USPTO Forum on Proposed Strategic Plan
On August 24, 2006, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) released for public comment its proposed five-year strategic plan for 2007 through 2012. A public forum on the draft strategic plan will be held on Tuesday, September 26, 2006 at USPTO headquarters. Details are included in the Federal Register.
According to the accompanying press release, the proposed strategic plan takes a multi-pronged approach to ensuring quality and timeliness in the patent review process:
- First, there must be a common understanding between the USPTO and its stakeholders of what defines quality. That definition must recognize the inherent realities of limited time and money, and must then be translated into concrete programs.
- Defining an acceptable time frame from filing to final decision also is important.
- Additionally, hiring, training and retaining highly skilled patent examiners, abolishing the one-size fits all examination system, focusing examination on the claimed invention, and leveraging state-of-the-art information technology are other important components to ensuring high quality and timely reviews of patent applications.
Included among the initiatives designed to ensure effective and efficient review of patent applications are:
- hiring at least 1,000 patent examiners annually for the next five years
- establishing regional offices
- creating partnerships with universities
- offering retention bonuses and new monetary awards to patent examiners for meeting goals
- maximizing the potential of state-of-the-art electronic tools.