The Trademark Operation will incorporate
in-process review and/or "second pair of eyes" into its examination and
review process to improve the quality of examination.
Trademark examining attorneys, examining
applications for the registration of trademarks in the Trademark Operation,
are moved through a series of training courses and certification procedures
until they are authorized to work independently and are solely responsible
for decisions to refuse marks or approve for publication. The authority
to work independently is known as "full signatory authority." Currently,
the only review of work of "full signatory" examiners is done by the Office
of Trademark Quality Review (OTQR) and their managing attorney under the
performance appraisal plan. Both review processes only include a small
percentage of actions taken by the examining attorney.
However, the Trademark Operation currently
receives a fairly large number of complaints regarding first office actions
taken by examining attorneys related to the need for the action and/or
the consistency of the office action.
The Trademark Operation recently initiated
a pilot project focused on the monitoring of the quality of first actions. This
pilot in-process review activity regarding first actions indicates
that improvements in quality of office actions taken by examining attorneys,
regardless of their experience in the Office, is needed.
Create an internal in-process review for
first actions where a statistically significant sample of first actions
is reviewed for quality and correctness. Information will be collected
in a database and used to identify training needs either for individual
examining attorneys or for the organization if the problem appears
to be endemic.
would lead to targeted training for examiners or on specific issues,
which should allow the Trademark Operation to address "real time" quality
and substantially improve the quality of office actions.
Create "second pair of eyes" review with
a focus on statutory refusals for "expedited" examination options. Review
would not encompass reexamination, but would focus on necessity of
refusal and on the quality of the office action with a requirement
for rework if
the office action did not meet standards.
use of e-filing and "expedited" examination process
concerns of applicants regarding consistency and quality
cost and/or lower production (if review is done by examining attorneys)
No change to current system.
issues will not be effectively addressed
Proof of Concept:
The USPTO has an existing cadre of experienced attorney
advisors responsible for assessing examination quality from a statistically
significant sample of applications each year. The results of these evaluations
are published annually as a measure of examination quality.
The USPTO will design a pilot to test the
viability of the concept to create a "second pair of eyes" review process.
Input from the user community will be considered
in the design of the pilot program. The results of the pilot will
be evaluated and shared with the user community prior to making a decision
substantial changes or resource investments.
"in-process review" on October 1, 2002.
· Seek input from the user community
on the design and evaluation of program to test "second pair of eyes" in
fiscal year 2003 through
presentations to the user community, discussions with the Public Advisory
Committee for Trademarks and
through Official Gazette notices soliciting comments.
a pilot program to test the concept.
the results of the pilot program with the user community.
"second pair of eyes" following successful results of a pilot program
and consultation with user groups following implementation of the Trademark
Information System (TIS) and expedited examination.
|Work Breakdown Structure||Task Name||Start||Finish||Project Lead|
|26||Quality 4: T-05 In-process Review & 2nd Pair of Eyes||10/01/01||10/01/04||L. Beresford|
|26A||T-05A Enhance "in-process" quality review through evaluations and changes to the internal quality review function||10/01/01||10/01/04|| |
|26A.1||Pilot and evaluate in-process review; establish in-process review (T-05A)||12/03/01||12/31/02|| |
|26A.2||Review/evaluate quality of first office action (T-05A)||01/02/02||12/31/02|| |
|26A.3||Review/evaluate quality of final actions (T-05A)||07/02/02||12/31/02|| |
|26A.4||Review/evaluate quality of examiner statements (T-05A)||10/07/02||09/01/03|| |
|26A.5||Transfer OQMT/TMQR and training to the Trademark Organization (T-05A)||06/03/02||10/01/02|| |
|26A.6||Establish TM Quality Review and TM Training Office (T-05A)||10/01/02||12/31/02|| |
|26A.7||Implement the revised performance standards/measures (T-05A)||10/01/01||12/31/02|| |
|26A.8||Incorporate quality review findings into training and testing materials (T-05A)||10/01/02||12/31/02|| |
|26A.9||Determine how the program will be administered/supported in the future (T-05A)||01/02/03||03/03/03|| |
|26A.10||Recruit and hire positions (T-05A)||03/17/03||06/02/03|| |
|26A.11||Consult with the TPAC and user community on the quality objectives and results (T-05A)||02/03/03||06/02/03|| |
|26A.12||Address labor relations implications (T-05A)||07/01/03||08/01/03|| |
|26A.16||Replace current internal quality review standards and process with "in-process" review; report results of performance measures on a monthly and quarterly basis (T-05A)||01/06/03||10/30/03|| |
|26B||T-05B Create a program to review and evaluate substantive decisions to ensure quality and consistency of examiner actions with FasTrak examination||02/03/03||09/30/04|| |
|26B.1||Consult with the TPAC and user community on the quality objectives; design of the pilot program (T-05B)||02/03/03||06/02/03|| |
|26B.2||Define quality objectives; assessment and feedback criteria (T-05B)||10/01/03||04/01/04|| |
|26B.3||Pilot "second pair of eyes" concurrent with TIS e-government and FasTrak examination (T-05B)||11/03/03||02/02/04|| |
|26B.4||Evaluate the results of the pilot program; share the results with the user community (T-05B)||02/02/04||03/01/04|| |
|26B.5||Determine how the program will be administered/supported (T-05B)||03/01/04||04/01/04|| |
|26B.6||Recruit and hire positions; as needed (T-05B)||04/01/04||06/01/04|| |
|26B.7||Address labor relations implications (T-05B)||03/01/04||05/03/04|| |
|26B.8||Assess changes to employee PAPs (T-05B)||04/01/04||06/01/04|| |
|26B.9||Communicate the purpose and requirements of the program (T-05B)||05/03/04||06/01/04|| |
|26B.10||Implement "second pair of eyes" to ensure quality of FasTrak examination decisions (T-05B)||06/01/04||09/30/04|| |