[Federal Register Volume 80, Number 196 (Friday, October 9, 2015)]
[Pages 61177-61178]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2015-25826]

[[Page 61177]]



United States Patent and Trademark Office

Patents External Quality 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 this extension of a 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 December 8, 

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by any of the following methods:
     Email: [email protected]. Include `0651-0057 
comment' in the subject line of the message.
     Federal Rulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov.
     Mail: Marcie Lovett, Records Management Division Director, 
Office of the Chief Information Officer, United States Patent and 
Trademark Office, P.O. Box 1450, Alexandria, VA 22313-1450.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Requests for additional information 
should be directed to Martin Rater, Management Analyst, Office of 
Patent Quality Assurance, United States Patent and Trademark Office, 
P.O. Box 1450, Alexandria, VA 22313- 1450; by telephone at 571-272-
5966; or by email to [email protected], with ``0651-0057 comment'' 
in the subject line. Additional information about this collection is 
also available at http://www.reginfo.gov under ``Information Collection 


I. Abstract

    The USPTO developed the Patents External Quality Survey in 2006 as 
part of its quality improvement efforts. This survey narrows the focus 
of customer satisfaction to examination quality and uses a 
longitudinal, rotating panel design to assess changes in customer 
perceptions and to identify key areas for examiner training and 
opportunities for improvement. The USPTO plans to survey patent agents, 
attorneys, and other individuals from large domestic corporations 
(including those with 500+ employees), small and medium-size 
businesses, and universities and other non-profit research 
organizations. In addition, the USPTO also plans to survey independent 
inventors. The USPTO does not plan to survey foreign entities.
    The USPTO will draw a random sample of these customers from their 
database. Due to the rotating panel design, some sample members will be 
surveyed twice in order to measure change over a period of time. Each 
year of the survey will include two waves of data collection.
    The Patents External Quality Survey is a mail survey, although 
respondents can also complete the survey electronically on the Web. The 
content of both versions will be identical. A survey packet containing 
the questionnaire, a separate cover letter prepared by the Deputy 
Commissioner of Patent Quality, a postage-paid, pre-addressed return 
envelope, and instructions for completing the survey electronically 
will be mailed to all sample members. A pre-notification letter, 
reminder/thank you postcards, and telephone calls will be used to 
encourage response from sample members.
    This is a voluntary survey and all responses will remain 
confidential. The collected data will not be linked to the respondent 
and contact information that is used for sampling purposes will be 
maintained in a separate file from the quantitative data. Respondents 
are not required to provide any identifying information such as their 
name, address, or Social Security Number. In order to access and 
complete the online survey, respondents will need to use the username, 
password, and survey ID number provided by the USPTO.

II. Method of Collection

    Electronically via email; by postal mail, facsimile, or hand 
delivery in paper form.

III. Data

    OMB Number: 0651-0057.
    IC Instruments and Forms: No form numbers.
    Type of Review: Revision of a currently previously existing 
Information Collection.
    Affected Public: Individuals or households; businesses or other 
for-profits; and non-profit institutions.
    Estimated Number of Respondents: 3,100 responses per year.
    Estimated Time per Response: The USPTO estimates that it will take 
the public 10 minutes (.17 hours) to submit a single item in this 
collection, including: The time to gather the necessary information, 
prepare the appropriate form or petition, and submit the completed 
request to the USPTO. The time per response, estimated annual 
responses, and estimated annual hour burden associated with each 
instrument in this collection are shown in the table below.
    Estimated Total Annual Respondent Burden Hours: 516.67 hours.
    Estimated Total Annual Respondent (Hourly) Cost Burden: 
$211,834.70. The USPTO expects that attorneys will complete these 
applications. The professional hourly rate for attorneys is $410. Using 
this hourly rate, the USPTO estimates that the total respondent cost 
burden for this collection is $211,834.70 per year.

                                                                     Responses     Burden  (hrs/
          IC No.                    Item               Hours           (yr)             yr)        Rate  ($/hr)
                           .....................             (a)             (b)   (c) (a) x (b)             (d)
1........................  Patents External                 0.17             465            77.5         $410.00
                            Quality Survey.
2........................  Electronic Patents               0.17           2,635          439.17          410.00
                            External Quality
    Total................  .....................  ..............           3,100          516.67  ..............

    Estimated Total Annual (Non-hour) Respondent Cost Burden: $0. There 
are no annual (non-hour) costs associated with this information 
collection. Respondents do not need to submit filing fees with these 
surveys. The USPTO covers the costs of all survey materials and 
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:

[[Page 61178]]

    (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: October 2, 2015.
Marcie Lovett,
Records Management Division Director, USPTO, Office of the Chief 
Information Officer.
[FR Doc. 2015-25826 Filed 10-8-15; 8:45 am]