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Thursday Mar 18, 2010

Revising the Examiner PAP

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

I am pleased to report that a new joint labor and management project is now officially under way to update the patent examiner performance appraisal plan (PAP) and to evaluate the existing processes for addressing performance and conduct issues at the USPTO.   I recognize that our workforce is our most valued resource and believe that managers must make every effort possible to ensure each employee’s success. 


The focus of the task force is to align the patent examiner PAP to organizational goals, and ensure strategic alignment at all levels.  A strong emphasis will be placed on clearly defining objective measures that will be universally applied during the performance appraisal process, as well as developing a framework that focuses on coaching, mentoring, and training.  The task force will be looking to modify the PAP to ensure transparency, educate employees on their responsibilities, and enable managers to set clear expectations and objectives for the achievement of organizational goals.  In doing so, together we will improve the USPTO's management and employee development, in turn increasing our Agency's contribution to economic growth and opportunity.


The task force is headed by Peggy Focarino, Deputy Commissioner for Patents, and Robert Budens, POPA President, and consists of eight members (four from management and four from POPA).  The group will spend the next six weeks working collaboratively toward the above goals.


I encourage you to provide your ideas and feedback directly to the task force at or here on my blog.


Mr. Kappos, as a patent attorney I'd like to say how impressed I am with your initiatives and ideas so far. Thank you. Regarding Examiner performance, what I would like to see most is better first office actions. It is difficult to put together meaningful affidavits or hold useful interviews when the first office action doesn't have very much to do with the invention. So too many cases that shouldn't require a continuation do. Perhaps more time for a first action or more counts alloted would have good results. My clients would be happy to pay a larger filing fee and to wait longer in order to get good first office actions.

Posted by Jennifer Bales on March 19, 2010 at 10:16 AM EDT #

I have really had a difficult time to say the least with two applications being made for patents. I understand that there is a grading system also there is a learning curve for anyone seeking a patent! However, what I fail to understand is that the "proper" procedures from start-to-finish if you will have absolutely no use or true bearing on the outcome of an application or the actual patent. It is this point system and grading of the examiners that seems to take precedent to the actual patents. Is this the case or not?

Posted by Samuel Sims on April 01, 2010 at 11:38 AM EDT #

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