The Department of Commerce's United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) today received the Telework in the Federal Government Leadership Award for 2004 in the category of "leadership in enterprise-wide telework applications." The award was presented during the Telework in the Federal Government Conference sponsored by the Potomac Forum, Ltd., at the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington, D.C.
"The USPTO's work-at-home program has greatly exceeded our expectations," noted Jon Dudas, Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO. "Among its benefits, the program has helped us leverage technology and maximize the use of office space."
The USPTO's telework program began in 1997 as a small pilot for 18 trademark examining attorneys. Today, the USPTO has approximately 1,433 eligible employees who are taking advantage of the telework program, with employees working from locations as far away as Boston and Philadelphia.
In March 2003, trademark examining attorneys working from home gave up individual offices at USPTO and began to share small banks of offices called hotels. This move allowed the agency to give up three floors of office space. Today, 174 trademark employees telecommute with 150 of them participating in the hoteling program, which allows them to telework for most of their workweek. USPTO's patent operation has approximately 1,131 employees participating in the telework program. In addition, about 128 other USPTO employees telework, including the USPTO's administrative law judges. Employees must meet performance and conduct standards and comply with agency ethics and confidentiality standards to participate in the telework program.
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