[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 226 (Friday, November 22, 2013)]
[Notices]
[Pages 70020-70022]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-27968]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

Patent and Trademark Office


Privacy Act of 1974; System of Records

AGENCY: United States Patent and Trademark Office, Commerce.

ACTION: Notice of proposed new Privacy Act system of records.

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SUMMARY: In accordance with the requirements of the Privacy Act of 
1974, as amended, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) 
gives notice of a proposed new system of records entitled ``COMMERCE/
PAT-TM-24 Background Investigations.'' We invite the public to comment 
on the system announced in this publication.

DATES: Written comments must be received no later than December 23, 
2013. The proposed system of records will be effective on December 23, 
2013, unless the USPTO receives comments that would result in a 
contrary determination.

ADDRESSES: You may submit written comments by any of the following 
methods:
     Email: Joseph.Burns@uspto.gov. Include ``Privacy Act PAT-
TM-24 comment'' in the subject line of the message.
     Fax: (571) 273-1537, marked to the attention of Joseph 
Burns, Office of Security and Safety, Office of Administrative 
Services.
     Mail: Joseph Burns, Director, Office of Security and 
Safety, Office of Administrative Services, United States Patent and 
Trademark Office, P.O. Box 1450, Alexandria, VA 22313-1450.
     Federal Rulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov.

All comments received will be available for public inspection at the 
Federal rulemaking portal located at www.regulations.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Joseph Burns, Director, Office of 
Security and Safety, Office of Administrative Services, United States 
Patent and Trademark Office, P.O. Box 1450, Alexandria, VA 22313-1450, 
(571) 272-1537.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The United States Patent and Trademark 
Office (USPTO) is giving notice of a new

[[Page 70021]]

system of records that is subject to the Privacy Act of 1974. This 
system of records maintains information on individuals who undergo a 
personnel background investigation for the purpose of determining 
suitability for USPTO employment, contractor employee fitness, 
eligibility for access to classified information, and/or access to a 
federal facility or information technology system.
    The proposed new system of records, ``COMMERCE/PAT-TM-24 Background 
Investigations,'' is published in its entirety below.
COMMERCE/PAT-TM-24

System name:
    Background Investigations.

Security classification:
    None for the system. However, items or records within the system 
may have national security/foreign policy classifications up through 
Secret.

System location:
    Office of Security and Safety, Office of Administrative Services, 
United States Patent and Trademark Office, 600 Dulany Street, 
Alexandria, VA 22314.

Categories of individuals covered by the system:
    Applicants and employees or government contractors, experts, 
instructors, and consultants who undergo a personnel background 
investigation for the purpose of determining suitability for USPTO 
employment, contractor employee fitness, eligibility for access to 
classified information, and/or access to a federal facility or 
information technology system.

Categories of records in the system:
    a. Name; address; date and place of birth; Social Security Number; 
citizenship; physical characteristics; employment and military service 
history; credit references and credit records; education; medical 
history; arrest records; Federal employee relatives; dates and purpose 
of visits to foreign countries; passport numbers; names of spouses, 
relatives, references, and personal associates; activities; and 
security; and suitability materials. This system does not include 
records of EEO investigations. Such records are covered in a 
government-wide system noticed by the Office of Personnel Management 
and now the responsibility of the Equal Employment Opportunity 
Commission.
    b. Summaries of personal and third party interviews conducted 
during the course of the background investigation.
    c. Records of personnel background investigations conducted by 
other Federal agencies.
    d. Records of adjudicative and HSPD 12 decisions by other Federal 
agencies, including clearance determinations and/or polygraph results.

Authority for maintenance of the system:
    Executive Orders 10450, 11478, 12065; 5 U.S.C. 301 and 7531-7533; 
15 U.S.C. 1501 et seq.; 28 U.S.C. 533-535; 44 U.S.C. 3101; and Equal 
Employment Act of 1972.
    Executive Orders 9397, as amended by 13478, 10450, 10577, 10865, 
12968, and 13470; Section 2, Civil Service Act of 1883; Public Laws 82-
298 and 92-261; Title 5, U.S.C., sections 1303, 1304, 3301, 7301, and 
9101; Title 22, U.S.C., section 2519; Title 42 U.S.C. sections 
1874(b)(3), 2165, 2201, and 2455; Title 50 U.S.C. section 435b(e); 
Title 5 CFR sections 731, 732 and 736; Homeland Security Presidential 
Directive 12 (HSPD 12) and OMB Circular No. A-130.

Purpose(s):
    The records in this system may be used to provide investigatory 
information for determinations concerning whether an individual is 
suitable or fit for agency employment; eligible for logical and 
physical access to federally controlled facilities and information 
systems; eligible to hold sensitive positions (including but not 
limited to eligibility for access to classified information); fit to 
perform work for or on behalf of the agency as a contractor employee; 
qualified for government service; qualified to perform contractual 
services for the agency; and loyal to the United States. The system is 
also used to document such determinations and to otherwise comply with 
mandates and Executive Orders.
    These records may also be used to locate individuals for personnel 
research.
    The records may be used to help streamline and make more efficient 
the investigations and adjudications processes generally.

Routine uses of records maintained in the system, including categories 
of users and the purposes of such uses:
    The USPTO will use the information contained in this system of 
records to conduct background investigations on applicants and 
employees.
    Information concerning nominees, members and former members of 
public advisory committees may be disclosed: (a) To OMB in connection 
with its committee management responsibilities; (b) to other Federal 
agencies which have joint responsibility for advisory committees or 
which receive or utilize advice of the committees; and (c) to a 
Federal, state or local agency, private organization or individual as 
necessary to obtain information in connection with a decision 
concerning appointment or reappointment of an individual to committee 
membership.
    Information concerning (1) current employees, former employees, and 
prospective employees; (2) interns and externs; (3) employees of 
contractors used, or which may be used, by the agency on national 
security classified projects; (4) and principal officers of some 
contractors used, or which may be used, by the agency; and (5) 
principal officers and some employees of organizations, firms or 
institutions which are recipients or beneficiaries or prospective 
recipients or beneficiaries of grants, loans, guarantee or other 
assistance programs of the agency;--may be disclosed to a private 
organization or individual as necessary to obtain information in 
connection with a decision concerning the assignment, hiring or 
retention of an individual, the issuance of a security clearance, the 
letting of a contract, or the issuance of a license, grant or other 
benefit. Disclosure of information from this system of records may also 
be made to commercial contractors (debt collection agencies) for the 
purpose of collecting delinquent debts as authorized by the Debt 
Collection Act (31 U.S.C. 3718).
    In addition to the routine uses in the Prefatory Statement of 
General Routine Uses, as found at 46 FR 63501-63502 (December 31, 
1981):
    (1) Routine uses will include disclosure for law enforcement 
purposes to the appropriate agency or other authority, whether federal, 
state, local, foreign, international or tribal, charged with the 
responsibility of enforcing, investigating, or prosecuting a violation 
of any law, rule, regulation, or order in any case in which there is an 
indication of a violation or potential violation of law (civil, 
criminal, or regulatory in nature).
    (2) Routine uses will include disclosure to an agency, 
organization, or individual for the purpose of performing audit or 
oversight operations as authorized by law, but only such information as 
is necessary and relevant to such audit or oversight function.
    (3) Routine uses will include disclosure to contractors and their 
agents, grantees, experts, consultants, and others performing or 
working on a contract, service, grant, cooperative agreement, or other 
work assignment for

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the USPTO, when necessary to accomplish an agency function related to 
this system of records. Individuals provided information under this 
routine use are subject to the same Privacy Act requirements and 
limitations on disclosure as are applicable to the USPTO employees.

Disclosure to consumer reporting agencies:
    Disclosures pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(b)(12): Disclosures may be 
made from this system to ``consumer reporting agencies'' as defined in 
the Fair Credit Reporting Act (15 U.S.C. 1681a(f)), and the Federal 
Claims Collection Act of 1966 (31 U.S.C. 3701(a)(3)).

Policies and practices for storing, retrieving, accessing, retaining, 
and disposing of records in the system:
Storage:
    Records are maintained in paper format in file folders, as digital 
images, and in electronic databases. Background investigation forms are 
maintained in the Electronic Questionnaires for Investigations 
Processing (e-QIP) automated system, which was developed for the U.S. 
Office of Personnel Management (OPM), Federal Investigative Services 
Division.

Retrievability:
    Records are retrieved by name, social security number and/or other 
unique identifier of the individual on whom they are maintained. The 
files are searchable in a database available only to authorized 
employee and contractor staff members of the Office of Human Resources 
and Office of Security and Safety.

Safeguards:
    Records are located in secured rooms with retained background 
investigative security files being housed in security containers with 
access limited to those whose official duties require access. 
Electronic files are password protected and can only be accessed by 
authorized personnel.
    The e-QIP system is subject to federal law governing records 
maintained on individuals. Unauthorized attempts to access the e-QIP 
system, as well as any use of data in the system for unauthorized 
purposes, are a violation of federal law and/or regulation. Violators 
are subject to disciplinary action and prosecution.

Retention and disposal:
    Records retention and disposal is in accordance with the series 
record schedules.

System manager(s) and address:
    Director of Security and Safety, United States Patent and Trademark 
Office, P.O. Box 1450, Alexandria, VA 22313-1450.

Notification procedure:
    Information about the records contained in this system may be 
obtained by sending a request in writing, signed, to the system manager 
at the address above or to the address provided in 37 CFR 102 subpart B 
for making inquiries about records covered by the Privacy Act. 
Requesters should provide their name, address, and record sought in 
accordance with the procedures for making inquiries appearing in 37 CFR 
part 102 subpart B.

Record access procedures:
    Requests from individuals should be addressed as stated in the 
notification section above.

Contesting record procedures:
    The general provisions for access, contesting contents, and 
appealing initial determinations by the individual concerned appear in 
37 CFR part 102 subpart B. Requests from individuals should be 
addressed as stated in the notification section above.

Record source categories:
    Subject individuals; OPM, FBI and other Federal, state and local 
agencies; individuals and organizations that have pertinent knowledge 
about the subject individual; and those authorized by the individual to 
furnish information.

Exemptions claimed for the system:
    Pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a (k)(1), (k)(2) and (k)(5), all 
investigatory information and material in the record which meets the 
criteria of these subsections are exempted from the notice, access, and 
contest requirements under 5 U.S.C. 552a (c)(3), (d), (e)(1), (e)(4) 
(G), (H), and (I), and (f) of the agency regulations because of the 
necessity to exempt this information and material in order to 
accomplish the law enforcement function of the agency, to prevent 
disclosure of classified information as required by Executive Order 
12065, to prevent subjects of investigation from frustrating the 
investigatory process, to prevent the disclosure of investigative 
techniques, to fulfill commitments made to protect the confidentiality 
of information, and to avoid endangering these sources and law 
enforcement personnel.

    Dated: November 18, 2013.
Susan K. Fawcett,
Records Officer, USPTO, Office of the Chief Information Officer.
[FR Doc. 2013-27968 Filed 11-21-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-16-P