[Federal Register Volume 87, Number 26 (Tuesday, February 8, 2022)]
[Pages 7159-7161]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2022-02607]



Patent and Trademark Office

Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission to the 
Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for Review and Approval; Comment 
Request; Practitioner Conduct and Discipline

AGENCY: United States Patent and Trademark Office, Department of 

ACTION: Notice of information collection; request for comment.


SUMMARY: The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), as 
required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, invites comments on 
the extension and revision of an existing information collection: 0651-
0017 (Practitioner Conduct and Discipline). The purpose of this notice 
is to allow 60 days for public comment preceding

[[Page 7160]]

submission of the information collection to OMB.

DATES: To ensure consideration, comments regarding this information 
collection must be received on or before April 11, 2022.

ADDRESSES: Interested persons are invited to submit written comments by 
any of the following methods. Do not submit Confidential Business 
Information or otherwise sensitive or protected information.
     Email: [email protected]. Include ``0651-
0017 comment'' in the subject line of the message.
     Federal Rulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov.
     Mail: Kimberly Hardy, Office of the Chief Administrative 
Officer, United States Patent and Trademark Office, P.O. Box 1450, 
Alexandria, VA 22313-1450.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Request for additional information 
should be directed to Dahlia George, 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 at 
[email protected] with ``0651-0017 comment'' in the subject line. 
Additional information about this information collection is also 
available at http://www.reginfo.gov under ``Information Collection 


I. Abstract

    The Director of the USPTO has the authority to establish 
regulations governing the conduct and discipline of agents, attorneys, 
or other persons representing applicants and other parties before the 
USPTO (35 U.S.C. 2 and 32-33). The USPTO Rules of Professional Conduct, 
set forth in subpart D, part 11 of title 37 of the Code of Federal 
Regulations, prescribe the manner in which agents, attorneys, and other 
practitioners, representing applicants and other parties before the 
USPTO should conduct themselves professionally. Part 11 outlines 
practitioners' responsibilities for recordkeeping and reporting 
violations or complaints of misconduct to the USPTO. Subpart C of part 
11 sets forth the manner by which the USPTO investigates misconduct and 
imposes discipline.
    The USPTO Rules of Professional Conduct require a practitioner to 
maintain complete records of all funds, securities, and other 
properties of clients coming into his or her possession, and to render 
appropriate accounts to the client regarding the funds, securities, and 
other properties of clients coming into the practitioner's possession, 
collectively known as ``client property.'' These recordkeeping 
requirements are necessary to maintain the integrity of client 
property. State bars require attorneys to perform similar 
    Part 11 also requires a practitioner to report knowledge of certain 
violations of the USPTO Rules of Professional Conduct to the USPTO. The 
Director of the Office of Enrollment and Discipline (OED) may, after 
notice and opportunity for a hearing, suspend, exclude, or disqualify 
any practitioner from further practice before the USPTO based on non-
compliance with the USPTO Rules of Professional Conduct. Practitioners 
who have been excluded or suspended from practice before the USPTO, 
practitioners transferred to disability inactive status, and 
practitioners who have resigned must keep and maintain records of their 
steps to comply with the suspension or exclusion order, transfer to 
disability inactive status, or resignation. These records are necessary 
to demonstrate eligibility for reinstatement. Reports of alleged 
violations of the USPTO Rules of Professional Conduct are used by the 
Director of OED to conduct investigations and disciplinary hearings, as 
    This information collection covers the various reporting and 
recordkeeping requirements set forth in Part 11 for practitioners 
representing applicants and other parties before the USPTO. Also 
covered are petitions for reinstatement for suspended or excluded 
practitioners and the means for reporting violations or complaints of 
misconduct to the USPTO.

II. Method of Collection

    Items in this information collection may be submitted via online 
electronic submissions. Applicants may also submit the information in 
paper form by mail, fax, or hand delivery.

III. Data

    OMB Control Number: 0651-0017.
    Forms: No forms.
    Type of Review: Extension and revision of a currently approved 
information collection.
    Affected Public: Individuals or households.
    Respondent's Obligation: Required to obtain or retain benefits.
    Estimated Number of Annual Respondents 13,190 respondents.
    Estimated Number of Annual Responses: 13,190 responses.
    Estimated Time per Response: The USPTO estimates that the responses 
in this information collection will take the public from approximately 
1 to 3 hours to complete. This includes the time to gather the 
necessary information, prepare the forms or documents, and submit the 
completed request to the USPTO.
    Estimated Total Annual Respondent Burden Hours: 14,192 hours.
    Estimated Total Annual Respondent Hourly Cost Burden: $6,173,520.

                             Table 1--Total Reporting Burden Hours and Hourly Costs to Individuals or Households Respondents
                                                 Estimated      Responses per      Estimated     time for     Estimated   Rate \1\ ($/  Estimated annual
     Item No.                 Item                annual          respondent        annual       response   burden (hour/    hour)      respondent cost
                                                respondents                        responses     (hours)        year)                        burden
                                                         (a)                (b)   (a) x (b) =          (d)   (c) x (d) =          (f)    (e) x (f) = (g)
                                                                                          (c)                        (e)
1.................  Complaint/Violation                  216                  1           216            3           648         $435           $281,880
2.................  Petition for                           5                  1             5            1             5          435              2,175
                     Reinstatement under the
                     Provisions Section
    Totals..................................             221  .................           221  ...........           653  ...........            284,055

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    The USPTO Rules of Professional Conduct require practitioner agents 
to maintain various records to maintain the integrity of client 
property and meet other requirements. Additional recordkeeping 
requirements are also given for practitioners who are under suspension 
or exclusion. The USPTO estimates that it will take a practitioner 
between 1 and 20 hours to perform these recordkeeping actions. 
Approximately 12,969 pracitioners require recordkeeping actions, for a 
total of 13,539 hours.

    \1\ 2021 Report of the Economic Survey, published by the 
Committee on Economics of Legal Practice of the American 
Intellectual Property Law Association (AIPLA); pg. F-27. The USPTO 
uses the average billing rate for intellectual property attorneys in 
private firms which is $435 per hour. (https://www.aipla.org/home/news-publications/economic-survey).

                           Table 2--Total Recordkeeping Burden Hours and Hourly Costs to Individuals or Households Respondents
                                                                       Estimated    Estimated time                                      Estimated annual
         Item No.                            Item                       annual       for response    Estimated burden   Rate \2\ ($/    respondent cost
                                                                       responses        (hours)        (hour/year)          hour)            burden
                                                                               (a)             (b)    (a) x (b) = (c)             (d)    (c) x (d) = (e)
3.........................  Recordkeeping Maintenance and                   12,939               1             12,939            $435         $5,628,465
                             Disclosure (includes advertisements,
                             disclosure requirements relating to
                             soliciting professional employment,
                             notifications by non-attorney
                             practitioner of inadvertently sent
                             documents, and financial books and
                             records such as trust accounts,
                             fiduciary accounts, and operating
4.........................  Recordkeeping Maintenance Regarding                 30              20                600             435            261,000
                             Practitioners Under Suspension or
    Totals........................................................          12,969  ..............             13,539  ..............          5,889,465

    Estimated Total Annual Respondent Non-hourly Cost Burden: $8,419. 
This information collection has no capital start-up, maintenance costs, 
or recordkeeping costs. However, this information collection does have 
annual costs in the form of filing fees and postage costs.

    \2\ Ibid.

Filing Fees

    There is one filing fee associated with this information 
collection. This fee is listed in the table below.

                        Table 3--Estimated Total Annual Respondent Filing Fee Cost Burden
        Item No.                          Item                     annual      Filing fee ($)    Total non-hour
                                                                  responses                     cost burden (yr)
                                                                          (a)             (b)    (a) x (b) = (c)
2.......................  Petition for Reinstatement under                  5          $1,680             $8,400
                           the Provisions Section 11.60(c).
                            Totals                             ..............  ..............             $8,400

Postage Costs

    Although the USPTO prefers that the items in this information 
collection be submitted electronically, responses may be submitted by 
mail through the United States Postal Service (USPS). The USPTO 
estimates that 1% of the 221 items will be submitted in the mail 
resulting in 2 mailed items. The USPTO estimates that the average 
postage cost for a mailed submission, using a Priority Mail 2-day flat 
rate legal envelope, will be $9.25. Therefore, the USPTO estimates $19 
in postage costs associated with this information collection.

IV. Request for Comments

    The USPTO is soliciting public comments to:
    (a) Evaluate whether the proposed collection of information is 
necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the Agency, 
including whether the information will have practical utility;
    (b) Evaluate the accuracy of the Agency's estimate of the burden of 
the proposed collection of information, including the validity of the 
methodology and assumptions used;
    (c) Enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to 
be collected; and
    (d) Minimize the burden of the collection of information on those 
who are to respond, 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.
    All comments submitted in response to this notice are a matter of 
public record. USPTO will include or summarize each comment in the 
request to OMB to approve this information collection. Before including 
an address, phone number, email address, or other personally 
identifiable information (PII) in a comment, be aware that the entire 
comment-- including PII--may be made publicly available at any time. 
While you may ask in your comment to withhold PII from public view, 
USPTO cannot guarantee that it will be able to do so.

Kimberly Hardy,
Information Collections Officer, Office of the Chief Adminstrative 
Officer, United States Patent and Trademark Office.
[FR Doc. 2022-02607 Filed 2-7-22; 8:45 am]