Public User's Meeting

Office of Administrative Services
Special Public User's Meeting
January 12, 2012

A Special 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. John Hassett, Director of Administrative Services, chaired the meeting. There was one member of the public in attendance.

John Hassett called the meeting to order and, in an effort to provide context to the discussion, he provided background information concerning several of the Public Information Services Group's Business Case Analysis recommendations which had an impact on public users (e.g., closing of the 2nd floor of the Public Search Facility, elimination of the public user delivery mail boxes, etc.). Similarly, a Business Case Analysis was conducted of Office of Administrative Services functions and three recommendations from that study will have a minor impact on the external user community.

  1. Eventual destruction of approximately 250,000 IFW boxes containing file histories of all paper-filed applications - currently housed at the Springfield Repository. Disposal to begin in September 2012 and applicants will have six months after filing to review the digitized images and work with the USPTO to correct any discrepancies - at which time the paper will be destroyed.

    Question: Are these the application files on hold in the warehouse after the paper has been digitized? Yes.

  2. Elimination of foreign art and non-patent literature (also known as non-useful art, having been so designated by examiners) stored in shoe cases at the USPTO's Springfield, VA warehouse. The public user access data to these files revealed that 14 separate individuals accessed the collection a total of 86 times in calendar year 2008; 14 individuals accessed the collection a total of 71 times in calendar year 2009; and 10 individuals accessed the collection a total of 62 times in calendar year 2010. Using the 2010 data, the USPTO incurred space rental and contractor costs of $3,557 per public user visit, which translates into an annual per capita subsidy of just over $22,000.

    Question/comment: So you are going to get rid of these files and not scan it first? USPTO management made the decision to put the collection far enough away so the user/public would not travel to access them. Correct, the USPTO does not plan to scan the collection before elimination.

  3. Elimination of foreign art and non-patent literature located in two search rooms on the concourse level of the Randolph Building. Analysis showed that over a three-month span (September, October and November 2010) 4 individuals accessed this collection 45 times during September; 11 individuals accessed the collection 21 times during October; and 11 individuals accessed the collection 29 times in November. When averaging the three-month 2010 data, the USPTO incurred a rent-related cost of $9,203 per public user visit.

    Question: How many examiners accessed this collection, zero? The data showed that, on average, one examiner accessed this collection once every other day.

    The USPTO met with POPA, the union that represents patent examiners, and after surveying primary examiners, it determined that about 25% of this collection remains useful and that art will be
    retained in the smaller of the two Randolph concourse search rooms.

    Question: Will the remaining collection be scanned?
    No. Efforts to eliminate all but 25% of the collection will begin in February 2012.

    Question: Could the USPTO arrange to have the 25% published in the Manual of Classification?
    Yes, since the USPTO will have to inventory the remaining art in support of examiners visiting the search room, there should not be a problem in publishing a list of remaining available art in the Manual of Classification.

    A customer voiced a concern that these collections should be scanned and classified and made part of the database for searching.

The meeting was adjourned at 2:30 p.m.