[Federal Register Volume 72, Number 106 (Monday, June 4, 2007)]
[Pages 30777-30779]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E7-10672]



 Patent and Trademark Office

United States Patent Applicant Survey

AGENCY: Patent and Trademark Office, Department of Commerce.

ACTION: Proposed collection; comment request.


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 extension of a 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 3, 2007.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by any of the following methods:
    E-mail: [email protected]. Include ``0651-0052 comment'' in 
the subject line of the message.
    Fax: 571-273-0112, marked to the attention of Susan Fawcett.
    Mail: Susan K. Fawcett, Records Officer, Office of the Chief 
Information Officer, Customer Information Services Group, Public 
Information Services Division, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, P.O. 
Box 1450, Alexandria, VA 22313-1450. Federal e-Rulemaking Portal: 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Requests for additional information 
should be directed to the attention of Gus Mastrogianis, Economist, 
Office of Corporate Planning, United States Patent and Trademark 
Office, P.O. Box 1450, Alexandria, VA 22313-1450; by telephone 571-272-
6292; or by e-mail at [email protected].


I. Abstract

    For several years the USPTO has supported an ongoing forecasting 
program for patent application filings that includes the use of 
quantitative and qualitative methodologies. Given the importance of 
accurate application filings forecasts, the USPTO considers more than 
one type of methodology. As part of this strategy, information from a 
survey of the inventor community is included when formulating 
application filings forecasts. In addition to using the survey as part 
of a comprehensive approach to forecasting, the USPTO is also using 
this tool in response to Senate Appropriations Report 106-404 
(September 8, 2000). This report directed the USPTO to ``develop a 
workload forecast with advice from a representative sample of industry 
and the inventor community.'' A patent application filing survey will 
assist the USPTO in better understanding key factors driving future 
application filings, such as newly emerging technologies.
    The USPTO has developed the United States Patent Applicant Survey 
as part of the continuing effort to better predict the future growth of 
patent application filings by understanding applicant intentions. The 
main purpose of this

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survey is to determine the number of application filings that the USPTO 
can expect to receive over the next three years from patent-generating 
entities, ranging from large domestic corporations to independent 
    In recent years, the rate of patent application filings to the 
USPTO steadily increased with expanding technological innovations. 
However, newly emerging technologies, evolving business patenting 
strategies, patent valuations and costs, and intellectual property 
legislative changes, among other factors, may significantly impact 
patent applicants' decisions to file applications at the USPTO. These 
factors cannot easily be accounted for in other methodologies or 
sufficient information is not available from databases or other sources 
and it is necessary for the USPTO to conduct the Patent Applicant 
Survey to obtain information directly from applicants. The information 
will allow the agency to anticipate demand and estimate future revenue 
flow more reliably; to identify input and output triggers and allocate 
resources to meet and understand customer needs; and to reassess output 
and capacity goals and re-align organization quality control measures 
with applicant demand by division.
    The Patent Applicant Survey is a mail survey, although respondents 
have the option to complete the survey electronically. They may also 
provide their responses verbally over the telephone. A survey packet, 
containing the survey, a cover letter explaining the purpose of and 
outlining instructions for completing the survey, and a postage-paid, 
pre-addressed return envelope will be mailed to all survey groups. The 
USPTO plans to survey four groups of respondents: Large domestic 
corporations (including those with 500+ employees), small and medium-
size businesses, universities and non-profit research organizations, 
and independent inventors. The USPTO does not plan to survey foreign 
entities and will rely on the European Patent Office (EPO) and the 
Japan Patent Office (JPO) to provide forecasts of application filings 
by foreign entities. Due to variances in filing and the varying needs 
of the different patent applicant populations, the USPTO has developed 
two versions of the survey: One for the large domestic corporations and 
small and medium-size businesses and one for universities, non-profit 
research organizations, and independent inventors.
    Since the initial survey, administered in late 2002, the USPTO has 
redesigned the survey to eliminate difficulties and coordinate analysis 
more easily with parallel surveys conducted concurrently by the 
European and Japan Patent Offices.
    The surveys do not have USPTO form numbers associated with them and 
once they are approved, they will carry the OMB Control Number and the 
expiration date.

II. Method of Collection

    By mail or electronically over the Internet when respondents elect 
the on-line option to complete the survey.

III. Data

    OMB Number: 0651-0052.
    Form Number(s): None
    Type of Review: Extension of a currently approved collection.
    Affected Public: Businesses or other for-profits and not-for-profit 
    Estimated Number of Respondents: 400 responses per year. Of this 
total, the USPTO expects that 267 surveys will be completed using the 
on-line option.
    Estimated Time Per Response: The USPTO estimates that it will take 
approximately 30 minutes (0.50 hours) for all of the patent applicant 
populations to provide their responses, with the exception of the 
independent inventors. The USPTO estimates that it will take 
independent inventors approximately 15 minutes (0.25 hours) to provide 
their responses. These estimates include the time to gather the 
necessary information, complete the survey, and submit it to the USPTO. 
The USPTO believes that it will take the same amount of time to 
complete the surveys whether they are completed on paper and mailed to 
the USPTO or completed and submitted electronically.
    Estimated Total Annual Respondent Burden Hours: 140 hours.
    Estimated Total Annual Respondent Cost Burden: $4,340. The USPTO 
estimates that 31% of the respondents completing these surveys will be 
lawyers, about 9% will be legal assistants, and 60% of respondents will 
have diverse occupations. Using an estimated U.S. hourly rate of $54 
for lawyers, a legal assistant rate of $24, and a rate of $20 for the 
majority of the respondents, the USPTO believes that the average hourly 
rate for those completing these surveys will be $31 per hour. 
Therefore, the USPTO estimates that the salary costs for the 
respondents completing these surveys will be $4,340.

                                                                  Estimated time     Estimated       Estimated
                              Item                                 for response       annual       annual burden
                                                                     (minutes)       responses         hours
Large Domestic Corporations.....................................              30              27              14
Large Domestic Corporations (electronic surveys)................              30              53              27
Small and Medium-Size Businesses................................              30              18               9
Small and Medium-Size Businesses (electronic surveys)...........              30              37              19
Universities and Non-Profit Research Organizations..............              30               5               3
Universities and Non-Profit Research Organizations (electronic                30              10               5
Independent Inventors...........................................              15              83              21
Independent Inventors (electronic surveys)......................              15             167              42
    Total.......................................................  ..............             400             140

    Estimated Total Annual Non-hour Respondent Cost Burden: $0. There 
are no capital start-up, maintenance, or recordkeeping costs or filing 
fees associated with this information collection. The USPTO provides 
postage-paid, pre-addressed return envelopes for the completed mail 
surveys so there are no postage costs associated with this information 

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

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collected; and (d) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of 
information on respondents, including through 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: May 29, 2007
Susan K. Fawcett,
Records Officer, USPTO, Office of the Chief Information Officer, 
Customer Information Services Group, Public Information Services 
 [FR Doc. E7-10672 Filed 6-1-07; 8:45 am]