[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 229 (Tuesday, November 29, 2011)]
[Notices]
[Page 73601]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2011-30717]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

United States Patent and Trademark Office

[Docket No. PTO-C-2011-0066]


Request for Comments on Additional USPTO Satellite Offices for 
the Nationwide Workforce Program

    The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is interested 
in gathering information on potential locations for future USPTO 
satellite offices that the USPTO is directed to establish, subject to 
available resources, under Section 23 of the America Invents Act (AIA). 
The establishment of satellite offices is an important component of the 
USPTO's continued efforts to recruit and retain a highly skilled 
workforce, reduce patent application pendency and improve quality, and 
enhance communication between the USPTO and the patent applicant 
community. An initial satellite office is already planned to be 
established in Detroit, Michigan. Subject to available resources, the 
USPTO will establish at least two more satellite offices in addition to 
the one in Detroit in accordance with the AIA.
    Deadline: Written comments are requested on or before January 30, 
2012. No public hearing will be held.
    Written Comments: Submit comments electronically by email directly 
to the USPTO at satelliteoffices@uspto.gov. The USPTO prefers to 
receive comments via email; however, comments may also be submitted by 
postal mail addressed to: Azam Khan, Deputy Chief of Staff, United 
States Patent and Trademark Office, Mail Stop Office of Under Secretary 
and Director, P.O. Box 1450, Alexandria, VA, 22313-1450.
    Comments may also be submitted through the Federal eRulemaking 
Portal Web site at http://www.regulations.gov. Additional instructions 
on providing comments through the Federal eRulemaking Portal are 
available at http://www.regulations.gov. All comments submitted 
directly to the USPTO or provided on the Federal eRulemaking Portal 
should include the docket number PTO-C-2011-0066, and should be 
identified in the subject line of the email or postal mailing as 
``Nationwide Workforce Program.''
    All written comments will be available for public inspection upon 
request at the Office of the Chief Administrative Officer located at 
Madison West, 10th Floor, 600 Dulaney Street Alexandra, VA, and will be 
available at the USPTO web site at http://www.uspto.gov. All comments 
made through the Federal eRulemaking Portal will be made publicly 
available on that Web site. Because comments will be made available for 
public inspection, information that is not desired to be made public, 
such as an address or phone number, should not be included in the 
comments.
    Contact: Azam Khan, Deputy Chief of Staff, Office of the Under 
Secretary and Director, at (571) 272-8600; by email at 
azam.khan@uspto.gov; or by postal mail addressed to: Azam Khan, Deputy 
Chief of Staff, United States Patent and Trademark Office, Mail Stop 
Office of Under Secretary and Director, P.O. Box 1450, Alexandria, VA, 
22313-1450.
    Additional Information: The USPTO requests information on potential 
cities and regions for future locations of satellite offices as part of 
its Nationwide Workforce Program.
    An initial satellite office is planned to be established in 
Detroit, Michigan. A nationwide workforce model will enable the USPTO 
to expand its traditional hiring methods and seek out areas of the 
country where the resources, including human resources and technical 
expertise, exist to fulfill the USPTO's critical mission. It will 
enable the USPTO to achieve better outreach and interact with the 
patent applicant community. The USPTO is investigating options for 
establishing satellite offices in at least two additional cities, where 
the USPTO does not already have an office (Alexandria, Virginia) or 
plan to establish an office (Detroit, Michigan). In accordance with the 
AIA, the USPTO is looking for States and regions that would best serve 
the interests of our employees, the USPTO's user community, and 
America's patent and trademark system, while ensuring geographic 
diversity among USPTO's offices.
    Before choosing Detroit, the USPTO considered multiple cities to 
determine the feasibility of the initial phase of this program. The 
criteria included, but was not limited to: Occupational clusters; 
patent attorneys and agents currently in the region; patent 
applications by state; access to universities with strong engineering 
programs; public transportation infrastructure and proximate location 
to a major airport; the ability to share facilities with other 
established governmental operations; the ability to support 
Departmental objectives, including CommerceConnect, and increase 
collaborations among Commerce bureaus and offices; and various economic 
factors, including cost of living and unemployment rates of the city.
    Comments should provide information that supports the USPTO's 
purposes of establishing satellite offices, including that the location 
will:
    (1) Increase outreach activities to better connect patent filers 
and innovators with the USPTO, including the number of patent filings 
and grants by the city/region as well as other information that 
provides insight into the region's innovation activity;
    (2) Enhance patent examiner retention, including quality of life 
indicators such as average household income, cost of living factors, 
and other factors related to employee retention;
    (3) Improve recruitment of patent examiners, including data on 
employment rates and other economic factors in the area, science and 
technology professionals, as well as legal professionals in the 
workforce and other related information;
    (4) Decrease the number of patent applications awaiting 
examination; and
    (5) Improve the quality of patent examination.
    Comments may also include any other information the Office may find 
useful in determining future locations such as information related to 
available office space, the presence of universities with strong 
engineering programs, the presence of research facilities, the economic 
impact to the region, and any other economic factors. Comments may also 
include information on additional factors the USPTO should consider in 
comparing regions.
    While the Office welcomes and values all comments from the public 
in response to this request, these comments do not bind the Office to 
any further actions related to the comments, and the Office may not 
respond to any or every comment that is submitted. The Office will, 
however, consider all written submissions.
    Any and all decisions made with regard to future satellite office 
locations will be made based on the criteria outlined in the AIA and in 
line with the goals and mission of the USPTO.

    Dated: November 22, 2011.
David J. Kappos,
Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of 
the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
[FR Doc. 2011-30717 Filed 11-28-11; 8:45 am]
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