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Director's Forum: A Blog from USPTO's Leadership

Wednesday Jun 11, 2014

More Details on Trademark Fee Reductions

Guest blog by Commissioner for Trademarks Deborah Cohn

Recently, Deputy Director Lee blogged about the status of the USPTO’s operating reserves. I want to tell you more about our proposal to reduce total trademark fee collections. The reduction is possible due to efficiencies that have allowed the office to create an operating reserve. The proposed reduction maintains a reserve sufficient to manage operations and address long term investments.

The notice of proposed rulemaking was published in the Federal Register last month and the deadline for public comment is June 23. The proposal would reduce many trademark application filing fees and renewal fees by 15 to 25 percent depending on how the application is filed. We’re especially pleased to be able to offer even lower fees for filing electronically, and accepting email communications from the USPTO, options that have proven to be popular with the majority of trademark filers.

The USPTO proposes to reduce the fee for an application filed using the regular TEAS application form by $50 to $275 per class if the applicant authorizes email communication and agrees to file all responses and other documents electronically during the prosecution of the application. This option will be known as a TEAS Reduced Fee (“TEAS RF”) application. The USPTO also proposes to reduce by $50 the fee for a TEAS Plus application to $225 per class and reduce by $100 the fee for a TEAS renewal of a registration to $300 per class.

The proposed fee reductions will reduce processing costs and promote efficiency for the USPTO and our customers. The proposal will also further a USPTO strategic objective to increase the end-to-end electronic processing of trademark applications by offering additional electronic application processing options and promoting online filing, electronic file management, and workflow.

The proposed reductions were included in the USPTO’s FY 2015 budget request. Fee reductions will be implemented in accordance with the America Invents Act (AIA) following public notice, comment, and rulemaking procedures. Our plan is to have the reduced fees become effective beginning in January 2015.

We look forward to working with our customers to offer lower cost options for filing and maintaining trademark registrations. Again, written comments must be received by June 23 to ensure consideration.

Thursday May 01, 2014

Trademark Performance Update

Guest blog by Commissioner for Trademarks Deborah Cohn

The results for the second quarter of fiscal year 2014 demonstrate continued high performance by our Trademark team in meeting our strategic performance goal targets. I invite you to take a look at our updated performance, filing, and registration data that are now available on the Trademark dashboard.

The office has made great progress towards setting and achieving high quality standards. Quality results are evidence that the specialized training, online tools, and enhanced communication efforts we’re using are proving effective. The results for our newest quality standard for assessing efforts that go beyond procedural and statutory correctness continue to exceed our expectations. They demonstrate ‘exceptional’ results preparing a first action.

First action pendency—the time from filing to the initial examination—has been consistently maintained within the target range to issue a first action between 2.5 and 3.5 months from filing. Pendency to registration continues to remain at historically low levels. Disposal pendency—the time from when an application is filed until a trademark is registered or abandoned or a notice of allowance is issued for applications that are not in use—averaged 10.2 months, under the 12-month target. These results are due in part to the progress made from greater acceptance of electronic filing and in particular use of TEAS Plus applications which now make up 40 percent of new filings and more than 36 percent of new classes. Electronic filing and communications promotes more efficient and cost effective processing now comprises 80 percent of all applications processed to disposal.

Trademark application filings continued an upward trend, increasing by more than 4 percent compared to a year ago. New applications are expected to increase by nearly 5 percent this fiscal year to 455,000 classes.

We welcome any feedback you have on how we can improve the information presented through the Trademark Dashboard. Simply email a comment to our dedicated mailbox. We look forward to hearing from you.

Thursday Aug 22, 2013

Update on Trademark Performance From our Third Quarter Dashboard

Guest blog by Commissioner for Trademarks Deborah Cohn

This month marks another record performance by our Trademarks team. Our goal to issue a first action between 2.5 and 3.5 months from filing has been met every month for six consecutive years now. This record is the result of a number of factors including greater use of the systems, tools, and resources necessary to manage new application filings electronically and the increased participation by applicants in filing and communicating electronically throughout the process. You can see this data on the Trademark dashboard, which has been updated with third quarter performance metrics. The following are some of the highlights we’ve identified.

Trademark application filings continue to set new record highs in terms of volume and usage of the Trademarks Electronic Application System (TEAS). More than 99 percent of new applications are filed electronically and filings are on track to exceed the highest level set last year.

The office has made great progress towards achieving and maintaining high quality standards. The specialized training, online tools, and enhanced communication efforts we’ve deployed over recent years are bearing fruit. Exceptional office action continues to exceed our expectations and first action quality is trending above our target level. Actual results were 33.5 percent better than the target of 23 percent. Final action compliance is showing positive improvement. Our final numbers for the fiscal year should reflect expectations.

Despite inherent uncertainty and variability of filings, the office proudly met or exceeded its pendency targets, including the ones for statements of use (SOU) and Post Registration renewals. First action pendency is at the mid-point of the target at three months. Pendency targets are managed through overtime and production incentives, in addition to continued use of electronic filing and processing.

We want to thank all our stakeholders for their positive engagement and their constructive comments and suggestions. We look forward to hearing from you. Share your thoughts with me at TMFeedback@uspto.gov.

Thursday May 30, 2013

Advancing the Role of Trademarks

Guest blog by Commissioner for Trademarks Deborah S. Cohn

For the last two years the USPTO’s Trademarks team has actively engaged the private sector in developing pro bono and educational outreach programs. The primary goal of these programs is to offer the best possible intellectual property (IP) guidance and training to all of our stakeholders. These efforts follow the USPTO publication in April 2011 of a congressionally-mandated report outlining the extent to which trademark litigation harms small businesses. That report outlined steps the USPTO could take to better educate the public and stakeholders with resources enabling small businesses to further their understanding of trademark basics, enforcement measures, and available tools for protecting and enforcing trademark rights.

We have contacted bar associations in all fifty states to encourage the development of pro bono programs. The USPTO also launched a new trademark educational outreach program geared to general audiences that normally would not have easy access to such information, including non-trademark attorneys, the small business community, the entrepreneurial community, and students. In addition to these trademark-specific programs, the USPTO also conducts other programs designed to educate the public more broadly about intellectual property rights.

For several years, the USPTO has partnered with law schools across the country in an effort to provide pro bono services to trademark and patent applicants through student clinic programs under the supervision of licensed attorneys. In 2012, we dramatically increased the number of participating schools and therefore our reach into the community with these programs. We recently had the pleasure of welcoming to our headquarters more than 55 law students and faculty participating in our innovative Law School Clinic Certification Pilot Program. Visitors heard presentations from a wide range of USPTO personnel, including Acting Director Teresa Stanek Rea, attorneys from the Office of the Solicitor, and administrative trademark judges from the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB).

The USPTO has also hosted a Trademark Expo for a number of years. These well-attended events combined seminars and exhibits to engage the public on trademarks and their importance. We have also published a significantly improved Basic Facts Booklet and produced a series of educational videos, all of which are easily accessible at www.uspto.gov.

We remain committed to advancing the registration of trademarks and understanding their role. As always, we welcome your feedback and suggestions on how we can improve our trademark educational outreach efforts. Simply email a comment to our dedicated mailbox, TMFeedback@uspto.gov. We look forward to hearing from you.

Tuesday May 21, 2013

Hack for Change

Blog by Acting Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Acting Director of the USPTO Teresa Stanek Rea

Government has vast amounts of information that can be used to improve our lives, and the Obama Administration has challenged federal agencies to make this data easily accessible to and usable by the public. Agencies across the government are using the National Day of Civic Hacking on June 1 and 2, to address that challenge.

Its name may trigger negative connotations, but civic hacking is a positive form of citizen engagement and volunteerism that uses technology to tackle social challenges. Civic hackers are community members—engineers, software developers, designers, entrepreneurs, activists, and concerned citizens—who collaborate with others, including government, to invent ways to improve quality of life in their communities.

The USPTO is using the government-wide focus on civic hacking as a great opportunity to crowdsource innovative ideas from our extensive trademark data. A trademark is a brand name, slogan, or logo that sellers use to identify and distinguish their products and services. Consumers rely on trademarks to distinguish among competing sellers and ensure the purchase of a quality product. Individuals and companies register their trademarks with the USPTO to enhance intellectual property protection for their brands.

The USPTO currently provides high-quality databases and tools for searching for information about pending and registered marks. However, these resources are used mostly by the trademark community and the USPTO for issues related to the federal trademark registration process.

In February, the USPTO released a comprehensive dataset of information on registered U.S. trademarks in the hope of spurring a flood of new inquiries into such areas as marketing, advertising, brand use, innovation, and new product and service introduction.1 We challenge National Day of Civic Hacking participants to use the trademark dataset and other open data sources to develop a tool that identifies federally registered trademarks that comprise an entity’s portfolio or brand, or are used on specific products, in designated industries, or in geographical areas. Such a solution could provide useful information on how entities develop and employ their brands; whether entities expand into new products, sectors, or regions; and the potential value of trademark portfolios to these entities. The solution may also yield industry-specific information that could inform consumer decisions and aid startups and other firms seeking to develop new product lines.

I urge all those looking for a unique way to volunteer in your community through technology to consider participating in the National Day of Civic Hacking. You can learn more at hackforchange.org.

 


 

 1For a thorough description of these data, see Graham, S., Hancock, G., Marco, A., & Myers, A., “The USPTO Trademark Case Files Dataset: Descriptions, Lessons, and Insights,” SSRN working paper (2013) (“Case Files”).

 

 

Thursday Apr 18, 2013

Introducing Our Latest Performance Dashboard

Guest blog by Chief Administrative Trademark Judge Gerard Rogers

The USPTO has added more color to its Data Visualization Center with the addition of the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) Dashboard. In the spirit of open government, the TTAB dashboard is yet another way we are embracing transparency, by offering the public and TTAB users a new perspective on our operations. This inaugural TTAB dashboard provides critical information necessary for a true understanding of the various matters pending before the board, while assisting the public in assessing our performance.

The dashboard provides easy access to a variety of measures. Those include the average pendency of contested motions; the average pendency of appeal and trial cases being decided on the merits; and additional data that tracks new filings and inventory. We will update the data every quarter and provide comparisons with prior quarters. Pendency, filing, and inventory trends should be readily apparent. 

The graphics and data are presented in three main sections. First, there are key pendency measures, information on new filings with the board, and pending inventory. Second, there is information about the docket of ex parte appeals, which is the source of approximately three quarters of the final decisions on the merits issued each year by the board. Third, there is information on oppositions and cancellations, the Board’s trial cases, including the contested motions that often arise in these cases.

Users can identify trends by looking at quarterly changes in pending matters maturing to become ready for decision, files waiting in inventory, and the age of proceedings. Other helpful statistics include the number and age of contested motions becoming ready for decision during a quarter, as well as those that are in inventory at the end of each quarter. Of particular note is the breakdown, by age, of various types of motions, including motions to compel, dismiss, or seek summary judgment.

While our current pendency and inventory of both contested motions and final decisions are slightly higher than we’d like them to be, we are instituting new initiatives to improve our performance. We anticipate improvement in the near future as our newly hired judges and interlocutory attorneys continue to become acclimated to their new roles. We believe the new TTAB dashboard will prove to be a valuable resource, and we welcome any feedback on how we can make this tool even more useful. Please email any comments to our dedicated mailbox, TTABdashboard@uspto.gov. We look forward to keeping up efforts to provide additional data and maintain transparency into the future.

Wednesday Jan 30, 2013

Working Together on Chinese Trademark Issues

Blog by Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO David Kappos

Many IP issues in China receive high-profile attention in the media. However, quiet efforts by both countries’ leaders to develop and promote a long-range shared vision do not as a rule make the news. A good example is USPTO’s work with the Chinese Trademark Office (CTMO) and the Trademark Review and Adjudication Board (TRAB), a model of successful, sustained technical cooperation. The USPTO has worked closely and intensively for several years with these offices, exchanging best practices and candidly discussing challenges. This engagement, in turn, has led to several positive developments.

For example, USPTO collaborated with and supported CTMO’s effort to increase transparency through projects such as creating an online English-language trademark registration to assist companies conducting preliminary searches, as well as publishing for an English-speaking audience its research reports on the protection of foreign well-known marks. Thanks to these two efforts, U.S. companies can now conduct easy, no-cost preliminary trademark searches in English, and they can gain a better understanding of the way China protects well-known marks.

USPTO has also exchanged best practices with CTMO and TRAB examiners in substantive areas of examination, such as sound and single color mark examination, by both providing training and Chinese translations of sections of the USPTO Trademark Manual of Examination Procedure for reference by CTMO examiners. USPTO, CTMO, and TRAB have held exchanges on trademark administration and IT issues over the years, and during that time the CTMO has drastically reduced its pendency.

Another notable area of cooperation has been on the topic of bad faith filings, also referred to as “trademark squatting”the practice of a party intentionally filing for another party’s trademark. In 2010, the USPTO joined together with the Japan Patent Office (JPO), The Office of Harmonization for the Internal Market (the European Union’s Trademark Office), and the CTMO to launch a series of technical seminars in Beijing on that issue, intended to identify useful features of national trademark systems that can be implemented as best practices in other countries.

Following the collaborative seminars, we were pleased to see that China’s Supreme People’s Court newspaper recently highlighted the results of its study on bad faith filing issued in December by the Beijing Number 1 Intermediate People’s Court. The study counseled courts to deter squatting activities when they interpret and apply the law, as well as to admit evidence with the goal of prohibiting this activity. In conjunction with this report, the court issued judgments in six cases against trademark squatters, sending a message about the importance of honest trading.

We have also followed the issue of bad faith filing as China’s legislative branch tackles the problem. On December 31st, China’s National People’s Congress published a draft of China’s proposed new trademark law for review and comment. One of China’s goals in revising its trademark law is to address the issue of bad faith trademark filing. We will continue to work together with China on this issue.

The Chinese have a saying that the longest journey begins with the first step. We believe the steps the U.S. and China have taken together have improved the IP system for all.

Friday Jan 25, 2013

Trademark Dashboard For Quarter 1 Is Ready

Guest blog by Commissioner for Trademarks Deborah Cohn

It’s time again to share with you our Trademarks performance metrics for the last quarter, and I hope you’re as pleased as we are with the results. I should note that in response to your requests, we’ve added a new measure to the report. The application filing basis – use in commerce, intention to use, or based upon a foreign application or registration – will be reported as a percentage of new application filings. 

We’re proud to report continued high performance in our Trademark business unit. Trademark application filings continue to increase, following the record set last fiscal year when more new applications were filed than any other year.

Our record performance is the result of a number of factors including greater use of the systems, tools, and resources necessary to manage new application filings electronically and by our dedicated and qualified employees who do their best to manage them well. The Trademarks performance dashboard has been updated to showcase our record of performance results. I invite you to take a look at how the Trademarks team is working to serve you and look forward to your feedback. 

Our three quality indicators, which set high standards for examination quality, show mixed results in the first quarter. Results for first and final action compliance are slightly less than target, demonstrating the challenge in maintaining consistently high standards. Our newest indicator, ‘exceptional office action’ continues to exceed expectations for evaluating the ‘excellence’ of the examiner’s writing, evidence, and search strategy in preparing the office action. Quality results are reinforced by constant feedback, specialized training, and online tools and manuals to ensure the quality of the trademark register.

Every month over the last quarter, first action pendency stayed in the target range of 2.5 to 3.5 months from filing to issue a first action. Pendency to registration continues to remain at historically low levels. Disposal pendency – the time from when an application is filed until a trademark is registered or abandoned – has been under 12 months for the past three years – another record. This is due in part to the progress made from the use of TEAS Plus applications and greater acceptance of electronic filing, which now comprises more than 75 percent of all applications processed to disposal.

We welcome any feedback you have on how we can improve this dashboard. Simply email a comment to our dedicated mailbox. We look forward to hearing from you.

Friday Jan 04, 2013

Big Improvements to Our Online TMEP

Guest blog by Commissioner for Trademarks Deborah Cohn

We recently introduced a new, more user-friendly interface for the Trademark Manual of Examining Procedure (TMEP). If you haven’t had the opportunity to use it yet, I’m confident you’ll be pleased with it. The TMEP provides trademark applicants (and their attorneys and representatives) and our trademark examining attorneys with a reference on the practices and procedures for prosecution of applications to register marks with the USPTO.

The new interface offers users a more sophisticated and efficient method of getting needed information quickly. Searching is simplified so it is more similar to searching the Internet. When a search is executed, users receive weighted results which can give added focus. The display can also be modified to suit user needs. Browsing the TMEP is simpler, with a table of contents that can be hidden. In this way, the user can maximize the screen space available to display the content. Another recent, behind-the-scenes enhancement simplifies and shortens the process to publish the TMEP, allowing us to serve you better with more frequent updates.

The first publication using the new system took place on October 31, when we published the October 2012 update of the TMEP. With that update, we now identify the TMEP by the month and year in which it is issued (i.e., October 2012). This is a change from prior versions, which were identified using edition and revision numbers. At a roundtable I attended in Detroit in mid-November, practitioners told me they were very pleased with the new interface. One reported that it was the best IT improvement we have made to date.

We hope you’ll feel the same and we look forward to hearing your feedback on the new interface and TMEP update. Send your thoughts about the new TMEP to us by email at tmtmep@uspto.gov.

Wednesday Oct 17, 2012

Another Banner Year for Trademarks

Guest blog by USPTO Commissioner for Trademarks Deborah Cohn

We’ve sorted through the facts and figures and at the end of our fiscal year September 30, we’re proud to report continued outstanding performance in our Trademarks business unit. In FY 2012, more new trademark applications were filed than any other year and the number of trademarks in continuous use exceeded 1.8 million registered marks. Total new classes surpassed 415,000—an increase of 4.1% over the previous fiscal year and more than 13,600 higher than the record level last set in 2008.

All the while, and for the sixth year in a row, quality and pendency results have met and exceeded targets. The Trademarks performance dashboard has been updated to showcase our record 2012 performance results, and I invite you to take a look at how the Trademarks team is working to serve you.

Our three quality indicators are better than their respective targets, which set high standards for examination quality. Our newest indicator, ‘exceptional office action’ continues to exceed expectations for evaluating the ‘excellence’ of the examiner’s writing, evidence, and search strategy in preparing the office action. Quality results are reinforced by constant feedback, specialized training, and online tools and manuals to ensure the quality of the trademark register.

First action pendency has stayed in the target range to issue a first action between 2.5 and 3.5 months from filing, every month. Pendency to registration continues to remain at historically low levels. Disposal pendency—the time from when an application is filed until a trademark is registered or abandoned—has been under 12 months for the past three years. Another record. This is due in part to the progress made from greater acceptance of electronic filing and use of TEAS Plus applications. This promotes more efficient electronic processing, which now comprises more than 77 percent of all applications processed to disposal.

As I’ve noted in the past and it bears repeating, our record performance is the result of a number of factors including greater use of the systems, tools, and resources necessary to manage new application filings electronically and by having dedicated and qualified people to manage them well. 

We welcome any feedback you have on how we can improve this dashboard. Simply email a comment to our dedicated mailbox. We look forward to hearing from you.

Tuesday Jul 24, 2012

Still Smooth Sailing in Trademarks

Guest blog by USPTO Commissioner for Trademarks Deborah Cohn

Our dashboard showcasing performance in Trademarks for the third quarter of the fiscal year is out and you’ll notice that we added a new metric to highlight some meaningful differences in pendency based on how the application is filed. As you may know, applicants have several filing options to consider when they register their trademark – paper filing, electronic filing using the TEAS or the TEAS Plus form, and filing through the Madrid system for international registrations. Applicants who wish to reduce the time for approval of a mark for registration should consider the method of filing in order to best meet their needs.

TEAS Plus applications require additional information at the time of filing but in return receive the best overall pendency. As the dashboard shows, more TEAS Plus applications receive first action approval from our examining attorneys than any other type of filing.

Overall, our record performance for pendency over the past five years continues. First action pendency has stayed in the range of our goal to issue a first action between 2.5 and 3.5 months from filing. As I’ve noted in the past, our record performance is the result of a number of factors including greater use of the systems, tools, and resources necessary to manage new application filings electronically and by having dedicated and qualified people to manage them well. When you look at our performance dashboard for the third quarter you’ll see how well we are meeting our target goals.
 
Despite a five percent increase in new application filings, trademark pendency to registration continues to remain at historically low levels. Disposal pendency – the time from when an application is filed until a trademark is registered or abandoned – has been under 12 months for the past eight quarters in a row. Again, this is due in part to the increase in electronic processing, which now comprises 76 percent of all trademark applications filed, processed and disposed.

Wednesday Jul 18, 2012

USPTO and INTA Roundtable Discussions with Stakeholders

Guest blog by USPTO Commissioner for Trademarks Deborah Cohn

The USPTO has been co-hosting roundtable discussions with the International Trademark Association (INTA) since January. The purpose of these roundtable discussions is to bring together USPTO officials with trademark professionals from around the country so we can interact on current topics of interest to practitioners.

In addition to receiving updates on trademark initiatives and processes, attendees share practice tips and raise problems and issues that they have encountered. The roundtables have allowed us to receive input on a variety of developing issues in the trademark operation, and reactions to the sessions have been extremely positive.

To date, roundtables have been held in New York, Alexandria, Va., Wilmington, Del., Boston, and Raleigh, N.C. The next cities we will be visiting are Chicago (July 23), Seattle (Sept. 27), and Charlotte, N.C. (Oct. 14). We are also planning to schedule a session at our new Detroit office. We hope to connect with additional areas of the country in FY 2013.

As Commissioner for Trademarks, I have made it a priority to not just receive feedback from users, but also to seek it out. By going directly to our stakeholders, instead of just waiting for them to come to us, we can be sure the user community is heard.

We welcome any feedback you have on our user outreach. Is there an area of the country you might suggest for a roundtable? We have a dedicated mailbox for your comments (TMFeedback@uspto.gov) and we look forward to hearing from you.

Friday Apr 20, 2012

Record Results for Trademark Pendency

Guest blog by Commissioner for Trademarks Debbie Cohn

This month marks a record for performance by our Trademarks team. It has now been five consecutive years that first action pendency has stayed in the range of our goal to issue a first action between 2.5 and 3.5 months from filing. This record is the result of a number of factors including greater use of the systems, tools, and resources necessary to manage new application filings electronically and to manage them well. It demonstrates how electronic filing and systems have led to more consistent results in our ability to deliver top quality service. A look at our performance dashboard for the second quarter of fiscal year 2012 shows quality and timeliness to first action or disposal either meets or exceeds target goals.

Meanwhile, despite a 7 percent increase in new application filings, trademark pendency to registration continues to remain at historically low levels. Disposal pendency – the time from when an application is filed until a trademark is registered or abandoned – has been under 11 months for the past eight quarters in a row – a record due in part to the increase in electronic processing, which now comprises 75 percent of all trademark applications filed, processed and disposed.

Trademark quality shows improvement – all three indicators are better than their respective targets. Our newest indicator for evaluating quality, introduced last year, as the ‘excellent office action’ standard has been renamed ‘exceptional office action’. The name change is a better reflection of the criteria that set exceptionally high standards for evaluating an examiner’s writing, evidence, and search strategy in preparing the office action. Our evaluation of quality is an ongoing process, and we regularly use the results for improving how we work—from developing policy and training guides and manuals to reinforcing and ensuring the quality of the trademark register.

We welcome any feedback you have on how we can improve this dashboard. Simply email a comment to our dedicated mailbox for Trademarks feedback. We look forward to hearing from you.

Friday Jan 20, 2012

Remarkable Performance Results in Trademarks

Guest blog by Commissioner for Trademarks Debbie Cohn
 
There’s no question that electronic filing has changed the nature of trademarks, and a look at our performance dashboard for the first quarter of fiscal year 2012 really shows some remarkable results. Trademark pendency is at historically low levels and much of the reason for this is because some 75% of all trademark applications are filed and processed electronically. We’re particularly proud to report that disposal pendency – the time from when an application is filed until a trademark is registered or abandoned – is the lowest it’s ever been at 10.2 months. In fact, it’s been under 11 months for the past seven quarters in a row.

Likewise, pendency for applications involved in inter partes proceedings or appeals have also been reduced to an all-time low of 12.1 months. All of this while the number of application filings have increased 7.8% over the same period last year. First action pendency, which measures the time it takes for a new application to receive an initial response from our office was at 3.2 months at the end of the first quarter.

Aside from speed, trademark quality is another critical measure we consistently seek to improve. When you study the dashboard, you’ll see our quality results are mixed. Our first and final action quality are slightly less than target, although a more rigorous measure that defines the “excellence” of a first office action is above target. This new measure was introduced last year to set a higher standard in evaluating an examiner’s writing, evidence, and search strategy and the results exceed our target by 11 percent.

Our evaluation of quality is an ongoing process, with final results measured at the end of the fiscal year. Results are used for improving and developing policy and training guides and manuals to reinforce and ensure the quality of the trademark register. We welcome any feedback you have on how we can improve the presentation or information presented. We have a dedicated mailbox for your comments and we look forward to hearing from you.

Thursday Oct 20, 2011

Fourth Quarter Trademarks Dashboard Overview

Guest blog by Commissioner for Trademarks Debbie Cohn
 
The USPTO first introduced the Trademarks Dashboard this past year with quarterly updates to trademark metrics. This month, we are pleased to announce that for the fiscal year that ended September 30, 2011, trademark pendency, quality, electronic processing, and efficiency have met or exceeded performance targets. Performance results this year are all the more impressive considering that new application filings increased by 8.1 percent to 398,667 classes, which was slightly more than 4 percent above plan.
 
Trademark pendency continues to be maintained at historically low levels as measured by the time from filing to first action, and, at disposal or total pendency, the average time from filing to registration, notice of allowance or abandonment of the application. First action pendency ended the fiscal year at 3.1 months. Disposal pendency reflects low first action pendency and lower overall time to registration or notice of allowance, as more applications are filed and processed electronically – 10.5 months on average, and 12.6 months on average when including applications that were either suspended or involved in inter partes. 
 
Trademark quality is considered a critical measure and one we seek to continuously improve upon. The new “excellent office action” measure adds rigorous criteria regarding quality of an examiner's writing, evidence, and search strategy – setting a high standard defined as “excellence.” First year results surpassed the baseline target by nearly 7 percentage points – exceeding our initial expectations! The current first and final action compliance measures each delivered quality results above 96 percent. The evaluation of quality results are used for improving and developing policy and training guides and manuals.
 
We welcome any feedback you have on how we can improve the presentation or information presented. A dedicated mailbox has been set up for your comments. We look forward to hearing from you.

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