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Blog Category: Patent and Trademark Office

United States Department of Commerce Plan for Orderly Shutdown Due to Lapse of Congressional Appropriations

This blog post is about an older plan. The United States Department of Commerce Plan for Orderly Shutdown Due to Lapse of Congressional Appropriations at the end of FY 2013 is available here.

The current FY 2011 Continuing Resolution may expire without new budget authority. While it is not anticipated that there will be a lapse in appropriations, the Department must be prepared for a potential lapse in funding that would necessitate a significant reduction in operations.

Prior to a potential lapse in funding, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) requires the Department to submit a draft plan for agency operations in the absence of appropriations (a "shutdown plan"). This plan will likely be modified with additional guidance from the Office of Personnel Management and OMB, as the situation develops, and may be changed by the Department, as circumstances warrant.

This plan complies with the guidance provided by the Office of Management and Budget, the Department of Justice and the Department of Commerce.

Files

Safeguarding 21st Century Innovation

Stanek Rea, Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Deputy Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office

Guest blog post by Teresa Stanek Rea who is Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Deputy Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

The economic security and vitality of the United States has always been deeply rooted in American innovation. Time and time again, the story of our growth has been written by the daring drive of entrepreneurs, willing to roll the dice on a great idea. Today, I had the privilege to hear from a group of such bold thinkers in Minneapolis, Minn., and I learned that instrumental to 21st century growth is a 21st century infrastructure that readily allows small businesses to protect their ideas and move them to the marketplace swiftly and cost-effectively.

That’s why the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has been working diligently with the White House to build a stronger, more efficient patent system.

Secretary Locke Addresses Asia-Pacific Patent Cooperation Forum

Secretary Locke Addresses the Asia-Pacific Patent Cooperation in the 21st Century Forum

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke joined Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and USPTO Director David Kappos today at the Asia-Pacific Patent Cooperation in the 21st Century Forum at the USPTO headquarters in Alexandria, Va. The event featured heads and deputies of Asian-Pacific economies’ patent offices assembled to discuss the urgency of moving forward with patent harmonization in a global process that includes both developed and developing countries.  

Patent harmonization will narrow differences among patent laws, simplify patent applicants’ requirements, and thereby achieve greater efficiency in the global patent system – in turn speeding the movement of innovation from the development phase to the marketplace where it can create new businesses and new jobs.

Locke highlighted the importance of building a better intellectual property infrastructure in our increasingly globalized world and applauded efforts to reduce patent backlogs and produce higher-quality patents, noting the progress made in the U.S. Senate on patent reform legislation that would further these efforts.

“Last week, the U.S. Senate started debating a patent reform bill that would give the patent office the tools it needs to significantly expand its reform efforts,” Locke said.  “Congress has been working for a long time on this issue, and there is strong bipartisan support to get patent reform done this year. So we remain optimistic.”
 
The forum, which began March 6 and runs through March 8, is being convened at an historic moment for intellectual property systems worldwide as patent filings and backlogs continue to increase. Differences among patent systems cause legal uncertainty, complexity and increased costs.  Remarks

Secretary Locke, USPTO Director Kappos Highlight Support for Patent Reform Legislation

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and USPTO Director David Kappos hosted a conference call with reporters today to discuss the administration’s support for pending patent reform legislation and why the administration believes patent reform is critical to promoting innovation and creating jobs.

“Passage of this legislation is essential to America's economic competitiveness and our ability to innovate,” Locke said. “As President Obama said recently, we need to out-innovate the rest of the world if we’re going to win the future. An efficiently operating patent system is critical to this goal.”

On Monday, the Senate began consideration of S.23 – now known as The America Invents Act – and the administration released a Statement of Administration Policy expressing support for the proposed legislation.

While the USPTO has made significant strides in reducing its backlog of more than 700,000 unexamined patent applications and the time it takes to process a patent, reforming the patent system is critical to speeding the transformation of an idea into a market-making product that will drive the jobs and industries of the future.

Secretary Locke Appoints New Deputy Director at the USPTO

Teresa Stanek Rea was appointed by Secretary Locke as the new Deputy Director of the Commerce Department's U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) this week.

Serving alongside USPTO Director David Kappos, Rea will take charge of a Commerce office that is integral in encouraging innovation and technological advancement in the U.S., and helps businesses protect their investments, promote their goods, and safeguard against deception in the marketplace.

Rea is a leading attorney in the field of intellectual property with more than 25 years of legal experience and a past president of the American Intellectual Property Law Association (AIPLA). She is currently a partner in Crowell & Moring LLP’s Washington, D.C. office, where she has focused on intellectual property and dispute resolution related to pharmaceutical, biotechnology and other life science issues.

“Teresa has an impressive track record of success across several disciplines and will be a tremendous asset to the USPTO,” Locke said. “Her leadership will be instrumental in the USPTO's efforts to foster economic growth and job creation by reducing the backlog of patent applications, enhancing patent and trademark quality, and becoming more efficient.”

Rea is a member of several technical and legal associations and has been a frequent lecturer and publisher on patent topics including biotechnology, nanotechnology, licensing, technology transfer, patent practice, export control and interferences. She received a Juris Doctor degree from Wayne State University and a Bachelor of Science degree in pharmacy from the University of Michigan.

Arriving at a critical time for the agency, Rea joins the USPTO just as Congress prepares to move forward with vital patent reform legislation that would enable the USPTO to better serve America’s innovators in bringing their products to market faster and, in so doing, help spur economic growth and job creation.

USPTO to Issue Proposal for Accelerated Patent Examination as part of Three-Track Program

File photo: Kappos and panel announcing Threee-Track (Jly, 2010)

Today, Commerce's United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) announced new details on its “Three-Track” program designed to enable applicants to choose the speed with which their patent application is processed.  A notice to be posted in the Federal Register on Friday lays out plans for implementation of “Track One,” which will give applicants the opportunity for prioritized examination of a patent within 12 months of its filing date for a proposed fee of $4,000. Public comments on a number of different proposed requirements for participation in Track One will be accepted for 30 days after the notice is published.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke highlighted the “Three-Track” patent examination program, first published for public comment in June 2010, at the White House’s launch of the “Startup America” initiative earlier this week.

“The Patent and Trademark Office plays a key role in promoting innovation and entrepreneurship,” Locke said. “This new system will bring the most valuable patents, as determined by inventors, to market faster and will help shrink the backlog by catering to the business needs of America’s innovators.”

For smaller entities, the USPTO is working to offer a 50 percent discount on any filing fee associated with Track One, as it does with many other standard processing fees. The patent reform legislation recently introduced in the U.S. Senate would enable the USPTO to set its own fees and thereby extend this discount to small entity applicants.

The USPTO also announced today a new effort to eliminate the “tail” of backlog applications that were more than 16 months old at the beginning of the fiscal year and had not yet received a first office action, known as “Clearing the Oldest Patent Applications” (or COPA).  This initiative is a critical first step in reaching the agency’s strategic goal of providing first office actions on all new applications in an average of 10 months from their date of filing by 2014.

Over time, COPA and the Three-Track program will help to lower overall patent pendency and speed up the time it takes for applicants to get a decision on their patent applications. Complete Press Release

Laying a Foundation to Double Our Exports, Increase Competitiveness

Today Secretary Locke wrote an op-ed posted in The Hill with a focus on how the administration and the Commerce Department are working to increase America's global competitiveness and create U.S. jobs by selling more American-made goods and services around the world.

Cross posted at The Hill

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As 2011 begins, the American economy is stronger than at any time since the Great Recession began in December 2007.

Retail sales just had their strongest quarterly gain since 2001. Private sector employment grew every single month in 2010, with the manufacturing sector posting its first increase in annual employment since 1997.

These are strong indications that the steps President Obama took to foster economic recovery are working — beginning with the Recovery Act and continuing through the December 2010 tax-cut package.

But that’s not to suggest that anyone within the administration or the Commerce Department is satisfied — not with unemployment still over 9 percent.

As we move forward, policymakers should remember that the most important contest is not between Democrats and Republicans, but between America and countries around the world that are competing like never before for the jobs and industries of the future.

Making the U.S. more competitive will require us to focus on two things: supercharging innovation and selling more American-made goods and services around the world, so that U.S. firms can hire more workers and reinvest in the research and development they need to keep growing.

Although the private sector will take the lead on innovation, we can’t forget that the government has always had an important, supportive role to play, and the Commerce Department is engaged in a variety of areas.

Commerce Department Highlights the Role of Intellectual Property in U.S. Innovation, Competitiveness

Kappos on podium at the Newseum in Washington with U.S. Capitol in background

The Commerce Department’s David Kappos, Under Secretary for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), stressed intellectual property’s vital role in the innovation economy and its importance to increasing America’s global competitiveness today at a Patents, Innovation and Job Creation conference at the Newseum in Washington, D.C.

Patent-related industries make up the most dynamic parts of our economy, he said, and as a share of gross economic value, the United States invests more in intangible assets than any of its major trading partners.

As our country seeks to regain the jobs lost during the recession, inventions that could spark new businesses and jobs are waiting in the USPTO’s backlog. The Harvard Business Review recently described the USPTO as “the biggest job creator you never heard of.”  Reducing the time it takes to examine those applications is one of the highest priorities for Director Kappos and Commerce Secretary Gary Locke.

Kappos and the USPTO have launched several initiatives to shorten patent pendency and improve patent quality, and the agency will soon outline yet another plan that would give applicants the option to accelerate examination of a patent application. In his remarks today, Kappos also applauded the efforts of Congress to continue pushing for bipartisan legislation that would help the USPTO improve the patent system, expressing the agency’s strong support for patent reform.  |  Director's remarks

Secretary Locke Delivers Remarks at CES to Highlight Administration’s Efforts to Promote Innovation, U.S. Exports

Locke at booth inspecting new devices and equipment

Commerce Secretary Gary Locke visited the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) today, where he delivered remarks on the Obama administration’s efforts to foster innovation and the President’s National Export Initiative (NEI), which seeks to double U.S. exports by 2015, supporting several million American jobs. 

Locke also discussed Commerce’s International Buyer Program (IBP), a key component of the Department’s export promotion effort. The IBP matches international buyers with U.S. companies that want to export. The Program recruited 34 delegations, consisting of 700 delegates from key markets such as China, Brazil, Vietnam, and Indonesia, to this year’s show – an increase of over 30 percent from the 2010 show.

During the CES, Locke also visited the booths of some small- and medium-sized businesses that have increased their sales to foreign markets with the help of the Commerce Department.

The CES is an annual event hosted by the Consumer Electronics Association, the preeminent trade association that represents more than 2,000 businesses to promote growth in the consumer technology industry.  This year’s CES has more than 2,500 small- and medium-sized businesses showcasing their products and services, as well as presentations by key industry leaders, such as Microsoft, Ford and Verizon.  Remarks

President Obama to Honor Recipients of the 2009 National Medal of Science & National Medal of Technology and Innovation

UPDATED: Below is the archived video of the event.

President Barack Obama will honor the 2009 recipients of the National Medal of Science and the National Medal of Technology and Innovation in an awards ceremony in the White House’s East Room today at 5:30p.m. EST.

The ceremony will be carried live by webcast on the White House website at: http://www.whitehouse.gov/live. You can also follow live-updates on USPTO’s new Twitter account – @USPTO.

“The extraordinary accomplishments of these scientists, engineers, and inventors are a testament to American industry and ingenuity,” President Obama said.  “Their achievements have redrawn the frontiers of human knowledge while enhancing American prosperity and it is my tremendous pleasure to honor them for their important contributions.”