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U.S. PATENT AND TRADEMARK OFFICE NOTES TO FINANCIAL STATEMENTS: Note 1

U.S. PATENT AND TRADEMARK OFFICE NOTES TO FINANCIAL STATEMENTS
As of and for the years ended September 30, 2003 and 2002

Reporting Entity

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is an agency of the United States within the U.S. Department of Commerce. The USPTO administers the laws relevant to patents and trademarks and advises the Secretary of Commerce, the President of the United States, and the Administration on patent, trademark, and copyright protection, and trade-related aspects of intellectual property.

These financial statements include the USPTO's two core business activities – granting patents and registering trademarks – that promote the use of intellectual property rights as a means of achieving economic prosperity. These activities give innovators, businesses, and entrepreneurs the protection and encouragement they need to turn their creative ideas into tangible products, and also provide protection for their inventions and trademarks.

These financial statements report the accounts for salaries and expenses (13X1006), special fund receipts (revenue withheld) (135127), customer deposits from the public (13X6542), customer deposits from other federal agencies (13F3885), and Patent Cooperation Treaty collections (13X6538), which are under the control of the USPTO. The federal budget classifies the USPTO under the Commerce and Housing Credit (376) budget function. The USPTO does not have custodial responsibility, nor does it have lending or borrowing authority. The USPTO does not transact business among its own operating units, and therefore, no intra-entity eliminations are necessary.

Basis of Presentation

As required by the Chief Financial Officers' Act of 1990 and 31 U.S.C. 3515 (b), the accompanying financial statements present the financial position, net cost of operations, budgetary resources, and cash flows for the USPTO's core business activities. The books and records of the USPTO serve as the source of this information.

These financial statements were prepared in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the U.S. (GAAP) and the form and content for entity financial statements specified by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in Bulletin Number 01-09, Form and Content of Agency Financial Statements , as well as the accounting policies of the USPTO. Therefore, they may differ from other financial reports submitted pursuant to OMB directives for the purpose of monitoring and controlling the use of the USPTO's budgetary resources. The GAAP for federal entities are the standards prescribed by the Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board (FASAB), which is the official body for setting the accounting standards of the federal government.

Throughout these financial statements, assets, liabilities, revenues, and costs have been classified according to the type of entity with which the transactions are associated. Intra-governmental assets and liabilities are those from or to other federal entities. Intra-governmental earned revenues are collections or accruals of revenue from other federal entities and intra-governmental costs are payments or accruals to other federal entities.

Certain fiscal year 2003 amounts have been reclassified to conform with the fiscal year 2004 presentation.

Basis of Accounting

Transactions are recorded on the accrual basis of accounting, as well as on a budgetary basis. Accrual accounting allows for revenue to be recognized when earned and expenses to be recognized when goods or services are received, without regard to the receipt or payment of cash. Budgetary accounting allows for compliance with the requirements for and controls over the use of federal funds. The accompanying financial statements are presented on the accrual basis of accounting.

Budgets and Budgetary Accounting

Appropriated funds from general taxpayer revenue were eliminated gradually following the passage of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (OBRA) in 1990. The OBRA established revenue withholding on statutory patent fees. Subsequent legislation extended the revenue withholding through the end of fiscal year (FY) 1998. This withheld revenue constitutes offsetting receipts, and was deposited into a restricted special fund receipt account at the U.S. Department of the Treasury (Treasury). The USPTO may use moneys from this account only as authorized by the U.S. Congress, and only as made available by the issuance of a Treasury warrant. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Reauthorization Act, Fiscal Year 1999 , as amended by Public Law 106-113, reset patent statutory fees without the OBRA surcharge. The USPTO has not collected or deposited any fees in the restricted special fund receipt account since fiscal year 1998. The special fund receipt account has no liabilities currently, and the entire Fund Balance will remain restricted until appropriated.

Fees other than the restricted revenue withholding are offsetting collections subject to an annual congressional limitation, and are available to the USPTO until expended. Funds authorized but not used in a given fiscal year are carried forward for use in future periods, as appropriated by the U.S. Congress.

The USPTO receives an appropriation of Category A funds from OMB, which apportions budgetary resources by fiscal quarter. The USPTO does not receive any Category B funds, or those exempt from apportionment.

Use of Estimates

The preparation of financial statements in conformity with GAAP requires management to make estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of assets and liabilities and the disclosure of contingent assets and liabilities as of the date of the financial statements and the reported amounts of revenues and expenses during the reporting period. Actual results could differ from these estimates.

Revenue and Other Financing Sources

The USPTO's fee rates are established by law and, consequently, in some instances may not represent full cost or market price. Since fiscal year 1993, the USPTO funding has been primarily through the collection of user fees. Fees that are remitted with initial applications and requests for other services are recorded as exchange revenue when received, with an adjustment to defer revenue for services that have not been performed. All amounts remitted by customers without a request for service are recorded as liabilities in customer deposit accounts until services are ordered.

The USPTO's share of the cost to the federal government for providing pension and other post-retirement benefits to eligible USPTO employees is recognized as an imputed financing source.

The USPTO also receives some financial gifts and gifts-in-kind from anonymous donors. All such transactions are included in the consolidated Gifts and Bequests Fund financial statements of the Department of Commerce. These gifts are not of significant value and are not reflected in the USPTO's financial statements. Most gifts-in-kind are used for official travel to further attain the USPTO mission and objectives.

Entity/Non-Entity

Assets that an entity is authorized to use in its operations are termed entity assets, while assets that are held by an entity and are not available for the entity's use are termed non-entity assets. All of the USPTO's assets are entity assets and are available to carry out the mission of the USPTO within existing budget constraints, with the exception of a portion of the Fund Balance with Treasury, as highlighted in Note 3.

Fund Balance with Treasury

The USPTO deposits revenue in commercial bank accounts maintained by the Treasury's Financial Management Service (FMS). All moneys maintained in these accounts are transferred to the Federal Reserve Bank on the next business day following the day of deposit. In addition, many customer deposits are wired directly to the Federal Reserve Bank. All banking activity is conducted in accordance with the directives issued by the FMS. Treasury processes all disbursements.

Accounts Receivable

Accounts receivable from the public represent a very small portion of the USPTO's assets as the USPTO requires payment prior to the provision of goods or services during the course of its core business activities. Public accounts receivable are comprised mainly of amounts due from former employees for the reimbursement of education expenses and other benefits.

The USPTO recorded a $1 thousand and $8 thousand allowance for uncollectible amounts to reduce the gross amount of its public accounts receivable to its net realizable value as of September 30, 2004 and 2003, respectively. The allowance is established for receivables that have been transferred to Treasury. The gross amount of USPTO's public accounts receivable as of September 30, 2004 and 2003 was $1,304 thousand and $8,899 thousand, respectively.

Advances and Prepayments

On occasion, the USPTO prepays amounts in anticipation of receiving future benefits. Although a payment has been made, an expense is not recorded until goods have been received or services have been performed. The largest single advance, in the amount of $2,871 thousand, is with the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) for the construction of the USPTO headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia. In addition, the USPTO maintains deposit accounts with the U.S. Government Printing Office and the Department of Commerce to facilitate recurring transactions. The USPTO also advances funds to personnel for travel costs, which are expensed after travel has occurred.

Cash

Most of the USPTO's cash balance consists of undeposited checks for fees that were not processed at the Balance Sheet date due to the lag time between receipt and initial review. All such undeposited check amounts are considered to be cash equivalents. As of September 30, 2004 and 2003, the cash balance includes undeposited checks of $11,869 thousand and $11,452 thousand, respectively. Of these balances, $463 thousand and $800 thousand were non-entity Patent Cooperation Treaty Account assets as of September 30, 2004 and 2003, respectively. Cash is also held outside the Treasury to be used as imprest funds. An imprest fund of $2 thousand was held as of September 30, 2004 and 2003.

Property and Equipment

The USPTO's capitalization policies are summarized below:

USPTO's Property and Equipment Capitalization Policies
Classes of Property and Equipment Capitalization Threshold for Individual Purchases Capitalization Threshold for Bulk Purchases
IT Equipment $25 thousand or greater $500 thousand or greater
Software $25 thousand or greater Not applicable
Software in Progress $25 thousand or greater Not applicable
Furniture $25 thousand or greater $50 thousand or greater
Equipment $25 thousand or greater $500 thousand or greater
Construction in Progress $25 thousand or greater Not applicable
Leasehold Improvements $25 thousand or greater Not applicable

Contractor costs for developing custom internal use software are capitalized when incurred for the design, coding, and testing of the software. Software in progress and construction in progress is not amortized until placed in service.

Property and equipment acquisitions that do not meet the capitalization criteria are expensed upon receipt.

Injury Compensation

Claims brought by USPTO employees for on-the-job injuries fall under the Federal Employees Compensation Act (FECA) administered by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). The DOL bills each agency annually as its claims are paid, but payment on these bills is deferred approximately two years to allow for funding through the budget process. As of September 30, 2004, the USPTO recorded a $1,449 thousand liability for claims paid on its behalf during the benefit period July 1, 2002 through September 30, 2004. As of September 30, 2003, the USPTO recorded a $1,358 thousand liability for claims paid on its behalf during the benefit period July 1, 2001 through September 30, 2003.

Post-employment Compensation

USPTO employees who lose their jobs through no fault of their own may receive unemployment compensation benefits under the unemployment insurance program administered by the DOL. The DOL bills each agency quarterly as its claims are paid. As of September 30, 2004 and 2003, the USPTO liability was $73 thousand and $211 thousand, respectively, for claims paid by the DOL on behalf of the USPTO.

Annual, Sick, and Other Leave

Annual leave and compensatory time are accrued as earned, with the accrual being reduced when leave is taken. An adjustment is made each fiscal quarter to ensure that the balances in the accrued leave accounts reflect current pay rates. No portion of this liability has been obligated. To the extent current or prior year funding is not available to pay for leave earned but not taken, funding will be obtained from future financing sources. Sick leave and other types of non-vested leave are expensed as used.

Accrued leave as of September 30, 2004 and 2003 was $38,935 thousand and $38,046 thousand, respectively.

Employee Retirement Systems and Benefits

USPTO employees participate in either the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) or the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS). The FERS was established by the enactment of Public Law 99-335. Pursuant to this law, the FERS and Social Security automatically cover most employees hired after December 31, 1983. Employees who had five years of Federal civilian service prior to 1984 and who are rehired after a break in service of more than one year may elect to join the FERS and Social Security system or be placed in the CSRS offset retirement system.

The USPTO's financial statements do not report CSRS or FERS assets or accumulated plan benefits that may be applicable to its employees. The reporting of such liabilities is the responsibility of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM). While the USPTO reports no liability for future payments to employees under these programs, the federal government is liable for future payments to employees through the various agencies administering these programs. The USPTO does not fund post-retirement benefits such as the Federal Employees Health Benefit Program (FEHB) and the Federal Employees Group Life Insurance Program (FEGLI). The USPTO also is not required to fully fund the CSRS pension liabilities. The financial statements of the USPTO recognize an imputed financing source and corresponding expense that represents the USPTO's share of the cost to the federal government of providing pension, post-retirement health, and life insurance benefits to all eligible USPTO employees.

For the year ended September 30, 2004, the USPTO made contributions equivalent to approximately 7.0 percent and 10.7 percent of the employee's basic pay for those employees covered by CSRS and FERS, respectively, based on OPM cost factors. For the year ended September 30, 2003, the USPTO made contributions equivalent to approximately 7.1 percent and 10.7 percent of the employee's basic pay for those employees covered by CSRS and FERS, respectively, based on OPM cost factors.

All employees are eligible to contribute to a thrift savings plan. For those employees participating in the FERS, a thrift savings plan is automatically established, and the USPTO makes a mandatory one percent contribution to this plan. In addition, the USPTO makes matching contributions ranging from one to four percent for FERS-eligible employees who contribute to their thrift savings plans. No matching contributions are made to the thrift savings plans for employees participating in the CSRS. Employees participating in the FERS are also covered under the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA), for which the USPTO contributes a matching amount to the Social Security Administration.

For the years ended September 30, 2004 and 2003, the USPTO's retirement plan contributions for CSRS and FERS participants were $52,463 thousand and $49,433 thousand, respectively. The USPTO also contributed to the Social Security Administration for FICA benefits $33,840 thousand and $31,744 thousand for the years ending September 30, 2004 and 2003, respectively.

Deferred Revenue

Deferred revenue represents fees that have been received by the USPTO for requested services that have not been substantially completed. Two types of deferred revenue are recorded. The first type results from checks received, with requests for services, which were not yet deposited due to the lag time between receipt and initial review. The second type of deferred revenue relates primarily to fees for applications that have been partially processed. The deferred revenue calculation is a complex accounting estimate, which requires a detailed and comprehensive understanding of numerous business and administrative processes as well as an in-depth knowledge of workloads and inventories. Beginning in fiscal year 2004, the calculation has expanded to include Trademark Intent-To-Use applications.

Environmental Cleanup

The USPTO does not have any liabilities for environmental cleanup.


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Last Modified: 7/4/2009 1:18:43 PM