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Friday Jan 06, 2012

Full Speed Ahead for 2012

Blog by Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO David Kappos

Happy New Year and welcome back from what I hope was a restful holiday break!
As I wrote in my last blog entry, 2011 was a year of historic achievements for our Agency, none of which would have been possible without the hard work and dedication of the entire USPTO team.  Once again, and simply: THANK YOU. 
We have strong momentum heading into 2012, and I want to capitalize on that momentum to the fullest. In that spirit I’d like to take a few moments to discuss what lies ahead and how we can make this another great year for the American inventor, the American economy and the American intellectual property community.
The mission of the USPTO is clearly stated in our Strategic Plan: fostering innovation, competitiveness and economic growth, domestically and abroad, by delivering high quality and timely examination of patent and trademark applications, guiding domestic and international intellectual property policy, and delivering intellectual property information and education worldwide, with a highly skilled, diverse workforce. It is important to remind ourselves of these words at the beginning of a new year, as they orient our efforts toward a common purpose.
Consider the superb progress we are making to reduce our backlog of unexamined patent applications, with an emphasis on resolving the oldest cases as expeditiously as possible. While reducing the backlog is an important goal in itself, it is absolutely critical to our Agency’s mission of fostering innovation, competitiveness and economic growth. Our daily work here is vital to the nation’s economic recovery.
Similarly, in our Trademarks operation, we will keep up the stellar momentum in excellent office actions, responding to increased filings, and leading the way on global enforcement issues such as in areas of counterfeiting and piracy, to ensure that American businesses can protect their brands and reap the full rewards of their initiative and creativity.
The continuing implementation of the America Invents Act (AIA) makes it imperative that our employees be prepared with the training, knowledge, and hands-on experience necessary for us to crisply implement this landmark legislation.
In our legal department, we'll be advocating for strong and balanced IP legal interpretations and advancing the IP laws generally, through close cooperation between the Solicitor's Office and the Trademarks and Patents teams as applicable, and with proactive policy support from our External Affairs team.
Our productive engagements with partner agencies overseas will continue as we collaborate on key projects like our Cooperative Patent Classification (CPC) initiative with the European Patent Office, the Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) with a growing host of countries as diverse as Japan, Australia, China, and Russia. We’re also looking forward to working with the other members of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) to advance an international treaty protecting the rights of audio/visual performers, at what will be the first IP diplomatic conference in a decade.
Long gone are the days when patent and trademark offices worked in isolation from one another. Now more than ever, we must think and act as concerned citizens of a global IP community. That’s also why we will continue to advance our global patent law harmonization agenda that works towards greater efficiency and quality in patenting across multiple jurisdictions—and does so in a way that incorporates the views, processes, and perspectives of both developing and developed nations.
Finally, we will continue to deploy new, state-of-the-art technologies at the USPTO to improve our information technology systems and support infrastructure which is instrumental to optimizing the quality of our trademark and patent examination work, and the efficiency with which our user communities conduct business with the Office.
We have made a lot of progress with an extremely talented team of dedicated professionals. With the increased confidence that comes from success, I have no doubt we will go even farther in 2012.
We get big things done around here. If you thought 2011 was a great year for team USPTO, you ain’t seen nothing yet!


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