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Collage showing images with one-word descriptors from the U S P T O Fiscal Year 2007 Performance and Accountability Report cover that reinforces the report's tagline of Transforming for the Future Today.
Performance and Accountability Report Fiscal Year 2007
Management's Discussion and Analysis

Table of Contents | Management | Financial | Auditor | IG | Other

Performance Goal 1: Optimize Patent Quality and Timeliness

Patent Quality

Quality improvement continues to drive many of the Patent organization’s new initiatives. The Patent organization continues to improve the quality of its products and services using in-depth reviews of work in progress and enhanced end-process reviews to provide feedback to examiners on areas for improvement, targeted training, and safeguards to ensure competencies. The in-process compliance rate is the percentage of applications reviewed during prosecution prior to allowance, with no errors. Allowance compliance rate is the percentage of applications allowed by examiners with no errors after being reviewed.

Measure: Patent Allowance Compliance Rate
FISCAL YEAR TARGET ACTUAL
2004 96.0% 94.7%
2005 96.0% 95.4%
2006 96.0% 96.5%
2007 96.0% 96.5%

Target Met. The increase in the compliance rate indicates that the quality initiatives implemented in FY 2005 through FY 2007 have been effective.


Measure: Patent In-Process Examination Compliance Rate
FISCAL YEAR TARGET ACTUAL
2004 Baseline 82.0%
2005 84.0% 86.2%
2006 86.0% 90.0%
2007 90.0% 92.2%

Target Met. The improvement of the in-process compliance rate indicates that quality initiatives implemented in FY 2005 through FY 2007 are producing the desired results.

Data Verification and Validation for Patent Allowance Compliance Rate and Patent In-Process Examination Compliance Rate

Data Verification and Validation for Patent Allowance Compliance Rate and Patent In-Process Examination Compliance Rate
Data source: Office of Patent Quality Review Report
Frequency: Daily input, monthly reporting
Data storage: Automated systems, reports
Verification: Manual reports and analysis
Data Limitations: None

Patent Pendency

The two primary measures of Patent organization processing time are: (1) average first action pendency, which measures the average time in months from filing until an examiner’s initial determination is made of the patentability of an invention; and (2) average total pendency, which measures the average time in months from filing until the application is issued as a patent or abandoned by the applicant. The USPTO is implementing strategies to reduce patent pendency and the backlog of applications awaiting examination such as increased hiring, proposed rule changes, and process changes. However, even with continued access to the funding required to successfully execute these strategies, pendency will continue to rise for a period of time, but not to the extent it would have if these actions were not taken.

Measure: Patent Average First Action Pendency
FISCAL YEAR TARGET (Months) ACTUAL (Months)
2004 20.2 20.2
2005 21.3 21.1
2006 22.0 22.6
2007 23.7 25.3

Target Not Met. This target was not met because of the increasing dual challenges of rising workloads and a shift of applications from traditional arts to more complex technologies.


Measure: Patent Average Total Pendency
FISCAL YEAR TARGET (Months) ACTUAL (Months)
2004 29.8 27.6
2005 31.0 29.1
2006 31.3 31.1
2007 33.0 31.9

Target Met.

Data Verification and Validation for Patent Average First Action Pendency and Patent Average Total Pendency

Data Verification and Validation for Patent Average First Action Pendency and Patent Average Total Pendency
Data source: PALM system
Frequency: Daily input, monthly reporting
Data storage: PALM, automated systems, reports
Verification: Accuracy of supporting data is controlled through internal program edits in the PALM system. Final test for reasonableness is performed internally by patent examiners, supervisors, and program management analysts
Data Limitations: None

Patent E-Filing and E-Management

The USPTO launched a Web-based tool (EFS-Web) in FY 2006, which allows applicants to submit patent applications in a PDF. Acceptance of the new tool is reflected in the significant increase in applications filed electronically.

The USPTO also created a fully electronic patent application management process whereby all patent examiners, technical support staff, and adjunct users can access an electronic image of all patent applications.

Measure: Patent Applications Filed Electronically
FISCAL YEAR TARGET ACTUAL
2004 2.0% 1.5%
2005 4.0% 2.2%
2006 10.0% 14.2%
2007 40.0% 49.3%

Target Met. This measure indicates USPTO’s support of, and applicants’ willingness to operate in, an e-government environment and identifies the percentage of applications filed electronically.


Measure: Patent Applications Managed Electronically
FISCAL YEAR TARGET ACTUAL
2004 70.0% 88.0%
2005 90.0% 96.7%
2006 99.0% 99.9%
2007 99.9% 99.9%

Target Met.

Data Verification and Validation for Patent Applications Filed Electronically and Patent Applications Managed Electronically

Data Verification and Validation for Patent Applications Filed Electronically and Patent Applications Managed Electronically
Data source: PALM system
Frequency: Daily input, monthly reporting
Data storage: PALM and automated systems
Verification: Accuracy of supporting data is controlled through internal program edits in the PALM system and cross checks against other automated systems
Data Limitations: None

Patent Efficiency

Measures the relative cost-effectiveness of the entire patent examination process over time, or the efficiency with which the organization applies its resources to production.

Measure: Patent Efficiency
FISCAL YEAR TARGET ACTUAL
2004 $3,502 $3,556
2005 $4,122 $3,877
2006 $4,214 $3,798
2007 $4,253 $3,961

Target Met.


Data Verification and Validation for Patent Efficiency
Data source: PALM system
Frequency: Daily input, quarterly reporting
Data storage: PALM, Data Warehouse, Activity Based Management (ABM) System
Verification: Accuracy of supporting data is controlled through internal program edits in PALM, Momentum, ABM System. Quality control review of data by ABC System and Program Business Teams
Data Limitations: None
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