[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 171 (Thursday, September 4, 2014)]
[Pages 52636-52637]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-21048]



 Patent and Trademark Office

Proposed Collection; Comment Request

ACTION: Notice.


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 November 3, 

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by any of the following methods:
     Email: [email protected]. Include ``0651-New 
comment'' in the subject line of the message.
     Mail: Marcie Lovett, Records 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 Michael Easdale, Office of 
Patent Quality Assurance, United States Patent and Trademark Office, 
P.O. Box 1450, Alexandria, VA 22313-1450; by telephone at 571-272-3533; 
or by email to [email protected] with ``Paperwork'' in the 
subject line.


I. Abstract

    The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) designed and 
developed the Patents Ombudsman Program in response to customer 
feedback that the prosecution of patent applications does not always 
proceed in accordance with established procedures. In some situations, 
the patent applicants, attorneys, and agents have felt that examination 
has stalled and their efforts to move their applications forward 
through the normal channels have not been effective. The objectives

[[Page 52637]]

of the Patents Ombudsman Program are: (1) To facilitate complaint-
handling for pro se applicants and applicant's representatives whose 
applications have stalled in the examination process; (2) to track 
complaints to ensure each is handled within ten business days; (3) to 
provide feedback and early warning alerts to USPTO management regarding 
training needs based on complaint trends; and (4) to build a database 
of frequently asked questions accessible to the public that give 
commonly seen problems and effective resolutions.
    The USPTO Ombudsman survey is a key component of the process 
evaluation, providing a program monitoring system and identifying 
potential opportunities for program enhancement. This survey is being 
conducted by the USPTO's Ombudsman Program and will be developed, 
administered, and summarized by USPTO personnel. A survey is the only 
way the USPTO can gain consistent, reliable, and representative 
information from the customers choosing to use the Ombudsman Program.
    There are no statutes or regulations requiring the USPTO to conduct 
this usage and satisfaction measurement. The USPTO will use the survey 
instrument to implement Executive Order 12862 of September 11, 1993, 
Setting Customer Service Standards, published in the Federal Register 
on September 14, 1993 (Vol. 58, No. 176).

II. Method of Collection

    Electronic email submission to the USPTO.

III. Data

    OMB Number: 0651--New.
    Form Number(s): No form numbers.
    Type of Review: New collection.
    Affected Public: Individuals or households; businesses or other 
for-profits; and not-for-profit institutions.
    Estimated Number of Respondents: 1,100 responses per year. A final 
respondent pool from approximately 3,000 inquiries would likely be 
around 1,800 unique customers. Assuming a 60% response rate, 1,100 of 
the 1,800 unique users will respond which should ensure adequate 
representation across all Technology Centers.
    Estimated Time per Response: The USPTO estimates that it will take 
the public approximately 5 minutes (.083 hours) to submit the 
information in this collection, including the time to gather the 
necessary information, prepare the appropriate form or document, and 
submit the completed request to the USPTO.
    Estimated Total Annual Respondent Burden Hours: 91.67 hours.
    Estimated Total Annual Respondent Cost Burden: $29,608.33. The 
USPTO believes that both professionals and para-professionals will 
complete these surveys, at a rate of 75% of the current professional 
rate of $389 per hour and 25% of the para-professional rate of $125 per 
hour. The professional hourly rate used for the calculation is the 
median rate for attorneys in private firms as published in the 2013 
AIPLA Economic Survey. This report summarized the results of a survey 
with data on hourly billing rates. The para-professional hourly rate 
comes from 2013 report published by the National Association of Legal 
    The hourly rate for professionals, calculating 75% of $389, totals 
$291.75, while the hourly rate for the para-professionals, calculating 
25% of $125, totals $31.25, for a combined hourly rate of $323. The 
USPTO estimates that the respondent cost burden for this collection 
will be $29,608.33 per year (1,100 responses * .083 hours * $323).

                                                             Estimated time
                           Item                               for response    Estimated annual  Estimated annual
                                                                (minutes)         responses       burden hours
Ombudsman Survey..........................................                 5             1,100             91.67
    Totals................................................  ................             1,100             91.67

    Estimated Total Annual Non-Hour Respondent Cost Burden: $0. There 
are no capital start-up, maintenance, postage, or recordkeeping 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 also will become a matter of public record.

    Dated: August 27, 2014.
Marcie Lovett,
Records Officer, USPTO, Office of the Chief Information Officer, United 
States Patent and Trademark Office.
[FR Doc. 2014-21048 Filed 9-3-14; 8:45 am]