[Federal Register: November 26, 1999 (Volume 64, Number 227)]
[Page 66458-66459]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Patent and Trademark Office

Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) Certificate Action Form

ACTION: Proposed collection; comment request.


SUMMARY: The Department of Commerce (DoC), as part of its continuing 
effort to reduce paperwork and respondent burden, invites the general 
public and other Federal agencies to comment on the continuing and 
proposed information collection, as required by the Paperwork Reduction 
Act of 1995, Public Law 104-13 (44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(2)(A)).

DATES: Written comments must be submitted on or before January 25, 

ADDRESSES: Direct all written comments to Linda Engelmeier, 
Departmental Forms Clearance Officer, Department of Commerce, Room 
5027, 14th and Constitution Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20230 or via the 
Internet at LEngelme@doc.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Requests for additional information 
should be directed to the attention of Art Purcell, Patent and 
Trademark Office, Office of Systems Architecture and Engineering, 
Crystal Park 2, 2121 Crystal Drive, Arlington, VA 22202, by telephone 
at (703) 308-6856, or by e-mail at art.purcell@uspto.gov.


I. Abstract

    The Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) is a set of hardware, software, 
policies, and procedures that the Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) has 
chosen to support secure electronic communications between the PTO and 
its customers. The information collected by the PTO through the 
Certificate Action Form (PTO Form PTO-2042) is used by the PTO to 
authorize the creation of a digital certificate. The digital 
certificate enables the PTO to issue the cryptographic ``keys'' 
necessary to provide the applicant with a digital identity and to 
support encrypted communication between the applicant and the PTO. 
Using PKI enables the PTO to offer the option to applicants to review 
their patent application information, to send their patent 
applications, and to communicate with the PTO electronically, while 
preserving the integrity and confidentiality of these various actions. 
Both the laws governing patents and the Patent Cooperation Treaties 
established between the United States and the international community 
require that patent applications be preserved in confidence. Using PKI 
ensures that the patent applications are preserved in confidence 
because it requires that a user authenticate his or her identity 
through passwords or other means before it allows the user access to 
the encryption and digital signature services.
    The PTO will use PKI to support secure communications and 
electronic commerce with its applicant community, international 
business partners, the Patent and Trademark Depository Libraries, its 
own employees, and support contractors. By implementing PKI, the PTO is 
indicating to its customers that the agency is making a major 
commitment to preserve the integrity of the electronic transactions. 
PKI can also alert the different parties involved that an electronic 
transaction has occurred.

[[Page 66459]]

    The PTO is implementing PKI in a phased approach. The first phase 
is the pilot project for the Patent Application Information and 
Retrieval (PAIR) system. PAIR allows applicants secure authenticated 
access to their patent application information, through the use of 
public key cryptography mechanisms that provide strong authentication, 
encryption, and digital signatures.

II. Method of collection

    By mail, facsimile, or hand carry when the applicant files a Public 
Key Infrastructure Certificate Action Form with the PTO.

III. Data

    OMB Number: 0651-XXXX.
    Form Number: PTO Form PTO-2042.
    Type of Review: Existing collection in use without an OMB control 
    Affected Public: Individuals or households; businesses or other 
for-profit; not-for-profit institutions; farms; Federal, state, local 
or tribal government.
    Estimated Number of Respondents: 6,000 responses per year.
    Estimated Time Per Response: It is estimated to take approximately 
10 minutes to read the instructions, gather the necessary data, and 
complete the Public Key Infrastructure Certificate Action Form.
    Estimated Total Annual Burden Hours: 1,020 hours per year.
    Estimated Total Annual Cost Burden: $525,000 (this cost is 
associated with the one-time download of additional software that is 
needed as part of the encryption process). Using the professional 
hourly rate of $175.00 for associate attorneys in private firms, the 
PTO estimates $178,500 for salary costs associated with respondents.

                                                                                     Estimated       Estimated
                  Title of form                    PTO form No.   Estimated time   annual burden      annual
                                                                   for response        hours         responses
United States Patent and Trademark Office          PTO Form PTO-            0.17           1,020           6,000
 Certificate Action Form........................            2042
    Totals......................................  ..............  ..............           1,020           6,000

IV. Request for Comments

    Comments are invited on: (a) whether the proposed collection of 
information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of 
the agency, including whether the information will have practical 
utility; (b) the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden 
(including hours and cost) of the proposed collection of information; 
(c) ways to enhance the quality, and clarity of the information to be 
collected; and (d) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of 
information on respondents, e.g., the use of automated collection 
techniques or other forms of information technology.
    Comments submitted in response to this notice will be summarized or 
included in the request for OMB approval of this information 
collection; they will also become a matter of public record.

    Dated: November 22, 1999.
Madeleine Clayton,
Management Analyst, Office of the Chief Information Officer.
[FR Doc. 99-30811 Filed 11-24-99; 8:45 am]