[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 40 (Tuesday, March 1, 2011)]
[Pages 11206-11208]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2011-4458]



Patent and Trademark Office

Proposed Collection; Patent Examiner Employment Application

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 revision 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 May 2, 2011.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by any of the following methods:
     E-mail: [email protected]. Include ``0651-
0042 comment'' in the subject line of the message.
     Mail: Susan K. Fawcett, Records Officer, Office of the 
Chief Information Officer, United States Patent and Trademark Office, 
P.O. Box 1450, Alexandria, VA 22313-1450.
     Federal Rulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Requests for additional information 
should be directed to the attention of LaRita Jones, Chief of the 
Workforce Employment Division, Office of Human Resources, United States 
Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), P.O. Box 1450, Alexandria, VA 
22313-1450; by telephone at 571-272-6196; or by e-mail to 
[email protected].


[[Page 11207]]

I. Abstract

    The USA Staffing system provided by the Office of Personnel 
Management (OPM) is an automated online system that allows the USPTO to 
rapidly review applications for employment of entry-level patent 
examiners. The Office of Human Resources (OHR), armed with a 
recommendation from a Supervisory Patent Examiner (SPE), can use the 
system to rapidly make an offer of employment and take the necessary 
administrative action to support the hiring process. In FY 2010 and FY 
2011, USA Staffing enabled the Patent Corps to hire more than 1,000 
entry-level patent examiners.
    Since the inception of USA Staffing in January 2007, the hiring 
process has become more effective and compliant with the examining 
requirements established by OPM. In the current employment environment, 
information technology professionals and engineering graduates are in 
great demand. The USPTO is in direct competition with private industry 
for the same caliber of candidates with the requisite knowledge and 
skills to perform patent examination work. Consequently, it is 
imperative that every available technology be employed if the USPTO is 
to remain competitive, meet hiring goals, and fulfill the agency's 
Congressional commitment to reduce the pendency rate for the 
examination of patent applications. The information supplied by an 
applicant seeking a patent examiner position with the USPTO assists the 
Human Resources Specialists and hiring managers in determining whether 
an applicant possesses the basic qualification requirements for the 
patent examiner position.
    USA Staffing provides the USPTO with a user-friendly online 
employment application process for applicants and enables the USPTO to 
process hiring actions in an efficient and timely manner. The online 
application creates an electronic real-time candidate inventory that 
allows the USPTO to review applications from potential applicants 
almost instantaneously. Given the immediate hiring need of the Patent 
Examining Corps, time consumed in the mail distribution system or paper 
review of applications delays the decision-making process by several 
weeks. The USA Staffing system results in increased speed and accuracy 
in the employment process, in addition to streamlining labor and 
reducing costs.
    The use of the USA Staffing online application fully complies with 
5 U.S.C. 2301, which requires adequate public notice to assure open 
competition by guaranteeing that necessary employment information will 
be accessible and available to the public on inquiry. It is also fully 
compliant with Section 508 (29 U.S.C. 794(d)), which requires agencies 
to provide disabled employees and members of the public access to 
information that is comparable to the access available to others.

II. Method of Collection

    With the use of USA Staffing, the application information is 
collected electronically from the applicant. Applicants contact the OPM 
USA Jobs Web site where they will find the online job announcement that 
links them to the application. The application is completed online and 
then transmitted to the USPTO via the Internet. For those applicants 
who do not have access to a personal computer, applications may be 
faxed to the OPM computer facility for processing.

III. Data

    OMB Number: 0651-0042.
    Form Number(s): N/A.
    Type of Review: Revision of a currently approved collection.
    Affected Public: Individuals or households.
    Estimated Number of Respondents: 10,000 responses per year.
    Estimated Time per Response: The USPTO estimates that it will take 
the public approximately 30 minutes (0.5 hours) to complete the 
employment application, depending upon the situation.
    Estimated Total Annual Respondent Burden Hours: 5,000 hours per 
    Estimated Total Annual Respondent Cost Burden: $230,350. Using the 
median hourly rate for scientists and engineers of $46.07 as listed by 
the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the USPTO estimates $230,350 per year 
in cost burden associated with respondents. This is a fully loaded 
hourly rate.

                                                                  Estimated time     Estimated       Estimated
                              Item                                 for response       annual      annual  burden
                                                                     (minutes)       responses         hours
Patent Examiner Employee Application............................              30          10,000           5,000
    Total.......................................................  ..............          10,000           5,000

    Estimated Total Annual (Non-hour) Respondent Cost Burden: $9,700. 
There are no maintenance or record keeping costs, as well as no filing 
fees associated with this information collection. However there are 
annual (non-hour) costs in the form of postage costs.
    Not every applicant can supply all of the required information 
electronically. The applicant does have the option to submit a ``Paper 
Qualifications Questionnaire'' and any supporting documents, such as 
resumes) to the USPTO either by fax, mail or in person. The transcripts 
and other supporting materials are submitted to the USPTO the same way. 
These additional documents may be submitted to the USPTO by first-class 
mail through the United States Postal Service. The USPTO estimates that 
the average first-class postage is 97 cents. Therefore the USPTO 
estimates that it will receive 10,000 responses per year, for a total 
of $9,700 (10,000 x $0.97) in postage costs.

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 will also become a matter of public record.

[[Page 11208]]

    Dated: February 24, 2011.
Susan K. Fawcett,
Records Officer, USPTO, Office of the Chief Information Officer.
[FR Doc. 2011-4458 Filed 2-28-11; 8:45 am]