Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Michelle Lee has assembled a Working Group on Regulatory Reform to consider, review, and recommend ways that USPTO regulations can be improved, revised, and streamlined. This Working Group consists of subject matter experts who are familiar with all of the agency’s regulations and will meet on a weekly basis. Members of this Working Group will also represent the USPTO on the Department of Commerce’s Regulatory Reform Task Force. Throughout this process, the USPTO Working Group will be seeking public input for any rulemaking that would revise or eliminate regulations.
Nicolas Oettinger, Senior Counsel for Regulatory and Legislative Affairs in the USPTO’s Office of General Counsel, will be leading this effort.
Additionally, members of the public may submit their ideas to improve, revise, and streamline USPTO regulations to: RegulatoryReformGroup@uspto.gov.
USPTO’s Working Group on Regulatory Reform implements President Donald Trump’s January 30, 2017 Executive Order 13771, titled “Presidential Executive Order on Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs,” and his February 24, 2017 Executive Order 13777, titled “Presidential Executive Order on Enforcing the Regulatory Reform Agenda.” Executive Order 13771, as further explained in Office of Management and Budget Interim Guidance, charges federal agencies with repealing two existing regulations for every new significant regulation, and in such a way that the total cost of regulations does not increase. Executive Order 13777 directs the head of every agency to establish a Regulatory Reform Task Force and designate a Regulatory Reform Officer (RRO) to “oversee the implementation of regulatory reform initiatives and policies to ensure that agencies effectively carry out regulatory reforms.” While the USPTO is considered to be an agency in other contexts, the responsible agency for Executive Order 13777 is the Department of Commerce with USPTO providing support. Each Regulatory Reform Task Force must evaluate existing regulations and make recommendations regarding which to repeal, replace, or modify.