[Federal Register Volume 82, Number 219 (Wednesday, November 15, 2017)]
[Pages 52889-52890]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2017-24693]



United States Patent and Trademark Office

Patent and Trademark Financial Transactions

ACTION: Proposed collection; comment request.


SUMMARY: The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), as 
required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, invites comments on a 
proposed extension of an existing information collection.

DATES: Written comments must be submitted on or before January 16, 

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.
     Federal Rulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov.
     Mail: Marcie Lovett, Records and Information Governance 
Division Director, Office of the Chief Technology Officer, United 
States Patent and Trademark Office, P.O. Box 1450, Alexandria, VA 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Requests for additional information 
should be directed to Matthew Lee, Office of Finance by email to 
[email protected] with ``0651-0043 comment'' in the subject line. 
Additional information about this collection is also available at 
http://www.reginfo.gov under ``Information Collection Review.''


I. Abstract

    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. Under 35 U.S.C. 41 and 15 U.S.C. 1113, the United States Patent 
and Trademark Office (USPTO) charges processing fees in the form of 
service charges related to deposit accounts and payments refused.
    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 USPTO Payment Page when using online systems through the USPTO Web 
site for paying fees related to patents, trademarks, or information 
    Customers may establish a deposit account for making fee payments 
online using Financial Manager at the USPTO Web site. Deposit accounts 
eliminate the need to submit a check, credit card, or other form of 
payment for each fee 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 Financial Manager at the USPTO Web site. Replenishments may not 
be made by credit card. Customers may close or withdraw funds from 
their deposit accounts online using Financial Manager at the USPTO Web 
    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 and submit their banking information 
online through Financial Manager at the USPTO Web site.
    Under 37 CFR 1.26 and 2.209, the USPTO may refund fees paid by 
mistake or in excess of the required amount. For refund requests 
customers may submit a written request to the Refund Branch of the 
USPTO Office of Finance.
    The USPTO deployed the Financial Manager system allowing customers 
to add, manage, and report on payment methods in their online user 
profiles at the USPTO Web site. After establishing a USPTO.gov account 
username and password, customers may add their credit card, deposit 
account, and EFT information to their account using the Financial 
Manager web interface. Customers may then manage and report on these 
stored payment methods online. The stored payment methods may be used 
when the customer conducts transactions with the USPTO.

II. Method of Collection

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

III. Data

    OMB Number: 0651-0043.
    IC Instruments and Forms: PTO-2038.
    Type of Review: Extension of a Previously Existing Information 
    Affected Public: Individuals or households; businesses or other 
for-profits; and not-for-profit institutions.
    Estimated Number of Respondents: 118,796 responses per year.
    Estimated Time per Response: The USPTO estimates that it will take 
the public approximately two to seven minutes (0.03 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: 4,395.83 hours.
    Estimated Total Annual Respondent (Hourly) Cost Burden: 
$293,993.33. The USPTO expects that 75% of the submission in this this 
collection will be prepared by financial administrators and that 25% 
will be prepared by

[[Page 52890]]

paraprofessionals/paralegals. The mean hourly rate for financial 
administrator is $40.84 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' 
Occupational Employment Statistics program (OES 15-1141). The mean 
hourly rate for paralegals is $145 according to the 2016 compensation 
survey by the National Association of Legal Assistants. Using those 
proportions and the estimated rates of $40.84 per hour for financial 
administrators and $145 per hour for paraprofessionals, the USPTO 
estimates that the average rate for all respondents will be 
approximately $66.88 per hour. Therefore, the USPTO estimates that the 
respondent cost burden for submitting the information in this 
collection will be approximately $293,993.33 per year.

                                                                         (a)                (b)     (a) x (b)/60 =                (d)    (c) x (d) = (e)
1...........................  Credit Card Payment Form...                  2             87,874           2,929.13              66.88        $195,900.44
2...........................  Deposit Account                              2             20,843             694.77              66.88          46,465.99
3...........................  Refund Request.............                  4              8,079             538.60              66.88          36,021.57
4...........................  Financial Manager Stored                     7              2,000             233.33              66.88          15,605.33
                               Payment Methods.
    Total...................  ...........................  .................            118,796           4,395.83  .................         293,993.33

    Estimated Total Annual (Non-hour) Respondent Cost Burden: 
$112,725.00. 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. In addition to the fee information 
discussed here, information about the deposit account rules is 
available through the USPTO Web site at: https://www.uspto.gov/learning-and-resources/fees-and-payment/deposit-account-rules-and-information
    There are service fees for not maintaining the minimum balance 
required for the deposit account and for returned payments. There is a 
$25 service charge for deposit accounts that are below the minimum 
balance at the end of the month. The USPTO estimates that it assesses 
3,600 of these low balance charges annually, for a total of $90,000 per 
year. There is also 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 128 of 
these returned payment charges annually, for a total of $6,400 per 
year. The total estimated service fees for this collection are $96,400 
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 87,874 paper Credit Card 
Payment Forms submitted annually may be mailed in; approximately 4,394 
per year. The USPTO estimates that it will receive an additional 28,922 
mailed submissions per year, including Deposit Account Replenishments 
and Refund Requests, for a total of 33,316 mailed submissions per year. 
The USPTO estimates that the first-class postage cost for a mailed 
submission will be $0.49, for a total postage cost of approximately 
$16,324.84 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 $112,724.84 per year.

IV. Request for Comments

    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.
    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.

Ivan King,
Acting Director, Records and Information Governance Division, Office of 
the Chief Information Officer.
[FR Doc. 2017-24693 Filed 11-14-17; 8:45 am]