December 3, 1999
Washington, DC 20231
Re: Notice of Proposed Rulemaking Regarding Changes to Permit Payment of Patent and Trademark Office Fees by Credit Card
In response to the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in the November 3,1999, Federal Register, we would like to state our strong support of allowing the use of credit cards for payment of patent fees. In addition, we have the following comments outlined according to the invitation for comments:
(a) Is the collection of information concerning the purpose for the fees necessary for proper performance of the functions of the agency ? We believe that it is necessary and reasonable. Currently any communications containing fees filed by our firm contain a breakdown of the disbursement of the fees. This is done for clarity of processing at the Patent Office, as well as for internal billing purposes at our firm.
(b) Is the agency's estimate of time burden accurate ? We believe that an estimate of 12 minutes per response is accurate for providing the required information in a format acceptable to the Patent Office.
(c) Ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected . In order to allow ready reconciliation of credit card statements, we recommend that the form utilized for transmittal of payment by credit card provide space for text which will appear in the description on the credit card statement. This could be used to identify the attorney docket number and/or application serial number, allowing easy identification of the case associated with each credit card charge.
(d) Ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information to respondents. As noted above, the proposed information to be collected is already being provided in our practice. It takes minimal time to provide and allows for clarity in our records and billing statements to clients.
Beyond the questions outlined in the Notice, we have the following comment. One concern expressed within our practice and noted in the Notice is public access to credit card information. The procedure outlined in the Notice was to have the credit card number on a separate document which would not be entered into the public record. An alternative solution would be to have a Deposit Account number (or other unique identifier) which is linked or correlated in some way to a credit card. Thus, rather than having the credit card number appear in any documents, the unique identifier would be utilized.
We appreciate the opportunity to make these comments, and look forward to speedy implementation of the new rules.
Very truly yours,
Perkins Coie LLP