|Performance and Accountability Report Fiscal Year 2008
Management's Discussion and Analysis
Management Goal: Achieve Organizational Excellence
Fulfilling the USPTO’s mission and goals requires strong leadership and collaborative management. While the three strategic goals focus on the core mission, the management goal focuses on the organizational excellence that is a prerequisite for achieving those goals. Collectively, the USPTO leadership is responsible for core management activities in these critical areas.
Working as Partners for Superior Performance
During FY 2008, USPTO business units worked as true partners across the organization to achieve superior performance and provide strategic leadership, as follows:
HUMAN CAPITAL MANAGEMENT — Human Capital Implementation Plans were developed by business units to carry out the Agency’s Human Capital Strategic Plan by developing initiatives, programs, and training in support of the three “human capital” objectives of talent management, results-oriented performance culture, and leadership and knowledge management.
LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT — To develop and strengthen its leadership capability, the USPTO created a comprehensive, competency-based leadership development framework. The framework provides leadership development opportunities for individuals at all levels of the organization, and the programs support an environment that fosters continuous learning and development across multiple levels, early to late in employees’ careers, while shaping the leadership culture of a high performing organization.
EXPANSION OF TELEWORK — The USPTO is considered a leader in federal telework programs and several outside organizations continue to rate the USPTO as the best in this area. This year, the USPTO expanded its telework population to 54 percent of eligible positions that are teleworking.
DIVERSITY — The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) found that the USPTO had tremendous effectiveness in processing matters for the USPTO and its employees, and continued to promote diversity of the workforce and its supervisory ranks. In addition, the USPTO is noted for its annual diversity celebrations and being proactive in preventing discrimination and harassment by providing training to all new hires and many of the new managers.
SAFE WORKPLACE ENVIRONMENT — The USPTO has created an environment for employees that is favorable to enhancing its effectiveness by taking measures to ensure the workplace is modern, safe, secure and attractive. The USPTO took actions in the area of emergency preparedness by providing all personnel with computer-based training to foster awareness of various emergency situations. An Emergency Notification System (ENS) was developed and launched enabling emergency messages to be broadcast to every USPTO computer desktop instantly.
Ensuring Excellence in Management Processes
HUMAN RESOURCES MANAGEMENT — The Office of Human Resources (OHR) was transformed to ensure the best candidates are hired and well performing employees are retained. This was done through recruitment incentives, a re-invigorated awards program, and an improved new employee orientation program. To enhance customer service, an “OHR on wheels” program was established, whereby OHR officials provide services to employees at buildings throughout the USPTO campus.
REVENUE MANAGEMENT — The USPTO began an effort to modernize the Revenue Accounting and Management (RAM) system, a mission-critical fee collection system that provides automated support and controls for processing fee payments, debits and credits to customer deposit accounts, and refunds. RAM interfaces with more than 20 automated information systems to provide fee information (e.g., fee history, payment detail, etc.), and to allow customers to pay various fees over the Internet via credit card, Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT), or via a USPTO-established deposit account. Modernization will optimize these processes to obtain greater efficiencies and improved customer service and ensure compliance.
PROGRAM ASSESSMENT — The USPTO collaborated with the OMB to assess two programs using the Program Assessment Rating Tool (PART). The Patent organization received a rating of “moderately effective” with a score of 73, and the Intellectual Property Protection Activities (the Office of Intellectual Property Protection and Enforcement) received a rating of “adequate” with a score of 67. As a requirement of PART, the USPTO is developing improvement plans to improve performance and meet or exceed all agency performance goals.
FEE MANAGEMENT — The USPTO is conducting a study and analysis of the current fee schedule, the fees charged for providing products and services. This review will provide recommendations for altering the fee schedule to encourage innovation while enabling the USPTO to provide high quality and timely examination of patents and trademarks. Certain fees are established to recover, on average, the full costs of providing products and services, whereas the major patent processing fees have been established in statute. A review of full costs related to PCT international transmittals and searches has resulted in a notice of proposed rule making to adjust the fees.
The USPTO is confident that its financial and performance data are complete, reliable, accurate, and consistent. For the 16th consecutive year, the USPTO earned an unqualified audit opinion on the annual financial statements. For FY 2008 financial reporting, the independent auditors did not identify any material weaknesses or instances of non-compliance with laws and regulations.
DATA AND AUTOMATED INFORMATION SYSTEMS MANAGEMENT — The USPTO continues to report one non-financial material weakness in IT security. OCIO continued to work diligently with the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) and the DOC to improve the USPTO’s overall IT security program and the quality of the certification and accreditation (C&A) packages to remove the current material weakness identified for IT security.
The USPTO continues to make significant progress in tracking IT costs by project and category of expense through improved budget processes and controls and increased use of Earned Value Management (EVM). Through the efforts of the Office of the Chief Financial Officer (OCFO) and the OCIO, USPTO managers can better understand the costs of providing IT products and services and thereby drive improved efficiency and cost reduction. In fulfilling responsibilities under 44 U.S.C. § 3504(h), the USPTO uses a Capital Planning and Investment Control (CPIC) process to prioritize investments and determine funding levels for subsequent fiscal years. Projects are carefully managed throughout their life cycle, and progress reviews are conducted at key milestone dates, to compare the project’s status to planned benefit, cost, and schedule, along with technical efficiency and effectiveness measures. All major IT system investments are reported in the Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) Circular A-11, Exhibit 53, the USPTO’s IT Investment Portfolio, for FY 2009.
Enhancing On-line Access to Information
In addition to achieving record numbers of electronic filings of applications and related documents, the USPTO continued to make improvements in our IT enterprise architecture, internal processes, and organizational alignment to improve our ability to be more responsive and better manage and deliver quality products at enhanced service levels. In particular, these initiatives directly support efforts to:
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