U.S. Patent and Trademark Office: Performance Management Processes

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A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The Department of Commerce's U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) grants patents that protect innovations ranging from new treatments for diseases to new wireless technology applications. Over the last several years, increases in both the volume and complexity of patent applications have lengthened the time between when an application is submitted and when a final decision is made--referred to as patent pendency--and resulted in a current backlog of over 700,000 applications. For several years, concerns have existed about USPTO's ability to recruit and retain enough qualified ... continued below

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United States. Government Accountability Office. September 24, 2010.

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Description

A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The Department of Commerce's U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) grants patents that protect innovations ranging from new treatments for diseases to new wireless technology applications. Over the last several years, increases in both the volume and complexity of patent applications have lengthened the time between when an application is submitted and when a final decision is made--referred to as patent pendency--and resulted in a current backlog of over 700,000 applications. For several years, concerns have existed about USPTO's ability to recruit and retain enough qualified patent examiners to reduce this backlog. In 2005 and again in 2007, we identified numerous challenges related to USPTO's ability to modernize its human capital management system and hire and retain a qualified and well-trained patent examination workforce. Recently, USPTO management has also recognized the need for changes in its performance management system and additional training for its employees and managers. In this context, Congress asked us to obtain additional information on the performance management of USPTO's patent examination workforce. Specifically, Congress asked us to describe (1) USPTO's processes for evaluating the performance of supervisory patent examiners (SPE) and patent examiners, and the actions that the agency takes when performance is at an unacceptable level; (2) USPTO's process for promoting patent examiners to the SPE level; and (3) how newly promoted SPEs are assigned to various units and the training they receive throughout their career."

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Government Accountability Office Reports

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for the U.S. Congress investigating how the federal government spends taxpayers' money. Its goal is to increase accountability and improve the performance of the federal government. The Government Accountability Office Reports Collection consists of over 13,000 documents on a variety of topics ranging from fiscal issues to international affairs.

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  • September 24, 2010

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  • June 12, 2014, 7:50 p.m.

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United States. Government Accountability Office. U.S. Patent and Trademark Office: Performance Management Processes, report, September 24, 2010; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc295835/: accessed September 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.