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Collage showing images with one-word descriptors from the U S P T O Fiscal Year 2008 Performance and Accountability Report cover that reinforces the reportís tagline of Transforming for the Future Today.
Performance and Accountability Report Fiscal Year 2008
Management's Discussion and Analysis

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

Mission and Organization of the USPTO

Mission

The USPTO’s mission is to foster innovation and competitiveness by:

  • Providing high quality and timely examination of patent and trademark applications
  • Guiding domestic and international intellectual property policy
  • Delivering intellectual property information and education worldwide

Intellectual property (IP) includes inventions or creations embodied in the form of a patent, trademark, trade secret, or copyright. The strength and vitality of the U.S. economy depends on effective mechanisms for protecting new ideas and investments in innovation and creativity. The continued demand for patents and trademarks underscores the ingenuity of American inventors and entrepreneurs. In fulfilling the mandate of Article 1, Section 8, of the Constitution, “to promote the progress of science and the useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries,” the USPTO is on the cutting edge of our nation’s technological progress and achievement.

Our Organization

The USPTO is an agency of the United States within the Department of Commerce (DOC). The Agency is led by the Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO who consults with the Patent Public Advisory Committee and the Trademark Public Advisory Committee. The USPTO has two major business lines: Patents and Trademarks, as shown in the organization chart below. Headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia, the USPTO also has two storage facilities located in Virginia and Pennsylvania.

Organization Chart for the United States Patent and Trademark Office. D

 

Photo showing USPTO employees who serve their business areas as captains and key workers for the Combined Federal Campaign and celebrating another successful year in reaching their goal.

Giving Back — USPTO employees serve their business areas as captains and key workers for the Combined Federal Campaign and celebrate another successful year in reaching their goal. The USPTO raised more than $1.4 million for charities, reaching 111 percent of its goal. Eighty-one percent of USPTO employees contributed.

The USPTO has evolved into a unique government agency. In 1991 – under the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (OBRA) of 1990 – the USPTO became fully supported by user fees to fund its operations. In 1999, the American Inventors Protection Act established the USPTO as an agency with performance-based attributes; for example, a clear mission statement, measurable services and a performance measurement system, and predictable sources of funding.

The Patent organization examines inventors’ patent applications. Patent examiners compare the scope of claimed subject matter in an application to a large body of technological information to determine whether the claimed invention is new, useful, and non-obvious. Patent examiners also provide answers on applications appealed to the Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences (BPAI), prepare initial memoranda for interference proceedings to determine priority of invention, and prepare search reports and international preliminary examination reports for international applications filed under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT). The patent process also includes performing an administrative review of newly filed applications, publishing pending applications, issuing patents to successful applicants, and disseminating issued patents to the public.

The Trademark organization registers marks (trademarks, service marks, certification marks, and collective membership marks) that meet the requirements of the Trademark Act of 1946, as amended, and provides notice to the public and businesses of the trademark rights claimed in the pending applications and existing registrations of others. The core process of the Trademark organization is the examination of applications for trademark registration. As part of that process, examining attorneys make determinations of registrability under the provisions of the Trademark Act, which includes searching the electronic databases for any pending or registered marks that are confusingly similar to the mark in a subject application, preparing letters informing applicants of the attorney’s findings, approving applications to be published for opposition, and examining statements of use in applications filed under the Intent-to-Use provisions of the Trademark Act.

Photo showing TransComm tennis champions posing with USPTO Director Jon Dudas after receiving the victory trophy for being the 2008 Departmental Tennis League champions.

Celebrating Victory — TransComm tennis champions pose with USPTO Director Jon Dudas after receiving the victory trophy for being the 2008 Departmental Tennis League champions. This win marks the fifth straight year that the team has won the “A” Division Championship.

In registering trademarks, the USPTO assists businesses in protecting their investments, promotes quality goods and services, and safeguards consumers against confusion and deception in the marketplace. With notice readily available at www.uspto.gov, a business can make an informed decision when it wishes to adopt a new mark or expand the goods or services marketed under an existing mark. Federal registration provides enhanced protection for the owner’s investment in the mark and in the goods and services sold under the registered mark.

Domestically, the USPTO provides technical advice and information to executive branch agencies on IP matters and trade-related aspects of IP rights. Internationally, the USPTO works with foreign governments to establish regulatory and enforcement mechanisms that meet international obligations relating to the protection of IP.

Our People

At the end of fiscal year (FY) 2008, the USPTO workforce was composed of 9,518 Federal employees (including 6,055 patent examiners, and 398 trademark examining attorneys).

Chart summarizing USPTO staffing at the end of Fiscal Year 2008. D


Photo showing members of the Patent and Trademark Office Society greeting guests during the 2008 Community Day annual celebration.

Welcoming Diversity — Members of the Patent and Trademark Office Society greet guests during the 2008 Community Day annual celebration which supports the agency’s commitment to a workforce drawn from all segments of society.

 
Photo showing USPTO Deputy Under Secretary Margaret J. A. Peterlin welcoming House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, Jr., as the keynote speaker at one of its largest Patent Training Academy graduation ceremonies and presenting him with an Honorary Certificate of Completion of New Patent Examiner Training.

Honoring Experience — USPTO Deputy Under Secretary Margaret J. A. Peterlin welcomes House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, Jr., as the keynote speaker at one of its largest Patent Training Academy graduation ceremonies and presents him with an Honorary Certificate of Completion of New Patent Examiner Training.

 

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