Executive Order 13563
On January 18, 2011, President Obama issued Executive Order 13563, Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review. In the Executive Order, the President stated:
Our regulatory system must protect public health, welfare, safety, and our environment while promoting economic growth, innovation, competitiveness, and job creation. It must be based on the best available science. It must allow for public participation and an open exchange of ideas. It must promote predictability and reduce uncertainty. It must identify and use the best, most innovative, and least burdensome tools for achieving regulatory ends. It must take into account benefits and costs, both quantitative and qualitative. It must ensure that regulations are accessible, consistent, written in plain language, and easy to understand. It must measure, and seek to improve, the actual results of regulatory requirements.
The Executive Order directed agencies to develop preliminary plans for reviewing their existing "significant regulations" (as that term is defined in Executive Order 12866) and determining whether and how such regulations could be made more effective and less burdensome. The Executive Order also directed agencies to provide the public with an opportunity to participate in the regulatory process and to provide comments on the development of such a plan, and further directed that timely on-line access to the rule making docket be provided so that the public had the opportunity to comment on all pertinent parts of the rule making docket.
USPTO's Preliminary Plan for Retrospective Analysis of Existing Rules
The USPTO, in its capacity as an agency within the Department of Commerce (DOC), has developed a preliminary plan for the review of its existing significant regulations, which is part of DOC's more general preliminary plan that was prepared in accordance with Executive Order 13563. DOC's preliminary plan, which includes the process by which the Office will engage in a retrospective analysis of its existing significant regulations and a list of candidate regulations for review over the next two years, was submitted on May 18, 2011 in accordance with Executive Order 13563. A PDF copy of this preliminary plan is available here.
In order to develop this preliminary plan, the USPTO solicited comments from the public on the plan and regulations that should be reviewed under the plan. That request for comments was published in the Federal Register on March 22, 2011. That request, and the public comments the USPTO received, are collected here.
Finalizing the Preliminary Plan
Now that the DOC preliminary plan has been released, the USPTO is working on finalizing the portion of the plan that relates to the USPTO in accordance with guidance from OMB. In connection with that, the USPTO is seeking public comment on the preliminary plan, including any ideas from the public on ways the plan can be improved or ideas for regulations that should be reviewed pursuant to the plan. The USPTO has published a Federal Register notice titled "Preliminary Plan for Retrospective Analysis of Existing Rules" inviting public comment on the preliminary plan. Comments can be e-mailed directly to the Office at firstname.lastname@example.org. The USPTO will be considering comments even after the comment period set forth in the Federal Register notice has expired.
Even after the plan is finalized, however, and on a continuous basis as it implements the plan, the USPTO invites and will consider comments from the public on the implementation of the plan and potential regulations to be reviewed under the plan. The email@example.com e-mail address will remain active as the best way for the public to provide comments to the USPTO on the plan and the USPTO's work reviewing its regulations.
Public Comments Concerning the Plan
Results of Previous Regulatory Reviews
Current Regulatory Review