[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 112 (Friday, June 10, 2011)]
[Pages 34062-34063]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2011-14387]



Patent and Trademark Office

Patent and Trademark Financial Transactions

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 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 9, 2011.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by any of the following methods:
     E-mail: [email protected]. Include ``0651-
0043 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 Matthew Lee, Office of Finance, United States 
Patent and Trademark Office, P.O. Box 1450, Alexandria, VA 22313-1450; 
by telephone at 571-272-6343; or by e-mail to [email protected]. 
Additional information about this collection is also available at 
http://www.reginfo.gov under ``Information Collection Review.''


I. Abstract

    Under 35 U.S.C. 41 and 15 U.S.C. 1113, the United States Patent and 
Trademark Office (USPTO) charges fees for processing and other services 
related to patents, trademarks, and information products. Customers may 
submit payments to the USPTO by several methods, including credit card, 
deposit account, electronic funds transfer (EFT), and paper check 
transactions. The provisions of 35 U.S.C. 41 and 15 U.S.C. 1113 are 
implemented in 37 CFR 1.16-1.28, 2.6-2.7, and 2.206-2.209.
    This information collection includes the Credit Card Payment Form 
(PTO-2038), which provides the public with a convenient way to submit a 
credit card payment for fees related to a patent, trademark, or 
information product. Customers may also submit credit card payments via 
the Electronic Credit Card Payment Form (PTO-2231) when using online 
systems through the USPTO Web site for paying fees related to patents, 
trademarks, or information products. The USPTO will not include credit 
card information submitted using the provided credit card payment forms 
among the patent or trademark records open to public inspection.
    Customers may establish a deposit account for making fee payments 
by completing a Deposit Account Application Form (PTO-2232) and sending 
the required information, initial deposit, and service fee to the 
USPTO. Deposit accounts eliminate the need to submit a check, credit 
card information, or other form of payment for each transaction with 
the USPTO. Additionally, in the event that a fee amount due is 
miscalculated, customers may authorize the USPTO to charge any 
remaining balance to the deposit account and therefore avoid the 
potential consequences of underpayment. As customers use their deposit 
accounts to make payments, they may deposit funds to replenish their 
accounts by mailing a check to the USPTO or making a deposit online via 
EFT using the Electronic Deposit Account Replenishment Form (PTO-2233) 
available at the USPTO Web site. Replenishments may not be made by 
credit card. Customers may close their deposit accounts by submitting a 
written request or by using the Deposit Account Closure Request Form 
    In addition to credit cards and deposit accounts, customers may 
also use EFT to make online fee payments to the USPTO. Customers must 
first establish a user profile with their banking information by 
submitting the EFT User Profile Form (PTO-2236) through the USPTO Web 
site. Once their profile is created, customers may use their User ID 
and password to perform EFT transactions.
    Under 37 CFR 1.26 and 2.209, the USPTO may refund fees paid by 
mistake or in excess of the required amount. In general, refunds of 
amounts larger than $25 are returned to the customer automatically 
using the same method as the original payment. For refund amounts of 
$25 or less, customers must submit a written request to the Refund 
Branch of the USPTO Office of Finance.
    In order to access and manage their financial activity records 
online, customers may create a Financial Profile through the USPTO Web 
site. Customers create a profile by registering a username and 
password, providing contact information, and specifying the types of 
notifications and alerts they would like to receive. After establishing 
a Financial Profile, customers may then add the relevant account 
information to the profile in order to track their credit card, deposit 
account, and EFT transactions with the USPTO.

II. Method of Collection

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

III. Data

    OMB Number: 0651-0043.
    Form Number(s): PTO-2038, PTO-2231, PTO-2232, PTO-2233, PTO-2234, 
    Type of Review: Revision of a currently approved collection.
    Affected Public: Individuals or households; businesses or other 
for-profits; and not-for-profit institutions.
    Estimated Number of Respondents: 1,849,771 responses per year. The 
USPTO estimates that approximately 20% of these responses will be from 
small entities.
    Estimated Time per Response: The USPTO estimates that it will take 
the public approximately two to six minutes (0.03 to 0.10 hours) to 
gather the necessary information, prepare the appropriate form or 
document, and submit the items in this collection to the USPTO.
    Estimated Total Annual Respondent Burden Hours: 55,901 hours.
    Estimated Total Annual Respondent Cost Burden: $2,962,753. The 
USPTO expects that 75% of the submissions for this information 
collection will be prepared by fee administrators/coordinators and that 
25% of the submissions will be prepared by paraprofessionals. Using 
those proportions and the estimated rates of $30 per hour for fee 
administrators/coordinators and $122 per hour for paraprofessionals, 
the USPTO estimates that the average rate for all respondents will be 
approximately $53 per hour. Using this estimated rate of $53 per

[[Page 34063]]

hour, the USPTO estimates that the respondent cost burden for 
submitting the information in this collection will be approximately 
$2,962,753 per year.

                                                                                     Estimated       Estimated
                     Item                         Estimated time for  response        annual       annual burden
                                                                                     responses         hours
Credit Card Payment Form (PTO-2038)..........  2 minutes........................         151,144           4,534
Electronic Credit Card Payment Form (PTO-      2 minutes........................       1,622,708          48,681
Deposit Account Application Form (PTO-2232)..  2 minutes........................             264               8
Deposit Account Replenishment................  2 minutes........................          31,281             938
Electronic Deposit Account Replenishment Form  2 minutes........................          33,250             998
Deposit Account Closure Request Form (PTO-     4 minutes........................             207              14
EFT User Profile Form (PTO-2236).............  2 minutes........................           1,489              45
Refund Request...............................  4 minutes........................           8,660             606
Financial Profiles...........................  6 minutes........................             768              77
    Totals...................................  .................................       1,849,771          55,901

    Estimated Total Annual Non-hour Respondent Cost Burden: $141,971. 
There are no capital start-up, maintenance, or recordkeeping costs 
associated with this information collection. However, this collection 
does have annual (non-hour) cost burden in the form of service fees 
associated with deposit accounts and returned payments as well as 
postage costs.
    There are service fees for setting up a deposit account at the 
USPTO, for not maintaining the minimum balance required for the deposit 
account, and for returned payments. The service charge to establish a 
deposit account is $10, and the USPTO estimates that it processes 264 
Deposit Account Application Forms annually, for a total of $2,640 per 
year. There is also a $25 service charge for deposit accounts that are 
below the minimum balance ($1,000 minimum balance for an unrestricted 
deposit account or $300 minimum balance for a restricted deposit 
account) at the end of the month. The USPTO estimates that it assesses 
4,273 of these low balance charges annually, for a total of $106,825 
per year. There is a $50 service charge for processing a payment 
refused (including a check returned ``unpaid'') or charged back by a 
financial institution. The USPTO estimates that it assesses 228 of 
these returned payment charges annually, for a total of $11,400 per 
year. The total estimated service fees for this collection are $120,865 
per year.
    Customers may incur postage costs when submitting the Credit Card 
Payment Form and other paper forms or requests to the USPTO by mail. 
Customers generally send the Credit Card Payment Form to the USPTO 
along with other documents related to the fee or service being paid for 
by credit card, but some customers may submit just the Credit Card 
Payment Form without additional supporting documents. The USPTO 
estimates that roughly 5 percent of the 151,144 paper Credit Card 
Payment Forms submitted annually may be mailed in by themselves, or 
approximately 7,557 per year. The USPTO estimates that it will receive 
an additional 40,412 submissions per year that may be mailed, including 
Deposit Account Application Forms, Deposit Account Replenishments, 
Deposit Account Closure Requests, and Refund Requests, for a total of 
47,969 mailed submissions per year. The USPTO estimates that the first-
class postage cost for a mailed submission will be 44 cents, for a 
total postage cost of approximately $21,106 per year.
    The total (non-hour) respondent cost burden for this collection in 
the form of service fees and postage costs is estimated to be $141,971 
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 7, 2011.
Susan K. Fawcett,
Records Officer, USPTO, Office of the Chief Information Officer.
[FR Doc. 2011-14387 Filed 6-9-11; 8:45 am]