USPTO Lauded for Telecommuting Program

Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments Praises USPTO's Trademark Work-at-Home Project
Press Release

Kim Byars

The Department of Commerce's United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) received the 2001 Commuter Connections Employer Recognition Telework Award today for its Trademark Work at Home Program from the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments.

USPTO began its telecommuting project in 1997 with 18 trademark attorneys working from home for the majority of their workweek. Today, 90 of the agency's 400 trademark examining attorneys are telecommuting from home using workstations supplied by USPTO.

"We are very pleased with the success of our trademark work-at-home program," said Nicholas Godici, Acting Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Acting Director of the USPTO. "The agency is benefiting from higher productivity because participants spend more time examining applications, and turnover among those working at home is minimal. The program also saves the agency money by reducing the need for additional office space. Telecommuting improves the quality of life for our employees at work and at home, while meeting the needs of our customers. We plan to expand the program into other areas soon."

The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments annual Commuter Connections Employer Recognition Award recognizes employers who voluntarily initiate programs that encourage the use of commuting alternatives that make a difference to both the participating organization and the region.

USPTO administers patent and trademark laws protecting intellectual property and rewarding individual effort Intellectual property is a potent force in the competitive free enterprise system. By protecting intellectual endeavors and encouraging technological progress, USPTO seeks to preserve the United States' technological edge, which is a key to our current and future competitiveness. USPTO also disseminates patent and trademark information that promotes an understanding of intellectual property protection and facilitates the development and sharing of new technologies worldwide.

Over 6 million patents have been issued since the first patent in 1790 and more than 2.3 million trademarks have been registered since the first in 1870. Last year USPTO issued 182,223 patents and registered 127,794 trademarks.