Washington - America's independent inventors, who comprise about 18% of filers with the Department of Commerce's United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), stand to gain substantially from the agency's 21st Century Strategic Plan. The plan proposes legislation to establish a new micro-entity category for applicants. Independent inventors currently receive a 50% discount on major fees paid to the office. Those who qualify as micro-entities will receive an additional discount. Even with the reduced fees, the USPTO will continue to provide searches for micro-entity applicants.
A top to bottom review of the agency was conducted in conjunction with the strategic plan. Its primary goal was to eliminate duplicative programs and identify resources that can be applied to the USPTO's core mission. One outcome of the review is that the Office of Independent Inventors Programs (OIIP) has become part of a newly created Inventor Assistance Office.
According to Jim Rogan, Director of the USPTO, "The Inventor Assistance Office will have more resources available allowing us to expand the scope of services provided to independent inventors and assure that this important segment of our customer base receives the special attention it deserves. We are fully committed to continuing our outreach activities to independent inventors. In fact, we will be expanding them by working closely with others to conduct workshops and conferences throughout the United States. We will also be taking steps to enhance the value of our Web site as a resource tool for independent inventors."
"USPTO continues to sponsor regional and national conferences to help independent inventors maximize their creativity," continued Rogan. "The agency will sponsor a regional conference in Santa Rosa, Calif. on July 27 and 28, 2002, and will hold its seventh annual independent inventors conference, ICON 2002, in Syracuse, N.Y. on August 2 and 3, 2002," he added.
In unveiling the 21st Century Strategic Plan last month, Director Rogan described an office "under siege" as it celebrates its bicentennial year. The plan is designed to respond to the challenge of increased filings and pendency by transforming the USPTO from a one-size-fits-all government bureaucracy into a quality-focused, responsive, market-driven intellectual property system. The 21st Century Plan emphasizes quality in every initiative and will transform the USPTO into an information age, e-commerce based paperless agency that reflects the values of President Bush's Management Agenda.
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