|Performance and Accountability Report Fiscal Year 2009
Management's Discussion and Analysis
Performance Goal 2: Optimize Trademark Quality and Timeliness
The Trademark organization measures for assessing examination quality include an evaluation for all issues that could be considered deficient in making a first and final action substantive decision. Evaluations are conducted on a random sample of applications to review the quality of decision making of the examiner’s first office action and final action – an approval for registration or a final refusal.
The “in-process review” standard for assessing excellent and deficient work creates a comprehensive, meaningful, and rigorous review of what constitutes quality.
The results of an examiner’s first action and final office action are reviewed for the quality of the substantive basis for decision making, search strategy, evidence, and writing. The measures consider elements for review and evaluation with training targeted to topics that warrant improvement. Examiners are given feedback about excellent, as well as deficient work to further improve quality.
In FY 2009, the measure for final compliance was expanded to evaluate examination quality at the stage applications are approved for publication and ultimately registration – increasing the number, as well as the decisions, that were subject to review – demonstrating the high degree of quality that applies to the majority of the determinations made by the Trademark organization.
Trademark first action pendency measures the average number of months from the date of application filing to the first office action.
Trademark average total pendency measures the average number of days from date of filing to notice of abandonment (unless a notice of allowance has been issued), notice of allowance, or registration for applications based on use in that month excluding and including cases that were previously suspended or were involved in inter partes proceedings at the TTAB. Average total pendency, including suspended and inter partes cases, was 13.5 months. Excluding applications that were suspended or delayed for inter partes proceedings; average total pendency was 11.2 months.
The number of electronic trademark applications has progressed steadily over the years as a result of promotional events, increased number and type of applications, electronic filing, improved functionality and enhancements, and financial incentives; for example, lower fees.
The Trademark organization has created an electronic trademark application record management process by capturing 100 percent of the application inventory and 100 percent of active or registered marks as an electronic file that includes text and image of the initial application and subsequent applicant and office correspondence. Examining attorneys use the electronic record to process and examine applications, manage their dockets of pending work, and take action on applications. The availability of the full file contents of all active registered marks provide a complete record for the public.
A new measure was introduced in FY 2009 to address the major USPTO strategic challenge to complete full electronic workflow and file management for receiving and processing trademark applications and related documents. The measure “Applications Processed Electronically” has been developed to identify the degree to which the Trademark organization is able to receive process, examine, and dispose of an application in a completely electronic environment. This measure reports the percentage of trademark applications that were filed, processed, and disposed relying completely on electronic systems and communications. This measure replaced the electronic filing performance measure, which target has been achieved.
Measures the relative cost-effectiveness of the entire trademark examination process over time, or the efficiency with which the organization applies its resources to production.
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