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Collage showing images with one-word descriptors from the U S P T O Fiscal Year 2008 Performance and Accountability Report cover that reinforces the reportís tagline of Transforming for the Future Today.
Performance and Accountability Report Fiscal Year 2008
Management's Discussion and Analysis

Table of Contents | Management | Financial | Auditor | IG | Other

The President's Management Agenda

The USPTO is committed to the objectives of the PMA, which is the strategy implemented by President Bush’s Administration to improve the management and performance of the Federal Government. Departmental agencies are scored green, yellow or red on their status in achieving overall goals or long-term criteria, as well as their progress in implementing improvement plans.

Strategic Management of Human Capital

The USPTO plays a vital role in enabling discoveries, inventions and creative ideas to be brought to the marketplace. To support this effort, it is essential to have a strong human capital management program that continues to attract, hire, train, and maintain employees with technical knowledge and skills that increase in both range and depth.

  • Recruited and hired 1,211 patent examiners in FY 2008.
  • Supported Telework – Of the USPTO’s 9,518 employees, 54 percent are eligible to work at home. Of those eligible, 82.7 percent actually did
    work at home.
  • Continue to measure business areas for progress in achieving the objectives of the Strategic Human Capital Plan.
  • Continue to hire an additional 1,200 patent examiners through FY 2013 by holding recruitment events at colleges and universities, and bringing college and university representatives to USPTO for on-site briefings.
  • Train recruiters and hiring coordinators on issues such as reviewing resumes and transcripts, conducting interviews, and ensuring adherence to merit system principles.

Competitive Sourcing

The USPTO is committed to achieving performance enhancements and cost-savings through competitive sourcing.

  • Directed the Competitive Sourcing Steering Committee (CSSC) to conduct feasibility studies on all Federal Activities Inventory Reform (FAIR) Act activities containing 20 or more commercial jobs. The feasibility studies will determine if sufficient “return” exists to justify the “investment” associated with conducting a competition.
  • Once the feasibility studies are complete, for any study that establishes a favorable return on investment, the CSSC will authorize a full assessment on the scope of the study, applicable mission impacts, risks, estimated savings, and timeline. After the full assessment, the CSSC will determine specific functions to be competed among public and private sources.

Improved Financial Performance

The USPTO is in compliance with all Federal accounting principles and standards and has encountered no instances of material weaknesses in internal controls or non-compliance with Federal accounting regulations. The USPTO will continue to maintain and strengthen internal controls and improve the timeliness and usefulness of financial management information.

  • Met all quarterly financial reporting requirements instituted by OMB.
  • Sustained the Agency’s clean audit opinion, with FY 2008 marking the 16th consecutive unqualified audit opinion and the 12th consecutive year with no material weaknesses.
  • Maintained a certified and accredited, fully integrated financial management system and uses a data warehouse to manage both financial and operational data. The data warehouse is used by managers for analyzing financial results and performance and by supervisory patent examiners for managing patent processing time frames.
  • Operated a mature activity based cost (ABC) system that captures costs of core mission activities and both direct and indirect costs for the Agency. Managers use data from the ABC system to analyze the cost of operations when making decisions regarding improving processes, setting fees, or developing budget requirements.
  • The USPTO will continue its efforts to meet all reporting requirements, comply with all financial reporting rules, and earn an unqualified audit opinion with no material weaknesses. Financial systems will continue to be maintained at the highest standards and integrated into the daily operations.

Expanded E-Government

E-government is a critical factor in achieving the USPTO’s three strategic goals. Specific e-government activities related to the strategic goals are included in the Performance Goals and Results section. The following describes enterprise-wide activities in support of this PMA initiative.

  • Continued support of the Patent Electronic Filing System (EFS)-Web system (the electronic patent document filing system launched in FY 2006) which provides users with a simple, fast, and secure method for submitting initial and follow-on patent applications over the Internet.
  • Continued development of the PFW system to pro-actively support the Patent organization as it faces the issues of increased filings, the need for remote access, and significant, fast paced changes in the examined technologies.
  • TEAS continued to provide customers with the ability to submit trademark applications and other trademark forms electronically over the Internet.
  • Continued to expand the BPAI and TTAB electronic processing systems.
  • Continued to enhance the electronic business center (available at the USPTO Web site www.uspto.gov) which provides citizens with on-line services such as the ability to pay fees, obtain historical patent and trademark information, file applications, maintain patents and registered marks, view patent and trademark documents, and locate registered patent attorneys or agents.
  • The USPTO will implement the HR Line of Business, which will improve on-line HR services and capabilities.
  • The USPTO will continue planning for the Financial Management Line of Business.
  • The USPTO will continue to: improve the security, availability, and quality of IT systems and services, while reducing their complexity and cost; support business area needs; provide internal on-line tools (re: consistency and quality of searching and exam); provide electronic file management and workflow; develop interactive on-line electronic filing capabilities; upgrade e-tools; help move to fully electronic records; eliminate the need to collect and store paper records; and continue to improve overall data quality.

Budget and Performance Integration

Since FY 1999, the USPTO has developed an annual corporate plan that links the annual performance plan and budget request so that resource requirements for continuing programs and new initiatives are aligned with outputs and performance goals.

  • Ensured that the annual performance plan is linked to the Agency’s FY 2010 budget request and reflects the priorities and goals found in the 2007-2012 Strategic Plan. The annual budget request is a consequence of USPTO managers integrating their funding requirements to the 2007-2012 Strategic Plan, and establishing measurable objectives and milestones for each goal. The annual integrated budget/performance plan is the most effective and efficient way to establish accountability by making sure that performance measures are consistent with the views of the Administration and Congress.
  • Refined the Agency’s performance goals for better integration of budgetary resources with both enterprise-wide strategic goals and individual unit performance targets.
  • Completed the 2008 PART effort to assess the Patent and OIPPE programs.
  • Utilized the PART, and other assessment evaluations and modeling techniques to effectively enhance delivery of services and achieve improved program results. The Agency routinely monitors program performance targets to ensure achievement of actual results vis-à-vis performance goals. Organizational goals and crosscutting performance measures are also included in senior executive members’ performance appraisal plans to ensure alignment with Agency mission, strategic goals, and objectives.
  • Improve efficiency measures and their targets to provide more meaningful information for decision making.
  • Continue activities from Improvement Plans as a result of the 2008 PART effort.
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