[Federal Register Volume 75, Number 105 (Wednesday, June 2, 2010)]
[Pages 30773-30774]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2010-13163]



Patent and Trademark Office

United States Patent Applicant 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 the extension of a currently approved 
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 2, 2010.

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 K. 
     Mail: Susan K. Fawcett, Records Officer, Office of the 
Chief Information Officer, 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 Gerard Torres, Economist, Office 
of Corporate Planning, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, P.O. Box 1450, 
Alexandria, VA 22313-1450; by telephone at 571-272-4951; or by e-mail 
at [email protected] with ``Paperwork'' in the subject line.


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 filing 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 filing 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 
assists the USPTO in better understanding key factors driving future 
application filings, such as newly emerging technologies.
    The USPTO 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 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 inventors.
    In recent decades, 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. Therefore, 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.
    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 of the information collection.

II. Method of Collection

    By mail or electronically over the Internet when respondents elect 
the online 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: Business or other for profit; 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 
online 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

[[Page 30774]]

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 
    Estimated Total Annual Respondent Burden Hours: 140 hours per year.
    Estimated Total Annual Respondent Cost Burden: $17,080 per year. 
The USPTO estimates that 31% of the respondents completing these 
surveys will be lawyers, about 9% will be legal assistants, and 60% 
will have diverse occupations. Using the professional hourly rate of 
$325 for intellectual property lawyers, a legal assistant specializing 
in intellectual property rate of $100, and a rate of $20 for the 
majority of the respondents, the USPTO believes that the average hourly 
rate for completing these surveys will be approximately $122 ($101 + $9 
+ $12). The professional rate used for the intellectual property 
lawyers is based on the median rate for attorneys in private firms as 
published in the 2009 report of the Committee on Economics of Legal 
Practice of the American Intellectual Property Law Association. This 
report summarized the results of a survey with data on hourly billing 
rates. The estimated hourly rate used for the legal assistants 
specializing in intellectual property is based on the rates for the 
2008 National Utilization and Compensation Survey, published in March 
2008 by the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA). Due to the 
many different occupations that can possibly be held by the majority of 
respondents, the USPTO is estimating $20 per hour as the hourly rate 
for those respondents. Therefore, the USPTO estimates that the salary 
costs for the respondents completing these surveys will be $17,080.

                                                                  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 per 
year. There are no capital start-up, maintenance, or recordkeeping 
costs associated with this collection. Respondents do not submit filing 
or other fees with the surveys. The USPTO provides postage-paid, pre-
addressed return envelopes for the completed mail surveys so there are 
no postage costs associated with this information collection.

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 will also become a matter of public record.

Susan K. Fawcett,
Records Officer, USPTO, Office of the Chief Information Officer.
[FR Doc. 2010-13163 Filed 6-1-10; 8:45 am]