Public User's Meeting

Public Records Division (PRD)/Public Search Services Division (PSSD)
Quarterly Public User's Meeting
December 19, 2011

The Public User's Meeting was held at 2:00 p.m. in the Global IP Academy, Madison East, 2nd floor, at 600 Dulany Street on the USPTO campus in Alexandria, Virginia. Martha Sneed, Manager of PSSD, chaired the meeting. There were 4 members of the public in attendance.

Martha Sneed called the meeting to order and introduced Chief Information Officer John Owens. Mr. Owens attended the meeting to field any question/concerns brought by the public due to many changes over the past year.

Public Search Facility (PSF) Status

UPWS is stable. There was a glitch with the system for two days in October which was addressed. Everything has been functioning well since.

The close out of the second floor was completed in August. All workstations on the 1st floor are operating properly and there have been no wait times for customers to access a workstation. Peak concurrent usage of the workstations for the past five months was in November at 104 of 123 available workstations. Average ranges of 75-90 concurrent users occur daily between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Old workstation keyboards were replaced with new ones in August after concerns voiced by the public concerning the cleanliness of the old ones. It was determined that it was cheaper to replace them all rather than clean them. Most, if not all, were over 7 years old.

The construction of the new training room in the Public Search Facility where the two service windows were previously located has been completed and is ready for use in January 2012.

Question: Will the PSF workstation pc be replaced with a universal laptop? No, the workstations in the PSF will be replaced with new desktops that will operate on Windows 7. That replacement will occur toward the end of FY12.

Public Records Division

There was nothing to report at this time. The floor was opened for questions.

A customer voiced a concern about the mailing of certified copies through regular mail. She received a certified copy in an envelope that had been damaged and re-taped by the Post Office. While her copy was itself undamaged, she was still concerned and wanted to know if it was possible to re-instate the use of the customer boxes. Mr. Owens said the boxes would not be reinstated, but he would have staff check on the durability of envelopes used for mailings going through the Post Office. He assured customers that copies damaged or not received would be replaced by USPTO. He reiterated that customer boxes once provided and maintained by the USPTO have been discontinued due to prohibitive costs for upkeep and maintenance.

A customer asked to have a FedEx mailing option included on the online ordering tool for certified copies (OEMS) available on the USPTO Web Site. Mr. Owens noted that for future implementation.

A customer asked about the 3rd floor RSQ finance window and if it would be closing in the near future. Mr. Owens indicated that the agency's finance office is contemplating the closing of all USPTO service windows to be replaced with an online service to perform all current window functions.

A customer asked when is the Public Records window on 3rd floor of RSQ staffed. There is a sign posted that says to call the customer service number; however, sometimes no one answers. A customer came by 3 days in a row but could not get his order and left extremely upset/irate. Call logs for that time period will be requested and analyzed to see if there is a pattern of calls going unanswered.

A customer asked about the methodology of "at cost" orders. They were charged $900 for an order consisting of only a few pages. An explanation of "at cost" methodology will be made available to customers.

The meeting was adjourned at 2:25pm. The next quarterly meeting day and time is to be determined.