Public User's Meeting

Public Records Division (PRD)/Public Information Services Division (PISD)
Public User's Meeting
Wednesday, August 19, 2009 2:00 p.m.
Remsen Building Conference Center

The Public User's Meeting was held at 2:00 p.m. in the 1st floor conference room 1D04/1D14 of the Remsen Building at 400 Dulany Street on the USPTO campus in Alexandria, Virginia. Martha Sneed, Manager PISD, chaired the meeting. There were twelve (12) members of the public in attendance.


The USPTO will be closed Monday, September 7, 2009 in observance of the Labor Day holiday.

Meet and Greet Chief Information Officer John B. Owens, II

Martha Sneed introduced USPTO's Chief Information Officer, John B. Owens, II to the public in attendance at the meeting. After introducing his Chief of Staff, Scott Williams, Mr. Owens stated he wanted to know about any issues or concerns with the use of the USPTO Public Search Facility. He also said that he would attempt to address any questions they may have and if he could not immediately respond to a question he would find out the answer and provide a response at a later time.

Several members of the public expressed concern about the integrity of the information stored in USPTO database systems. These public users stated that they discover incorrect or incomplete patent information when reviewing system search results against other data sources.

Members of the public described the impact of this problem on their customers.

Incorrect or incomplete information invalidates patent searches, causing searchers to spend time needlessly. Unreliable search findings can also mislead prospect applicants. Searchers also expressed disappointment in not having a more active role or input into how the databases are configured and maintained.

Public users asked whether the Examiners, who use the same databases the public searchers use, express having difficulty or complain about data quality/integrity concern.

Mr. Owens stated that he was not aware of specific data problems presented by the public users but he was aware of another reported data concern. He noted that he had already taken the action to set-up an OCIO business unit to address USPTO system data integrity matters.

Public searchers also spoke about their use of the wireless service available in the Public Search Facility and how the configuration of the wireless service was unreliable and blocked access to some sites and use of common email protocols. CIO John Owens explained that USPTO needs to be compliant with federal IT security mandates.

Mr. Owens emphasized that there are no overnight solutions to any of the concerns brought to his attention during the meeting. He said it will take time and funding to address public concerns. With budget constraints affecting all aspects of the Agency, including the implementation of already planned IT infrastructure improvements, there will be delays in developing and deploying solutions to address public requirements.

Mr. Owens shared with the public that he already has discussed with the new Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property the critical need for funds to upgrade the USPTO IT infrastructure.

Question: Could a direct channel be set-up between the public users' and the CIO's office to communicate search system requirements and on-line search concerns?

CIO's response: I will look into appointing a liaison between the Search Facility public users and the OCIO. Mr. Owens stated he also plans to periodically attend public user meetings.

Public Feedback: After many complaints about intermittent WIFI access at the PTO, there is very little improvement.

Question: Is it possible to do away with Blue Coat?

CIO's response: Because of IT security and firewall protections it is unlikely that Blue Coat will be eliminated.

The members of the public present at the meeting expressed their appreciation to Mr. Owens for being willing to listen to their concerns as well as their suggestions for improving USPTO public search systems and information services.

Other concerns expressed by the public:

  • Bandwidth response times
  • Users' email access on campus
  • Keep PubEAST patent search application up and running
  • Improve PubEAST interface design
  • Free access to DERWENT patent data

Public Search Facility Update

Deployment date for PubEAST enhancements is pending.

Public Records Division Update

Nothing to report.

The meeting was adjourned at 3:20pm. Next meeting is scheduled for September 16, 2009, 2:00pm in the Jefferson building conference center room 1D70/1D80.