[Federal Register Volume 84, Number 219 (Wednesday, November 13, 2019)]
[Pages 61599-61600]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2019-24618]



United States Patent and Trademark Office

Pro Bono Survey

ACTION: Notice of renewal of information 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 revision and extension of an existing information collection: 
0651-0082 (Pro Bono Survey).

DATES: Written comments must be submitted on or before January 13, 

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by any of the following methods:
     Email: [email protected]. Include ``0651-
0082 comment'' in the subject line of the message.
     Federal Rulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov.
     Mail: Marcie Lovett, Chief, Records and Information 
Governance Branch, 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 James M. Silbermann, Senior Counsel for 
Enrollment and Intellectual Property Legal Services, Office of 
Enrollment and Discipline, United States Patent and Trademark Office, 
P.O. Box 1450, Alexandria, VA 22313-1450; by telephone at (571) 272-
4097; or by email to [email protected] with ``0651-0082 
comment'' 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 (AIA), Public Law 112-29 Sec.  
32 (2011) directs the USPTO to work with and support intellectual 
property law associations across the country in the establishment of 
pro bono programs designed to assist financially under-resourced 
independent inventors and small businesses. To support this, the 
USPTO--in collaboration with various non-profit organizations--has 
established a series of autonomous regional hubs that act as 
matchmakers to help connect low-income inventors with volunteer patent 
attorneys across the United States. The regional hubs comprise law 
school IP clinics, bar associations, innovation/entrepreneurial 
organizations, and arts-focused lawyer referral services that are 
strategically located to provide access to patent pro bono services 
across all fifty states and the District of Columbia. Additionally, the 
Study of Underrepresented Classes Chasing Engineering and Science 
Success Act (SUCCESS Act), Public Law 115-273 (2018) directs the agency 
to provide recommendations on how to increase the number of women, 
minorities, and veterans who apply for and obtain patents.
    To support the purposes described above, the pro bono survey would 
continue to collect information regarding the activity of the regional 
hubs. The USPTO has worked with the Pro Bono Advisory Council (PBAC) to 
determine what information is necessary to ascertain the effectiveness 
of each regional pro bono hub's matchmaking operations. PBAC is a well-
established group of patent practitioners and patent pro bono regional 
hub administrators who have committed to provide support and guidance 
to patent pro bono programs across the country. The data presently 
gathered, and which would continue, provides USPTO with valuable 
information, including the number of inventor inquires, referral 
sources, number of applicants successfully matched with attorneys, and 
types of patent filing activity. PBAC, in conjunction with the regional 
hubs, is responsible for the collection of this information, which is 
collected on a quarterly basis. The information, at its highest level, 
will allow PBAC and the USPTO to ascertain whether the regional hubs 
are matching qualified low-income inventors with volunteer patent 
attorneys and help establish the total economic benefit derived by low-
income inventors in the form of donated legal services. This 
information also helps the USPTO determine which

[[Page 61600]]

regional hubs are operating efficiently and which programs need 
additional support by ascertaining the effectiveness of each individual 
regional hub with respect to their matchmaking efforts.
    Additionally, USPTO is proposing to revise the existing information 
collection to gather information regarding gender, ethnicity, race, and 
veteran status. Each regional hub will be requesting demographic 
information for those seeking assistance that will be self-identified 
by the applicant. This requested standardized demographic information 
will be part of the overall application materials that each independent 
inventor fills out when seeking pro bono assistance. This information 
will also be used to help determine the extent to which the pro bono 
program is helping women, minorities, and veterans apply for patents.

II. Method of Collection

    This survey will be conducted electronically through a web form 
created to support this survey.

III. Data

    OMB Number: 0651-0082.
    IC Instruments and Forms: The individual instrument in this 
collection, as well as its associated form, is listed in the table 
    Type of Review: Extension of an existing information collection.
    Affected Public: Not-for-profit institutions.
    Estimated Number of Respondents: 1106 total respondents. An 
estimated 20 regional hubs will provide quarterly responses to USPTO 
(the PBAC Administrator Survey). This results in 80 responses from 
regional hubs per year. In addition, an estimated 1026 applicants will 
provide demographic data in their applications directly to the regional 
hubs as part of their individual applications for pro bono assistance, 
resulting in 1026 responses from applicants per year.
    Estimated Time per Response: The USPTO estimates that it will take 
two hours to complete the PBAC Administrator Survey, including time 
needed to gather the necessary information, enter it into the 
information collection instrument, and submit it. The USPTO estimates 
that it will take approximately one minute for applicants to answer the 
demographic questions.
    Estimated Total Annual Respondent Burden Hours: 177.10 hours.
    Estimated Total Annual Respondent (Hourly) Cost Burden: 
$8,866.44.00. The USPTO expects that regional program administrators 
will complete these applications. The professional hourly rate for a 
regional program administrator is $50.11. The rate for administrators 
(BLS 11-0000) is based the BLS 2018 National Occupation and Employment 
and Wage Estimates. The hourly rate for the demographic survey uses the 
estimated rate for independent inventors (the average of mean rates for 
Engineers and Scientists). Using this hourly rate, the USPTO estimates 
that the total respondent cost burden for this collection is 
$8,866.44.00 per year.

                                                     Information collection        time for    Estimated   Estimated  annual   Rate ($/
                    IC No.                                 instrument              response     annual       burden  hours        hr)         Totals
                                                                                   (minutes)   responses
                                                ................................         (a)         (b)   ((a x (b) / 60) =         (d)   (c x d) = (e)
1.............................................  Regional Program Administrator           120          80                 160      $50.11       $8,017.60
2.............................................  Demographic survey..............           1       1,026                17.1       49.64          848.84
    Total.....................................  ................................  ..........       1,106               177.1  ..........        8,866.44

    Estimated Total Annual (Non-hour) Respondent Cost Burden: 
$26,666.66. There is a startup cost for each regional hub to update 
their data collection form to capture demographic data. The USPTO 
estimates that each regional hub (20) will require, on average, 
$4,000.00 to update their web collection form. A total one-time cost of 
$80,000.00 is annualized over a three (3) year collection period, for 
an annual cost of $26,666.66. There are no maintenance, or operating 
fees associated with this collection, nor are there postage costs, 
filing fees, or processing fees.

IV. Request for Comments

    Comments submitted in response to this notice will be summarized 
and/or included in the request for OMB approval. All comments will 
become a matter of public record. USPTO invites public comments on:
    (a) Whether the collection of information is necessary for the 
proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether 
the information will have practical utility;
    (b) 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, e.g, including through the use of appropriate automated, 
electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or 
other forms of information technology, e.g., permitting electronic 
submission of responses.

Marcie Lovett,
Director, Records and Information Governance Branch, Office of the 
Chief Administrative Officer, USPTO.
[FR Doc. 2019-24618 Filed 11-12-19; 8:45 am]