Public User's Meeting

Public Records Division (PRD)/Public Search Services Division (PSSD)
Quarterly Public User's Meeting
December 18, 2012

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, PSSD Director, chaired the meeting. There were four members of the public in attendance.

CIO John Owens was present at the meeting to handle Q&A.

Public Search Facility (PSF) Customer Satisfaction Survey Results

A handout was distributed to all meeting participants showing the results of the 2012 PSF Customer Satisfaction Survey conducted in October. There were significantly fewer respondents to the 2012 survey than in 2010, only 40 as opposed to 70. It was also noted that overall satisfaction dropped from 87% in 2010 to 75% in 2012. And while 75% is considered a very healthy score, the drop is cause for further exploration. Satisfaction with the number of workstations dropped from 93% to 78%, reflecting the closure of second floor space in 2011. However, the highest concurrent utilization of total workstations in any given month still provides more than sufficient access without a wait.

Two of the attendees noted that the lower number of responses may be due to not having enough reminders and having a shorter window of time to participate in the survey. USPTO responded that while the time frame for the survey had remained unchanged from past years, the survey will be extended next time around. This year for the first time the survey was made conveniently available on the search workstations. Paper copies were also placed at every public workstation, reminders had been put out over the workstations twice, and the electronic bulletin board had a daily reminder. Attendees suggested that more searchers are using other avenues for performing their searches outside what is offered in the PSF. Usage statistics continue to trend downward every year, and private sector search databases continue to increase. There are fewer customers now than in 2004 when paper search files were eliminated.

Attendees suggested email notifications for Quarterly Public User Meetings, having the Public Search Facility set up a Facebook account, and going to former PSF customers to find out why they are not using the Public Search Facility any longer.

Public Search Facility Status

PSF Manager Doug Salser addressed the complaint about loss of public Wi-Fi in the PSF on Monday, December 3, 2012. The outage was found to be due to the system being taken down for maintenance over the preceding weekend, but not coming back up on Monday as scheduled. Once the problem was discovered it was resolved and Wi-Fi was available by Tuesday 12/04/12. He also advised the public that they can contact the OCIO Service Desk and report that Wi-Fi is down or let a member of the PSF staff know.

Question: Can you modify the splash page to provide actual contact information when there is a problem with Wi-Fi? It says to contact the CIO's office but no contact information is made available.

Mr. Owens said they will look into adding an email address for contact information.

Question: What is the status of new examiner search systems and when will they be made available to the public? Examiners will experience changes to their search systems in 2014, with public user changes occurring by 2015. Replaced search systems will be retired once the new system is up and running. Everything will be web based with online access. It will be as powerful as EAST with additional new features. The changes will not be available beyond the firewall until 2016, however.

Question: There is a recent problem with printing on TDR. Thank you for reporting; it will be looked at.

Question: Can more advanced EAST classes be offered in the PSF? Will check with STIC to see if this is a possibility.

Public Records Division Status

There were no status updates to report at this time.

The Public User's Meeting was adjourned at 2:42pm.

Next meeting date: TBD