[Federal Register Volume 84, Number 22 (Friday, February 1, 2019)]
[Pages 1072-1073]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2019-00611]



Patent and Trademark Office

Patents External Quality Survey

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 April 2, 2019.

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, Director, Records and Information 
Governance Division, Office of the Chief Administrative 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 David Fitzpatrick, Management Analyst, Office of 
Patent Quality Assurance, United States Patent and Trademark Office, 
P.O. Box 1450, Alexandria, VA 22313-1450; by telephone at 571-272-0525; 
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 gauges customer 
satisfaction with respect to examination quality. It uses a 
longitudinal, rotating panel design to assess changes in customer 
perceptions, identify areas for improvement, and pinpoint key areas for 
additional examiner training. Participants of this survey include 
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. The USPTO also plans to survey independent inventors. 
The USPTO does not survey foreign entities.
    From the Patent Application and Location Management (PALM) 
database, the USPTO draws a random sample of firms and entities that 
have filed more than 6 patent applications in a 12-month period. These 
firms and entities typically represent 95% of total domestic patent 
applications filed over the same period. The Patents External Quality 
Survey uses a rotating panel design in order to measure changes in the 
quality of USPTO's work over time. Customers participate in two 
consecutive data collection periods (waves) before rotating out of the 
panel. Each wave is conducted over a two month period. One wave occurs 
during the months of January and February and the other wave occurs 
during July and August. The rotating panel design means that for each 
wave, 50 percent of the panel have participated in a prior wave and 50 
percent are being surveyed for the first time. At the next panel 
rotation, the 50 percent of customers who have participated in two 
consecutive waves will be dropped, and the panel will be refreshed.
    Respondents receive the Patents External Quality Survey by mail and 
can respond either by mail or electronically on the USPTO website. A 
survey packet containing the questionnaire, a separate cover letter 
prepared by the Deputy Commissioner for Patent Quality, a postage-paid, 
pre-addressed return envelope, and instructions for completing the 
survey electronically are mailed to all respondents. A pre-notification 
letter, reminder/thank you postcards, and telephone calls are used to 
encourage a response.
    This is a voluntary survey and all responses remain confidential. 
The collected data is not linked to the respondent, and contact 
information that is used for sampling purposes is 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. Instead, in order to access and complete the 
online survey, respondents must 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 forms.
    Type of Review: Extension of an existing information collection.
    Affected Public: Individuals or households; businesses or other 
for-profits; and non-profit institutions.
    Estimated Number of Respondents: 2,500 responses per year.
    Estimated Time per Response: The USPTO estimates that it will take 
the public 10 minutes (.17 hours) to respond to the survey, including 
the time to gather the necessary information along with completing and 
submitting the survey. 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: 416.67 hours.
    Estimated Total Annual Respondent (Hourly) Cost Burden: 
$182,501.46. The USPTO expects that attorneys will complete these 
applications. The professional hourly rate for attorneys is $438. The 
rate is established by estimates in the 2017 Report on the Economic 
Survey, published by the Committee on Economics of Legal Practice of 
the American Intellectual Property Law Association. Using this hourly 
rate, the USPTO estimates that the total respondent cost burden for 
this collection is $182,501.46 per year.

[[Page 1073]]

                                                                                                           Burden (hrs/
                IC No.                                Item                     Hours      Responses (yr)        yr)         Rate ($/hr)     Total cost
                                        ................................             (a)             (b)     (c) = (a) x             (d)     (e) = (c) x
                                                                                                                     (b)                             (d)
1.....................................  Patents External Quality Survey.            0.17             325           54.17         $438.00      $23,726.46
2.....................................  Electronic Patents External                 0.17           2,175          362.50          438.00      158,775.00
                                         Quality Survey.
    Total.............................  ................................  ..............           2,500          416.67  ..............      182,501.46

    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:
    (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.

Marcie Lovett,
Director, Records and Information Governance Division, Office of the 
Chief Administrative Officer, USPTO.
[FR Doc. 2019-00611 Filed 1-31-19; 8:45 am]