[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 29 (Wednesday, February 12, 2014)]
[Pages 8439-8441]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-03070]



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 April 14, 2014.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by any of the following methods:
     Email: [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 email 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.

[[Page 8440]]

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, sending funds via wire 
transfer, 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 (PTO-2234). The USPTO is 
also adding the Deposit Account Withdrawal Request to this collection 
to allow customers to remove funds from their deposit accounts without 
closing the entire account.
    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.
    The USPTO is currently developing a new MyFinancials system that 
will allow customers to add, manage, and report on payment methods in 
their online user profiles at the USPTO Web site. After establishing a 
USPTO username and password, customers may add their credit card, 
deposit account, and EFT information to their profile using the 
MyFinancials web interface. Customers may then manage and report on 
these stored payment methods online. In the future, the USPTO will 
deploy additional functionality that will allow the stored payment 
methods to be used when the customer conducts transactions with the 
    Once the MyFinancials system is deployed, the information that 
customers currently submit using the Deposit Account Application Form 
(PTO-2232) and the EFT User Profile Form (PTO-2236) will be integrated 
into the MyFinancials interface, eliminating the need for these 
separate forms and thereby streamlining the process of setting up those 
payment methods. When those separate forms are no longer necessary, the 
USPTO will remove them from this collection.

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: 2,590,950 responses per year. The 
USPTO estimates that approximately 21% of these responses will be from 
small entities.
    Estimated Time per Response: The USPTO estimates that it will take 
the public approximately one to seven minutes (0.02 to 0.12 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: 77,925 hours.
    Estimated Total Annual Respondent Cost Burden: $4,130,025. 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. Therefore, the USPTO estimates that the 
respondent cost burden for submitting the information in this 
collection will be approximately $4,130,025 per year.

                                                                  Estimated time     Estimated       Estimated
                              Item                                 for response       annual       annual burden
                                                                     (minutes)       responses         hours
Credit Card Payment Form (PTO-2038).............................               2         103,115           3,093
Electronic Credit Card Payment Form (PTO-2231)..................               2       2,412,213          72,366
Deposit Account Application Form (PTO-2232).....................               2             284               9
Deposit Account Replenishment...................................               2          29,210             876
Electronic Deposit Account Replenishment Form (PTO-2233)........               1          34,339             687
Deposit Account Closure Request Form (PTO-2234).................               1             162               3
Deposit Account Withdrawal Request..............................               1              33               1
EFT User Profile Form (PTO-2236)................................               3           1,320              66
Refund Request..................................................               4           8,181             573
MyFinancials Stored Payment Methods.............................               7           2,093             251
    Totals......................................................  ..............       2,590,950          77,925

[[Page 8441]]

    Estimated Total Annual Non-hour Respondent Cost Burden: $130,138. 
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 284 
Deposit Account Application Forms annually, for a total of $2,840 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 
4,000 of these low balance charges annually, for a total of $100,000 
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 129 of 
these returned payment charges annually, for a total of $6,450 per 
year. The total estimated service fees for this collection are $109,290 
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 103,115 paper Credit Card 
Payment Forms submitted annually may be mailed in by themselves, or 
approximately 5,156 per year. The USPTO estimates that it will receive 
an additional 37,391 submissions per year that may be mailed, including 
Deposit Account Replenishments and Refund Requests, for a total of 
42,547 mailed submissions per year. The USPTO estimates that the first-
class postage cost for a mailed submission will be 49 cents, for a 
total postage cost of approximately $20,848 per year.
    The total annual (non-hour) respondent cost burden for this 
collection in the form of service fees and postage costs is estimated 
to be approximately $130,138 per year.

IV. Request for Comments

    Comments submitted in response to this notice will be summarized 
and/or included in the request for OMB approval. All comments will 
become a matter of public record.
    The USPTO is soliciting public comments to: (a) Evaluate whether 
the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper 
performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the 
information will have practical utility; (b) Evaluate the accuracy of 
the agency's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of 
information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions 
used; (c) Enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information 
to be collected; and (d) Minimize the burden of the collection of 
information on those who are to respond, including through the use of 
appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological 
collection techniques or other forms of information technology, e.g., 
permitting electronic submission of responses.

    Dated: February 7, 2014.
Susan K. Fawcett,
Records Officer, USPTO, Office of the Chief Information Officer.
[FR Doc. 2014-03070 Filed 2-11-14; 8:45 am]