[Federal Register Volume 74, Number 58 (Friday, March 27, 2009)]
[Pages 13421-13422]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E9-6770]



Patent and Trademark Office

Customer Panel Quality Survey

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 this 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 May 26, 2009.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by any of the following methods:
     E-mail: [email protected]. Include ``0651-0057 
Customer Panel Quality Survey comment'' in the subject line of the 
     Fax: 571-273-0112, marked to the attention of Susan K. 
     Mail: Susan K. Fawcett, Records Officer, Office of the 
Chief Information Officer, Administrative Management Group, U.S. Patent 
and Trademark Office, P.O. Box 1450, Alexandria, VA 22313-1450.
     Federal e-Rulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Requests for additional information 
should be directed to the attention of Martin Rater, Management 
Analyst, Office of Patent Quality Assurance, United States Patent and 
Trademark Office, P.O. Box 1450, Alexandria, VA 22313-1450; by 
telephone at 571-272-5966; or by e-mail at [email protected] with 
``Paperwork'' in the subject line.


I. Abstract

    For over the past 10 years, the USPTO has used surveys to obtain 
customer feedback regarding the products, services, and related service 
standards of the USPTO. The USPTO used the data to measure how well the 
agency is meeting established customer service standards, to identify 
any disjoints between customer expectations and USPTO performance, and 
to develop improvement strategies. Typically, these surveys ask 
customers to express their satisfaction with the USPTO's products and 
services based upon their interactions with the agency as a whole over 
a 12-month period.
    In order to obtain further data concerning customer ratings of the 
USPTO's services, service standards, and performance, the USPTO 
developed the Customer Panel Quality Survey. This survey narrows the 
focus of customer satisfaction to examination quality and uses a 
longitudinal, rotating panel design to assess changes in customer 
perceptions and to identify key areas for examiner training and 
opportunities for improvement. The USPTO plans to survey patent agents, 
attorneys, and other individuals from large domestic corporations 
(including those with 500+ employees), small and medium-size 
businesses, universities and other non-profit research organizations, 
and independent inventors; however, the USPTO does not plan to survey 
foreign entities.
    The USPTO will draw a random sample of these customers from their 
database. Due to the rotating panel design, some sample members will be 
surveyed twice in order to measure change over a period of time. Each 
year of the survey will include four waves of data collection.
    The Customer Panel Quality Survey is a mail survey, although 
respondents can also complete the survey electronically on the Web. The 
content of both versions will be identical. A survey packet containing 
the questionnaire, a separate cover letter prepared by the Commissioner 
of Patents, a postage-paid, pre-addressed return envelope, and 
instructions for completing the survey electronically will be mailed to 
all sample members. A pre-notification letter, reminder/thank you 
postcards, and telephone calls will be used to encourage response from 
sample members.
    This is a voluntary survey and all responses will remain 
confidential. The collected data will not be linked to the respondent 
and contact information that is used for sampling purposes will be 
maintained in a separate file from the quantitative data. Respondents 
are not required to provide any identifying information such as their 
name, address, or Social Security Number. In order to access and 
complete the online survey, respondents will need to use the username, 
password, and survey ID number provided by the USPTO.

[[Page 13422]]

II. Method of Collection

    By mail or electronically over the Internet if respondents choose 
to complete the survey online.

III. Data

    OMB Number: 0651-0057.
    Form Number(s): N/A.
    Type of Review: Extension of a currently approved collection.
    Affected Public: Individuals or households; business or other for 
profit; not-for-profit institutions; Federal Government; and state, 
local, or Tribal Government.
    Estimated Number of Respondents: 3,168 responses per year. Out of a 
sample size of 2,842 for each wave of data collection, the USPTO 
estimates that 792 completed surveys will be received. Each year of the 
survey will include four waves of data collection with an estimated 
3,168 completed surveys received. Of this total, the USPTO estimates 
that 70% or 2,218 surveys will be returned by mail and that 30% or 950 
surveys will be completed using the online option.
    Estimated Time per Response: The USPTO estimates that it takes 
approximately 10 minutes (0.17 hours) to complete either the paper or 
online version of this survey. This includes the time to gather the 
necessary information, complete the survey, and submit it to the USPTO.
    Estimated Total Annual Respondent Burden Hours: 539 hours.
    Estimated Total Annual Respondent Cost Burden: $167,090. The USPTO 
believes that patent attorneys will be responding to these surveys. 
Using the professional hourly rate of $310 for attorneys in private 
firms, the USPTO estimates that the total respondent cost burden for 
this collection is $167,090 per year.

                                                                                     Estimated       Estimated
                     Item                          Estimated time for response        annual       annual burden
                                                                                     responses         hours
Customer Panel Quality Survey (paper).........  10 minutes......................           2,218             377
Customer Panel Quality Survey (electronic)....  10 minutes......................             950             162
    Total.....................................  ................................           3,168             539

    Estimated Total Annual Non-hour Respondent Cost Burden: $0. There 
are no capital start-up, maintenance, operation, or recordkeeping 
costs, nor are there any filing fees associated with this information 
collection. The USPTO covers the costs of all survey materials and 
provides postage-paid, pre-addressed return envelopes for the completed 
mail surveys.

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, including through the use of 
automated collection techniques or other forms of information 
    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.

Susan K. Fawcett,
Records Officer, USPTO, Office of the Chief Information Officer, 
Administrative Management Group.
[FR Doc. E9-6770 Filed 3-26-09; 8:45 am]