[Federal Register Volume 86, Number 13 (Friday, January 22, 2021)]
[Pages 6636-6637]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2021-01305]



Patent and Trademark Office

[Docket No. PTO-T-2020-0043]

Sovereign Immunity Study

AGENCY: Patent and Trademark Office, Department of Commerce.

ACTION: Request for information.


SUMMARY: The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) 
published a notice in the Federal Register on November 5, 2020, 
requesting information on the extent to which patent or trademark 
rights holders are experiencing infringement by state entities without 
adequate remedies under state law, and the extent to which such 
infringements appear to be based on intentional or reckless conduct. 
With this new notice, the USPTO is supplementing the previous notice 
with additional questions.

DATES: Comment date: Written comments must be received on or before 
February 22, 2021.

ADDRESSES: For reasons of government efficiency, comments must be 
submitted through the Federal eRulemaking Portal at 
www.regulations.gov. To submit comments via the portal, enter docket 
number PTO-T-2020-0043 on the homepage and click ``search.'' The site 
will provide a search results page listing all documents associated 
with this docket. Find a reference to this Request for Information and 
click on the ``Comment Now!'' icon, complete the required fields, and 
enter or attach your comments. Attachments to electronic comments will 
be accepted in ADOBE[supreg] portable document format or MICROSOFT 
WORD[supreg] format. Because comments will be made available for public 
inspection, information that the submitter does not desire to make 
public, such as an address or phone number, should not be included in 
the comments.
    Visit the Federal eRulemaking Portal (www.regulations.gov) for 
additional instructions on providing comments via the portal. If 
electronic submission of comments is not feasible due to a lack of 
access to a computer and/or the internet, please contact the USPTO 
using the contact information below for special instructions regarding 
how to submit comments by mail or by hand delivery, based on the 
public's ability to obtain access to USPTO facilities at the time.
    Submissions of Business Confidential Information: Any submissions 
containing business confidential information must be marked 
``confidential treatment requested'' and submitted through 
www.regulations.gov. Submitters should provide an index listing the 
document(s) or information they would like the USPTO to withhold. The 
index should include information such as numbers used to identify the 
relevant document(s) or information, document title and description, 
and relevant page numbers and/or section numbers within a document. 
Submitters should provide a statement explaining their grounds for 
objecting to the disclosure of the information to the public as well. 
The USPTO also requests that submitters of business confidential

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information include a non-confidential version (either redacted or 
summarized) that will be available for public viewing and posted on 
www.regulations.gov. In the event that the submitter cannot provide a 
non-confidential version of its submission, the USPTO requests that the 
submitter post a notice in the docket stating that it has provided the 
USPTO with business confidential information. Should a submitter either 
fail to docket a non-confidential version of its submission or to post 
a notice that business confidential information has been provided, the 
USPTO will note the receipt of the submission on the docket with the 
submitter's organization or name (to the degree permitted by law) and 
the date of submission.
    Anonymous submissions: The USPTO will accept anonymous submissions. 
Enter ``N/A'' in the required fields if you wish to remain anonymous.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Laura Hammel, by telephone at 571-272-

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: At the request of Senators Thom Tillis and 
Patrick Leahy, the USPTO is undertaking a study of the extent to which 
patent or trademark rights holders are experiencing infringement by 
state entities without adequate remedies under state law, and the 
extent to which such infringements appear to be based on intentional or 
reckless conduct.
    On November 5, 2020, the USPTO published a notice in the Federal 
Register seeking public input on these matters. See 85 FR 70589 (Nov. 
5, 2020). That notice set forth various questions relevant to the 
study. The USPTO appreciates the submissions received to date in 
response to that notice and will consider them in preparing the study. 
In addition, the USPTO now invites interested members of the public to 
respond to questions posed in that notice, and/or to the below 
questions. The public can also provide any other information it 
believes to be relevant.
    1. If you are a patent or trademark right holder, has a state 
government or state entity ever used your patent or trademark without 
permission? If yes: (a) Did you pursue legal action for that use? Why 
or why not? (b) Were you able to seek relief under state law? (c) Did 
the availability of the defense of sovereign immunity deter you from 
litigating the matter in federal court?
    2. As a state or state entity, do you believe that (a) your state 
or state entity has policies or practices that provide safeguards 
against the intentional or reckless infringement of patents and 
trademarks, and (b) relevant state laws provide adequate remedies if 
infringement occurs?

Andrei Iancu,
Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of 
the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
[FR Doc. 2021-01305 Filed 1-21-21; 8:45 am]