USPTO releases FY 2020 Performance and Accountability Report
Guest blog by Jay Hoffman, Chief Financial Officer of the USPTO
The USPTO’s Performance and Accountability Report (PAR) for fiscal year (FY) 2020 is now online and available to members of the public. The PAR serves as the USPTO’s annual report, similar to what private sector companies prepare for their shareholders. Each year, the USPTO publishes this report to update the public on our performance and financial health. With the added challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, the PAR highlights some of our most notable successes during this historic year.
The PAR also charts the agency’s progress toward meeting the goals outlined in our 2018-2022 Strategic Plan: optimizing patent quality and timeliness; optimizing trademark quality and timeliness; and providing domestic and global leadership to improve intellectual property (IP) policy, enforcement, and protection worldwide. These goals govern the quality and quantity of our service to IP stakeholders. In addition, the PAR provides information on the USPTO’s progress toward a broader management goal: delivering organizational excellence. The PAR also contains a wealth of data and historical information of interest to our stakeholders, including data on patent and trademark examining activities, application filings, and agency staffing levels.
While the PAR is a record of our achievements, it is also a frank assessment of the challenges we face as an agency. We will continue to address these challenges, including: working to maintain stable and sustainable funding, particularly in a highly uncertain economic climate; continuing to enhance our IT capabilities for all business areas and maintain effective legacy systems during the transition to their approaching retirement; and meeting legal challenges to various USPTO rules and procedures (e.g., challenges to the way in which our administrative judges for our Trial and Appeal Boards are appointed).
FY 2020 marks the 28th consecutive year that the USPTO’s financial statements have received an “unmodified” (i.e., clean) audit opinion. Our clean audit opinion gives the public independent assurance that the information in the agency’s financial statements is presented fairly and follows generally accepted accounting principles. The auditors also reported no material weaknesses in the USPTO’s internal controls and no instances of non-compliance with laws and regulations affecting the financial statements.
Here at the USPTO, we take pride in our long record of producing annual PARs that meet the highest standards of transparency, quality, and accountability. In August, the Association of Government Accountants (AGA) recognized the USPTO with its Certificate of Excellence in Accountability Reporting for the 18th consecutive year. The AGA also awarded the USPTO its “Best in Class” honors for demonstrating “proactive financial management support for mission continuity and accountability.” Our team has worked hard to ensure this year’s PAR continues to deliver this standard of excellence.
I hope you find value in this document, including greater insights into the agency’s many important activities and achievements. Finally, I want to thank everyone who contributed to this year’s PAR, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. This document is truly a team effort. I hope you enjoy looking back and reflecting on a successful FY 2020.