[Federal Register Volume 86, Number 99 (Tuesday, May 25, 2021)]
[Pages 28084-28085]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2021-11047]



Patent and Trademark Office

[Docket No. PTO-C-2021-0031]

Patent and Trademark Public Advisory Committees

AGENCY: United States Patent and Trademark Office, Commerce.

ACTION: Request for nominations for the Patent and Trademark Public 
Advisory Committees.


SUMMARY: On November 29, 1999, the President signed into law the Patent 
and Trademark Office Efficiency Act (1999 Act), which, among other 
things, established two Public Advisory Committees to review the 
policies, goals, performance, budget, and user fees of the United 
States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) with respect to patents, in 
the case of the Patent Public Advisory Committee (PPAC), and 
trademarks, in the case of the Trademark Public Advisory Committee 
(TPAC), and to advise the Director of the USPTO on these matters (now 
codified in the United States Code). The America Invents Act Technical 
Corrections Act made several amendments to the 1999 Act, including the 
requirement that the terms of the USPTO Public Advisory Committee 
members be realigned by 2014, so that December 1 will be used as the 
start and end date, with terms staggered so that each year, three 
existing terms expire and three new terms begin on December 1. With 
this current notice, the USPTO is requesting nominations for up to 
three members of the PPAC and up to three members of the TPAC, for 
terms of three years that will begin on December 1, 2021.

DATES: Nominations must be electronically transmitted on or before July 
9, 2021.

ADDRESSES: Persons wishing to submit nominations will be required to 
electronically complete the appropriate Public Advisory Committee 

[[Page 28085]]

form by entering detailed information and qualifications at: https://tinyurl.com/ynae4a67 for the Patent Public Advisory Committee, or 
https://tinyurl.com/hcux6462 for the Trademark Public Advisory 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Cordelia Zecher, Acting Chief of 
Staff, Office of the Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual 
Property and Director of the USPTO, at 571-272-8600.

     Advise the Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual 
Property and Director of the USPTO on matters relating to policies, 
goals, performance, budget, and user fees of the USPTO relating to 
patents and trademarks, respectively (35 U.S.C. 5); and
     Within 60 days after the end of each fiscal year: (1) 
Prepare an annual report on matters listed above; (2) transmit the 
report to the Secretary of Commerce (Secretary), the President, and the 
Committees on the Judiciary of the Senate and the House of 
Representatives; and (3) publish the report in the Official Gazette of 
the USPTO. Id.

Public Advisory Committees

    The Public Advisory Committees are each composed of nine voting 
members who are appointed by the Secretary and serve at the pleasure of 
the Secretary for three-year terms. Members are eligible for 
reappointment for a second consecutive three-year term. The Public 
Advisory Committee members must be citizens of the United States and 
are chosen to represent the interests of diverse users of the USPTO 
with respect to patents, in the case of the PPAC, and trademarks, in 
the case of the TPAC. Members must represent small and large entity 
applicants located in the United States in proportion to the number of 
applications filed by such applicants. The Committees must include 
individuals with a ``substantial background and achievement in finance, 
management, labor relations, science, technology, and office 
automation.'' 35 U.S.C. 5(b)(3). Each of the Public Advisory Committees 
also includes three non-voting members representing each labor 
organization recognized by the USPTO. Administration policy discourages 
the appointment of federally registered lobbyists to agency advisory 
boards and commissions (Lobbyists on Agency Boards and Commissions, 
https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/blog/2009/09/23/lobbyists-agency-boards-and-commissions (Sept. 23, 2009); cf. E.O. 13490, 74 FR 4673 
(Jan. 21, 2009) (While Executive Order 13490 does not specifically 
apply to federally registered lobbyists appointed by agency or 
department heads, it sets forth the administration's general policy of 
decreasing the influence of special interests in the Federal 

Procedures and Guidelines of the PPAC and TPAC

    Each newly appointed member of the PPAC and TPAC will serve for a 
three-year term that begins on December 1, 2021, and ends on December 
1, 2024. As required by the 1999 Act, members of the PPAC and TPAC will 
receive compensation for each day (including travel time) they attend 
meetings or engage in the business of their Advisory Committee. The 
enabling statute states that members are to be compensated at the daily 
equivalent of the annual rate of basic pay in effect for level III of 
the Executive Schedule under 5 U.S.C. 5314. Committee members are 
compensated on an hourly basis, calculated at the daily rate. While 
away from home or their regular place of business, each member shall be 
allowed travel expenses, including per diem in lieu of subsistence, as 
authorized by 5 U.S.C. 5703.

Applicability of Certain Ethics Laws

    Public Advisory Committee members are Special Government Employees 
within the meaning of 18 U.S.C. 202. The following additional 
information includes several, but not all, of the ethics rules that 
apply to members, and assumes that members are not engaged in Public 
Advisory Committee business more than 60 days during any period of 365 
consecutive days.
     Each member will be required to file a confidential 
financial disclosure form within 30 days of appointment. 5 CFR 
2634.202(c), 2634.204, 2634.903, and 2634.904(b).
     Each member will be subject to many of the public 
integrity laws, including criminal bars against representing a party in 
a particular matter that comes before the member's committee and that 
involves at least one specific party. 18 U.S.C. 205(c); see also 18 
U.S.C. 207 for post-membership bars. Also, a member must not act on a 
matter in which the member (or any of certain closely related entities) 
has a financial interest. 18 U.S.C. 208.
     Representation of foreign interests may also raise issues. 
35 U.S.C. 5(a)(1) and 18 U.S.C. 219.

Meetings of the PPAC and TPAC

    Meetings of each Public Advisory Committee will take place at the 
call of the respective Committee Chair to consider an agenda set by 
that Chair. Meetings may be conducted in person, telephonically, 
online, or by other appropriate means. The meetings of each Public 
Advisory Committee will be open to the public, except each Public 
Advisory Committee may, by majority vote, meet in an executive session 
when considering personnel, privileged, or other confidential 
information. Nominees must have the ability to participate in Public 
Advisory Committee business through the internet.

Andrew Hirshfeld,
Commissioner for Patents, Performing the Functions and Duties of the 
Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of 
the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
[FR Doc. 2021-11047 Filed 5-24-21; 8:45 am]