[Federal Register Volume 83, Number 141 (Monday, July 23, 2018)]
[Pages 34834-34835]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2018-15612]



Patent and Trademark Office

Proposed Collection; Comment Request; Fee Deficiency Submissions

AGENCY: United States Patent and Trademark Office, Commerce.

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 to comment on the proposed renewal of this 
information collection, as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act.

DATES: Written comments must be submitted on or before September 21, 

ADDRESSES: Written comments may be submitted by any of the following 
     Email: [email protected]. Include ``0070 Fee 
Deficiency Submissions'' in the subject line of the message.
     Federal Rulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov.
     Mail: Marcie Lovett, Director, Records and Information 
Governance Division, 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 Raul Tamayo, Senior Legal Advisor, Office of 
Patent Legal Administration, United States Patent and Trademark Office 
(USPTO), P.O. Box 1450, Alexandria, VA 22313- 1450; by telephone at 
571-272-7728; or by email at [email protected] with ``Information 
Collection: 0070'' in the subject line. Additional information about 
this collection is also available at http://www.reginfo.gov under 
``Information Collection Review.''


I. Abstract

    The Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (``Act'') was enacted into law 
on September 16, 2011 (Pub. L. 112-29, 125 Stat. 283 (2011)). Under 
section 10(b) of the Act, eligible small entities shall receive a 50 
percent fee reduction from the undiscounted fees for filing, searching, 
examining, issuing, appealing, and maintaining patent applications and 
patents. The Act further provides that micro entities shall receive a 
75 percent fee reduction from the undiscounted fees for filing, 
searching, examining, issuing, appealing, and maintaining patent 
applications and patents.
    This information collection covers the submissions made by patent 
applicants and patentees to excuse fee payment errors that result from 
changes in their small or micro entity status, in accordance with the 
procedures set forth in 37 CFR 1.28(c) and 1.29(k). Specifically, 37 
CFR 1.28(c) provides a procedure by which patent applicants and 
patentees may be excused for erroneous payments of fees in the small 
entity amount. 37 CFR 1.29(k) provides a procedure by which patent 
applicants and patentees may be excused for erroneous payments of fees 
in the micro entity amount.
    Applicants who change their entity status may need to submit 
additional payments in order to have their applications associated with 
the correct category. A small or micro entity can be established in 
good faith, and a patent applicant pay a maintenance fee as a small or 
micro entity in good faith but later discover that such status was 
established in error or that through errors USPTO was not notified of a 
loss of entitlement to such status. The USPTO will excuse the error if 
a deficiency payment and other requirements are submitted in compliance 
with 37 CFR 1.28(c) or 1.29(k). This is known as a ``1.28(c) petition'' 
or ``1.29(k) petition.''
    Thus, this information collection is necessary so that patent 
applicants and patentees may pay the balance of fees due (i.e., fee 
deficiency payment) in instances when the micro or small entity fee 
amount was paid in error. The USPTO requires the information in order 
to process and properly record a fee deficiency payment, and to avoid 
questions arising later, either for the USPTO or for the applicant or 
patentee as to whether the proper fees have been paid in the 
application or patent. Failure to correct to the error in entity status 
will result in the charging of patent application fees that correspond 
with the correct entity status at the discretion of the Agency. If 
these fees are not paid, patent protection lapses and rights provided 
by the patent are no longer enforceable.

II. Method of Collection

    The items in this collection may be submitted online using EFS-Web, 
the USPTO's Web-based electronic filing system, or on paper by either 
mail or hand delivery.

III. Data

    OMB Number: 0651-0070.
    IC Instruments: There are no forms in this collection.
    Type of Review: Renewal of a previously existing information 
    Affected Public: Businesses or other for-profits; not-for-profit 
institutions; individuals or households.
    Estimated Number of Respondents: 2,500 responses per year. Of this 
total, the USPTO expects that 2,450 responses will be submitted 
electronically through EFS-Web and 50 will be submitted on paper.
    Estimated Time per Response: The USPTO estimates that it will take 
the public approximately 2 hours to submit the information in this 

[[Page 34835]]

including the time to gather the necessary information, prepare the 
appropriate form or petition, and submit the completed request to the 
    The time per response, estimated annual responses, and estimated 
annual hour burden associated with each instrument in this information 
collection is shown in the table below.
    Estimated Total Annual Hour Burden: 5,000 hours.
    Estimated Total Annual Cost Burden (Hourly): $2,190,000.00. The 
USPTO expects that attorneys will complete the instruments associated 
with this information collection. The professional hourly rate used for 
the calculation is the $438 average rate for attorneys in private firms 
as published in the 2017 Report of the Economic Survey by the American 
Intellectual Property Law Association (AIPLA). Using this hourly rate, 
the USPTO estimates $2,190,000.00 per year for the total hourly costs 
associated with respondents.

                                                                    Estimated time     Estimated
             IC No.              Information collection instrument   for response       annual       Estimated annual    Rate ($/hr)   Total cost ($/hr)
                                                                        (hours)        responses       burden hours
                                 .................................             (a)             (b)    (a) x (b) = (c)             (d)    (c) x (d) = (e)
1..............................  Submissions Under 37 CFR 1.28(c).               2           1,875              3,750         $438.00      $1,642,500.00
2..............................  Submissions Under 37 CFR 1.29(k).               2             625              1,250          438.00         547,500.00
    Total......................  .................................  ..............           2,500              5,000  ..............       2,190,000.00

    Estimated Total Annual Cost Burden (Non-Hourly): $335.00. There are 
no capital startup, maintenance, or operating fees are associated with 
this collection. There are, however, postage costs associated with this 
collection. Specifically, customers may incur postage costs when 
submitting the information in this collection to the USPTO by mail 
through the United States Postal Service. The USPTO estimates that the 
average first class postage cost for a one-pound, priority mail 
submission will be $6.70 and approximately 60 submissions will be 
submitted to the USPTO requiring postage.

                                   Information collection                                        Total non-hour
           IC No.                        instrument            Responses (yr)   Postage costs   cost burden (yr)
                              ...............................             (a)             (b)    (a) x (b) = (c)
1...........................  Submissions Under 37 CFR                     38           $6.70            $254.60
2...........................  Submissions Under 37 CFR                     12            6.70              80.40
    Total...................  ...............................              50  ..............             335.00

    Therefore, the USPTO estimates that the total annual (non-hour) 
cost burden for this collection, in the form of postage costs is 
$335.00 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, 
including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used; (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, including through the use of automated 
collection techniques or other forms of information technology, e.g., 
permitting electronic submission of responses.
    Comments submitted in response to this notice will be summarized or 
included in the request for OMB approval of this information 
collection; they will also become a matter of public record.

Marcie Lovett,
Director, Records and Information Governance Division, Office of the 
Chief Technology Officer, USPTO.
[FR Doc. 2018-15612 Filed 7-20-18; 8:45 am]