Public User's Meeting
Public Records Division/Public Information Services Division
Public User’s Meeting
February 21, 2007 2:00 p.m.
Jefferson Building Conference Center
The Public Users Meeting was held at 2:00 p.m. in the 1st floor conference room 1D70/1D80 in the Jefferson Building at 500 Dulany Street on the USPTO campus in Alexandria, Virginia. Martha Sneed, Director of PISD, chaired the meeting. There were 6 members of the public in attendance.
Next month's meeting will be in the Randolph conference room
There are various PTO people making remarks at this Public Users Meeting:
- John Hassett – Office of Corporate Services
- J.R. Garland – USPTO Security
- Cynthia Lynch - Trademarks
- Larry Schwartz - Patents
Removal and Microfilming of Classified Paper Word Registrations – Cynthia Lynch
Advance notice was given of an upcoming Federal Register Notice announcing the agency's intent to remove and microfilm the classified paper word registrations located in the Trademark Search Facility on the second floor of South Tower. The resulting microfilm will be available to the public in the Public Search Facility in Alexandria. The paper will be microfilmed in the same order it is currently arranged in. There will be labels on the microfilm noting the alphabetical contents of each reel so that it can be searched.
A customer commented about problems with improperly entered marks in the database and other quality problems. Ms. Lynch assured the public that efforts have been ongoing to correct mistakes. She also requested that specific incidents that have not been addressed to the public's satisfaction be brought directly to her attention so that they could be addressed. She indicated that the goal of Trademarks is to correct any errors brought to their attention, as quality of their systems is very important.
The public expressed concern that their comments to the June 23 Federal Register Notice are not being taken into consideration. They are very concerned whether all marks, both “live” and “dead”, will be coded appropriately for searcher's access. Ms. Lynch indicated that today's announcement concerns the word marks and not the design marks.
One customer asked that the design marks be brought to Alexandria, that way giving more space to FIU in South Tower. Ms. Sneed responded that there is no space for this collection in the new space allocation for the PSF. The customer indicated that this request had been made to USPTO executives when the reconstruction project kicked off last fall.
The same customer commented that the Trademark Office has not involved public users in systems development since TRAM++, which was developed and then never implemented. They would like input with any new systems development, requirements and design, early beta testing, etc.
Ms. Lynch wrapped up the discussion indicating that cost and agency resources dictate priorities and the agency's decision on how information is disseminated to the public.
Examiner Access for the Public – Larry Schwartz
550 examiners are participating in the hoteling program. Eventually there will be 1000 participants and within the next few years upwards of 3000. Calls to hoteling examiners office numbers rings to their laptops. Rules and requirements are the same as if the examiner is on site. If no answer is consistently received or calls are not returned within a reasonable amount of time the public is encouraged to report the incident to the examiner's supervisor. According to a member of the Public the voicemail command to press zero for immediate assistance does not work properly. Mr. Schwartz said he would look into the problem.
Question: Has PTO considered issuing cell phones to hoteling examiners? Mr. Schwartz made a note of the suggestion and will look into. Don't get your hopes up though.
USPTO Facilities Updates
John Hassett – Facilities Issues
The construction of the Global IP Academy will be finished at the end of February.
GSA has extended the South Tower lease to 2009. PTO is looking for enough space to accommodate all the current occupants of South Tower. A move will probably take place during the latter part of 2008. The new area must provide metro access and will likely be within the Alexandria, Arlington, Crystal City area, but not outside the beltway. There is no plan to move the FIU prior to the entire South Tower move already mentioned.
One public user complained about heating and air conditioning in South Tower, especially on the second floor around the elevators and the customer service window. Mr. Hassett indicated that users should be comfortable throughout all open hours. He will check on this and also the complaint that workstations in the FIU seem to be down a lot and take quite awhile for repairs/fixes.
There was a reminder that every other Monday or Tuesday, work-at-home examiners come to their office for their required minimum time here. On those days, there are parking garage restrictions imposed on the public. USPTO is checking on getting relief from this OPM requirement.
J.R. Garland – Security Issues
Customer suggested combining UPWS user id cards with the security badges. Mr. Garland indicated that the security badge could not track UPWS use. There was also a request for public users to have government employee Ids. Mr. Garland informed the public that according to OPM guidelines, in order to issue a government id to the public, a background check would have to be done. As a government entity, the agency is prohibited from running background checks on members of the general public not applying for federal jobs. There was also a complaint that a driver's license had to left with Security when entering government employee space when they already had Public user security badges.
Public Search Facility Update
- Lockers will be out of the PSF by Thursday.
- GSA denied the request for additional vending machines in the cafeteria for snacks and hot beverages. GSA determined that there is not enough use to justify additional machines.
- Text transfers will be processed and sent every five minutes instead of every 15 minutes, as requested at the last Public User Meeting. A customer indicated that transfer times are still running slow. PSF staff will look into the situation.
- There is a problem in EAST with recovery of workspace. If the yes/no prompt is answered no, the user gets dumped out of EAST. Doug will look into the problem. (Storage has been increased for users to 50mg.)
- Check WIFI antennas on 2nd floor of PSF. Called in the problem to the helpdesk this morning. We will follow up.
Additional Customer Suggestions:
- Power strips for the cubicles that lay on top of the workstation furniture
- Microfilm readers on 1st floor have no operating instructions available for the users
- Dual monitors for UPWS
- Add more memory to CPUs
Public Records Division Update
Question: Why does it take so long for power-to-inspect CD to make it from South Tower to PSF? Answer: The problem was resolved and the CD delivered to the customer.
The meeting was adjourned at 4:05pm
Next meeting is March 21, 2007, at 2:00pm in the Randolph conference room 1D04/1D14.