuals secure access to application 
status information over the Internet, but only for patent applications 
that are linked to a Customer Number. Applicants must also use a 
Customer Number in order to grant power of attorney to more than ten 
practitioners or to establish a separate fee address that is different 
from the correspondence address for a patent or application.
    In addition to the forms offered by the USPTO to assist customers 
with providing the information in this

[[Page 35638]]

collection, customers may also format requests using a Customer Number 
Upload Spreadsheet to designate or change the correspondence address or 
fee address for a list of patents or applications by associating them 
with a Customer Number. The Customer Number Upload Spreadsheet must be 
submitted to the USPTO on a computer-readable diskette or compact disc 
(CD), accompanied by a signed cover letter requesting entry of the 
address changes for the listed patents and applications. The 
spreadsheet and cover letter must be mailed to the USPTO and cannot be 
filed electronically over the Internet. Customers may download a 
Microsoft Excel template with instructions from the USPTO Web site to 
assist them in preparing the spreadsheet in the proper format. The 
Customer Number Upload Spreadsheet may not be used to change the power 
of attorney for patents or applications.
    This information collection includes the information necessary to 
submit a request to grant or revoke power of attorney for a patent 
application and for a registered practitioner to withdraw as attorney 
or agent of record for a patent application. This collection also 
includes the information necessary to request a Customer Number and 
associate a correspondence address or list of practitioners with this 
Customer Number, to change the correspondence address or practitioners 
associated with a Customer Number, and to designate or change the 
correspondence address or fee address for one or more patents or 
applications by using a Customer Number.
    The USPTO is adding one form, two petitions, and electronic power 
of attorney submissions to this information collection. The 
Authorization to Act in a Representative Capacity allows a practitioner 
to take certain actions in a patent application, such as conducting 
interviews, but does not grant power of attorney. The USPTO previously 
offered a sample format for an authorization document pursuant to 37 
CFR 1.34, but the Authorization to Act in a Representative Capacity 
will now be provided as an official USPTO form (PTO/SB/84). The two 
petitions to grant or revoke power of attorney by fewer than all of the 
applicants are being added to this collection as existing petitions 
that were not previously covered. Lastly, customers may submit some 
power of attorney forms electronically using the USPTO's Electronic 
Filing System (EFS), which permits secure transmission of patent 
applications and related documents over the Internet. Using the free 
electronic filing software available at the USPTO Web site, customers 
may prepare electronic power of attorney forms or scan and attach 
electronic copies of paper forms for Internet submission.
    This information collection was previously approved by OMB in 
November 2002. In November 2003, OMB approved a change worksheet for 
this collection that added the Power of Attorney to Prosecute 
Applications Before the USPTO (PTO/SB/80), deleted the Correspondence 
Address Indication Form (PTO/SB/121), and revised the Customer Number 
Upload Spreadsheet to remove the option to change the power of 
attorney. The Power of Attorney to Prosecute Applications Before the 
USPTO (PTO/SB/80) allows assignees to grant power of attorney in all of 
their applications at once using one form instead of individually 
signing separate power of attorney forms for each application. The 
Correspondence Address Indication Form (PTO/SB/121) was deleted because 
it duplicated information already collected on the forms for Change of 
Correspondence Address for Applications or Patents (PTO/SB/122 and PTO/
SB/123) and was rarely used. The option to change the power of attorney 
was removed from the Customer Number Upload Spreadsheet because the 
USPTO discontinued the practice of allowing customers to use the batch 
update process via the spreadsheet to change the power of attorney for 
a list of patents or applications. Customers may still use the 
spreadsheet format for changing the correspondence address or fee 
address for a list of patents or applications. The instructions were 
also updated to allow customers to submit the spreadsheets on CD as 
well as on diskette.

II. Method of Collection

    By mail, facsimile, hand delivery, or electronically over the 
Internet to the USPTO.

III. Data

    OMB Number: 0651-0035.
    Form Number(s): PTO/SB/80/81/82/83/84/122/123/124A/124B/125A/125B.
    Type of Review: Revision of a currently approved collection.
    Affected Public: Individuals or households; businesses or other 
for-profits; not-for-profit institutions; farms; the Federal 
Government; and state, local or tribal governments.
    Estimated Number of Respondents: 370,766 responses per year.
    Estimated Time Per Response: The USPTO estimates that it will take 
the public approximately 3 to 12 minutes (0.05 to 0.20 hours) to 
complete the forms in this collection, including the time to gather the 
necessary information, prepare the appropriate form, and submit the 
completed request. The USPTO estimates it will take the public 
approximately 1 hour to prepare the petitions related to power of 
attorney. The USPTO estimates that it will take the public 
approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes to complete the Customer Number 
Upload Spreadsheet, including the time to prepare the spreadsheet file 
on diskette or CD and produce the signed cover letter.
    Estimated Total Annual Respondent Burden Hours: 23,668 hours per 
year.
    Estimated Total Annual Respondent Cost Burden: $1,937,198 per year. 
The USPTO expects that Requests for Withdrawal as Attorney or Agent and 
the petitions will be prepared by attorneys, while the other items in 
this collection will be prepared by paraprofessionals. Using the 
professional rate of $286 per hour for associate attorneys in private 
firms, the USPTO estimates that the respondent cost burden for 
submitting Requests for Withdrawal as Attorney or Agent and Change of 
Correspondence Address (PTO/SB/83) and the petitions will be $28,028 
per year. Using the paraprofessional rate of $81 per hour, the USPTO 
estimates that the respondent cost burden for submitting the other 
items in this collection will be $1,909,170 per year. The estimated 
total respondent cost burden for this collection is $1,937,198 per 
year.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                     Estimated       Estimated
                 Item                         Estimated time for response             annual       annual burden
                                                                                     responses         hours
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Power of Attorney to Prosecute         3 minutes................................           2,100             105
 Applications Before the USPTO (PTO/
 SB/80).
Power of Attorney and Correspondence   3 minutes................................         343,550          17,178
 Address Indication Form (PTO/SB/81).
Electronic Power of Attorney Forms     3 minutes................................           2,488             124
 (EFS).
Revocation of Power of Attorney with   3 minutes................................             650              33
 New Powwer of Attorney and Change of
 Correspondence Address (PTO/SB/82).

[[Page 35639]]

 
Request for Withdrawal as Attorney or  12 minutes...............................             475              95
 Agent and Change of Correspondence
 Address (PTO/SB/83).
Authorization to Act in a              3 minutes................................             800              40
 Representative Capacity (PTO/SB/84).
Petition Under 37 CFR 1.36(a) to       1 hour...................................               2               2
 Revoke Power of Attorney by Fewer
 than All the Applicants.
Petition to Waive 37 CFR 1.32(b)(4)    1 hour...................................               1               1
 and Grant Power of Attorney by Fewer
 than All the Applicants.
Change of Correspondence Address for   3 minutes................................          13,000             650
 Application or Patent (PTO/SB/122/
 123).
Request for Customer Number Data       12 minutes...............................             600             120
 Change (PTO/SB/125A/125B).
Request for Customer Number (PTO/SB/   12 minutes...............................           4,100             820
 125A/125B).
Customer Number Upload Spreadsheet...  1 hour and 30 minutes....................           3,000           4,500
                                      --------------------------------------------
    Total............................  .........................................         370,766          23,668
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    Estimated Total Annual Non-hour Respondent Cost Burden: $188,838. 
There are no maintenance costs associated with this information 
collection. However, this collection does have annual (non-hour) cost 
burden in the form of filing fees, recordkeeping costs, capital start-
up costs, and postage costs.
    The two petitions being added into this collection have associated 
filing fees. The filing fee for the Petition Under 37 CFR 1.36(a) to 
Revoke Power of Attorney by Fewer than All the Applicants is currently 
$130 (37 CFR 1.17(h)). The USPTO has proposed to increase this fee to 
$400 (37 CFR 1.17(f)) as discussed in the notice of proposed rulemaking 
entitled ``Provisions for Persons Granted Limited Recognition to 
Prosecute Patent Applications and Other Miscellaneous Matters'' (RIN 
0651-AB85), published in the Federal Register on April 7, 2005. This 
proposed fee coincides with the $400 fee (37 CFR 1.17(f)) for the 
Petition to Waive 37 CFR 1.32(b)(4) and Grant Power of Attorney by 
Fewer than All the Applicants. Using the $400 fee for these petitions, 
the USPTO estimates that the total filing fees for this collection 
would be $1,200 per year.
    There are recordkeeping costs associated with submitting power of 
attorney forms electronically over the Internet using EFS. The USPTO 
recommends that customers print and retain a copy of the acknowledgment 
receipt that is displayed on the screen after a successful submission. 
The USPTO estimates that it will take 5 seconds (0.001 hours) to print 
a copy of the acknowledgment receipt and that approximately 2,488 power 
of attorney submissions per year will be completed via EFS, for a total 
of approximately 2 hours per year. The USPTO expects that these 
receipts will be printed by paraprofessionals at an estimated rate of 
$81 per hour, for a total recordkeeping cost of $162 per year.
    This collection has capital start-up costs associated with the 
Customer Number Upload Spreadsheet, which must be submitted to the 
USPTO on a diskette or CD. This process requires additional supplies, 
including blank diskettes or recordable CD media and padded envelopes 
for shipping. The USPTO estimates that the cost of these supplies will 
be approximately $2 per submission, for a total capital start-up cost 
of $6,000 per year.
    The public may incur postage costs when submitting the information 
in this collection to the USPTO by mail. The USPTO estimates that the 
first-class postage cost for a mailed submission will be 49 cents for 
all items in this collection except for the electronic power of 
attorney submissions and the Customer Number Upload Spreadsheet. There 
is no postage cost for electronic power of attorney submissions. Due to 
the additional materials required for Customer Number Upload 
Spreadsheet submissions, including the diskette or CD and cover letter, 
the USPTO estimates that the average first-class postage cost for a 
spreadsheet submission will be 83 cents. The total postage cost for 
this collection is $181,476 per year.
    The total (non-hour) respondent cost burden for this collection in 
the form of filing fees, recordkeeping costs, capital start-up costs, 
and postage costs is estimated to be $188,838 per year.

IV. Request for Comments

    Comments are invited on: (a) Whether the proposed collection of 
information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of 
the agency, including whether the information shall have practical 
utility; (b) the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden 
(including hours and cost) of the proposed collection of information; 
(c) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the 
information to be collected; and (d) ways to minimize the burden of the 
collection of information on respondents, e.g., the use of automated 
collection techniques or other forms of information technology.
    Comments submitted in response to this notice will be summarized or 
included in the request for OMB approval of this information 
collection; they also will become a matter of public record.

    Dated: June 15, 2005.
Susan K. Brown,
Records Officer, USPTO, Office of the Chief Information Officer, Office 
of Data Architecture and Services, Data Administration Division.
[FR Doc. 05-12174 Filed 6-20-05; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-16-P