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Accompanying Information on USPTO Performance

Performance Audits and Evaluations

The OIG completed two evaluations during FY 2011. The first report, Stronger Management Controls Are Needed Over USPTO’s Projection of Patent Fee Collections (December 2010), focused on effectiveness of the process for projecting patent revenue, which is necessary for meeting the mission and the strategic goals for the Patent organization. The OIG made a series of recommendations for stronger management controls that would enhance transparency and accountability in the projection of patent fee collections. The USPTO concurred with the OIG’s audit findings and began to address all recommendations. The USPTO has delivered standard procedures manuals for fee collection forecasts including portion of the patent production model that documents roles, responsibilities, and underlying components used with fee collection forecasts. This evaluation was performed in support of the Management Goal: Achieve Organizational Excellence.

The second report, USPTO Patent Quality Assurance Process (November 2010), evaluated the effectiveness of the USPTO’s patent quality assurance program in ensuring that established quality standards are met, and whether the USPTO’s patent quality assurance process complies with applicable Federal, bureau, and other laws, regulations, policies, procedures, and guidelines. The OIG identified internal control weaknesses and recommended steps to improve the internal controls related to the quality assurance program. The USPTO generally concurred with the OIG’s audit findings and began to address the recommendations. The USPTO will develop standard procedures for handling of cases with errors reported in the Office of Patent Quality Assurance (OPQA), and will define the role of OPQA in the final adjudication of agreed-upon errors within the Technology Centers. This evaluation was performed in support of the Strategic Goal I: Improve Patent Quality and Timeliness.

Performance Data Verification and Validation

In accordance with the Government Performance and Results Act requirements, the USPTO is committed to making certain the performance information it reports is complete, accurate, and consistent. The USPTO developed a strategy to validate and verify the quality, reliability, and credibility of USPTO performance results and has taken the following actions:

ACCOUNTABILITY — Responsibility for providing performance data lies with managers of USPTO programs who are held accountable for making certain that procedures are in place to ensure the accuracy of data and the performance measurement sources are complete and reliable.

QUALITY CONTROL — Automated systems and databases that collect, track, and store performance indicators are monitored and maintained by USPTO program managers, with systems support provided by the OCIO. Each system, such as the Patent Application Location and Monitoring or Trademark Reporting And Application Monitoring, incorporates internal program edits to control the accuracy of supporting data. The edits typically evaluate data for reasonableness, consistency, and accuracy. Crosschecks between other internal automated systems also provide assurances of data reasonableness and consistency. In addition to internal monitoring of each system, experts outside of the business units routinely monitor the data-collection methodology. The OCFO is responsible for monitoring the Agency’s performance, providing direction and support on data collection methodology and analysis, ensuring that data quality checks are in place, and reporting performance management data.

DATA ACCURACY — The USPTO conducts verification and validation of performance measures periodically to ensure quality, reliability, and credibility. At the beginning of each fiscal year, and at various points throughout the reporting or measurement period, sampling techniques and sample counts are reviewed and adjusted to ensure data are statistically reliable for making inferences about the population as a whole. Data analyses are also conducted to assist the business units in interpreting program data, such as the identification of statistically significant trends and underlying factors that may be impacting a specific performance indicator. For examination quality measures, the review programs themselves are assessed in terms of reviewer variability, data entry errors, and various potential biases.

Commissioner’s Performance for FY 2011

The AIPA, Title VI, Subtitle G, the Patent and Trademark Office Efficiency Act, requires that an annual performance agreement be established between the Commissioner for Patents and the Secretary of Commerce, and the Commissioner for Trademarks and the Secretary of Commerce. The Commissioners for Patents and Trademarks have FY 2011 performance agreements with the Secretary of Commerce, which outline the measurable organizational goals and objectives for which they are responsible. They may be awarded a bonus, based upon an evaluation of their performance as defined in the agreement, of up to 50 percent of their base salary. The results achieved in FY 2011 are documented in this report. FY 2011 bonus information is currently not available. For FY 2010, the Commissioner for Patents was awarded a bonus of 20.8 percent of base salary and the Commissioner for Trademarks a bonus of 13.9 percent of base salary.

United States Patent and Trademark Office
Last Modified: 01/03/2012 14:04:41