[Federal Register Volume 87, Number 50 (Tuesday, March 15, 2022)]
[Pages 14517-14518]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2022-05472]



Patent and Trademark Office

Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission to the 
Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for Review and Approval; Comment 
Request; Patents External Quality Survey

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-
0057 (Patents External Quality Survey). The purpose of this notice is 
to allow 60 days for public comment preceding submission of the 
information collection to OMB.

DATES: Written comments must be submitted on or before May 16, 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 `0651-0057 
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: 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 at [email protected], with ``0651-0057 comment'' 
in the subject line. Additional information about this information 
collection is also available at http://www.reginfo.gov under 
``Information Collection Review.''


I. Abstract

    This United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Quality 
Survey is an instrument designed to measure opinions about the services 
that USPTO provides its patent application customers. The results from 
this voluntary survey will assist USPTO in guiding improvements and 
enhancements in the future. The USPTO conducts the Patents External 
Quality Survey as part of its quality improvement efforts under E.O. 
14058, Transforming Federal Customer Experience and Service Delivery to 
Rebuild Trust in Government (Dec. 13, 2021). This survey narrows the 
focus of customer satisfaction to examination quality and uses a 
longitudinal, rotating panel design to assess changes in customer 
perceptions and to identify key areas for examiner training and 
opportunities for improvement. The USPTO surveys patent agents, 
attorneys, and other individuals from large domestic corporations 
(including those with 500+ employees), small and medium-size 
businesses, independent inventors, and universities and other non-
profit research organizations. This survey does not include foreign 
    The USPTO random sample used in this survey is drawn from the 
Patent Application and Location Management (PALM) database. The sample 
population is drawn from the top filing firms and entities that have 
filed more than 5 patent applications in a 12-month period. This 
ongoing survey is generally conducted twice a year. USPTO uses a 
rotating panel design where participants will take the survey twice in 
back-to-back survey periods. Half the participants in each survey 
period are new, completing the survey for the first time, and half are 
returning to complete the survey for a second time. This design allows 
a precise measurement of changes in customer experience over time.
    The Patents External Quality Survey is primarily a web-based 
survey, although respondents can also complete the survey via paper and 
mail if they prefer. The content of both versions is identical. 
Potential respondents are sent either an email or mailed pre-survey 
letter, depending on noted preferences for contact. At the beginning of 
each survey period, respondents are provided instructions for accessing 
and completing the survey electronically. After a specified response 
period, a survey packet containing the

[[Page 14518]]

questionnaire, a separate cover letter prepared by the Deputy 
Commissioner for Patents, and a postage-paid, pre-addressed return 
envelope are mailed to all sample members that have not yet submitted a 
response. Sampled members receiving a paper survey can still complete 
the survey electronically if they prefer. Reminder/thank you postcards 
and telephone calls are used to encourage response from sample members.

Method of Collection

    The survey may be submitted electronically or in paper form via 
postal mail.

II. Data

    OMB Control Number: 0651-0057.
     PTO/2325 (Patents External Quality Survey).
    Type of Review: Extension and revision of a currently approved 
information collection.
    Affected Public: Private sector.
    Respondent's Obligation: Voluntary.
    Estimated Number of Annual Respondents: 1,875 respondents.
    Estimated Number of Annual Responses: 3,100 responses.
    Estimated Time per Response: The USPTO estimates that it will take 
the public between 2 minutes (0.03 hours) and 10 minutes (.17 hours) to 
complete a response in this information collection. This includes the 
time to gather the necessary information, answer the survey prompts, 
and submit the completed request to the USPTO.
    Estimated Total Annual Respondent Burden Hours: 444 hours.
    Estimated Total Annual Respondent Hourly Cost Burden: $193,140.

                                       Table 1--Total Burden Hours and Hourly Costs to Private Sector Respondents
                                   Estimated annual      Responses per     Estimated       Estimated time for       Estimated      Rate       annual
 Item No.         Item               respondents          respondent        annual          response (hours)      burden (hour/    \1\      respondent
                                                                           responses                                  year)                 cost burden
                               (a)....................             (b)     (a) x (b) =  (d)....................     (c) x (d) =      (f)     (e) x (f) =
                                                                                   (c)                                      (e)                      (g)
1........  Patents External    1,250..................               1           1,250  0.17 (10 minutes)......             213     $435         $92,655
            Quality Survey
            (One survey
            within a single
2........  Patents External    625....................               2           1,250  0.17 (10 minutes)......             213      435          92,655
            Quality Survey
            (Two surveys
            within same year).
3........  Non-Response        Same respondents as                   1             600  0.03 (2 minutes).......              18      435           7,830
            Follow-up Survey    item 1 and 2.
              Total..........  1,875..................  ..............           3,100  .......................             444  .......         193,140
\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).

    Estimated Total Annual Respondent Non-hourly Cost Burden: $0. There 
are no capital start-up, maintenance costs, recordkeeping costs, filing 
fees, or postage costs associated with this information collection. The 
USPTO covers the costs of all survey materials and provides postage-
paid, pre-addressed return envelopes for the surveys that are returned 
by mail.

III. Request for Comments

    The USPTO is soliciting public comments to:
    (a) Evaluate 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) Evaluate the accuracy of the Agency's estimate of the burden of 
the 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 Administrative 
Officer, United States Patent and Trademark Office.
[FR Doc. 2022-05472 Filed 3-14-22; 8:45 am]