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USPTO Draft 2010–2015 Strategic Plan Summary - Part 1

By: Sheetal S. Patel

On July 9, 2010, the USPTO issued a draft of their 2010-2015 Strategic Plan. The strategic plan is designed to strengthen the capacity of the USPTO, improve the quality of issued patents and trademarks, and shorten the time required to acquire a patent. The USPTO's vision is to lead the nation and the world in Intellectual Property Protection and Policy. Their mission is to foster innovation, competitiveness and economic growth, both domestically and abroad. The USPTO hopes this mission will deliver high quality and timely examination of patent and trademark applications, guide domestic and international intellectual property policy, and deliver intellectual property information and education worldwide with a highly skilled and diverse workforce.

The strategic plan acknowledges that there are many challenges to accomplishing the vision and mission. These challenges include:

  • Funding authority to support agency performance objectives;
  • The sheer volume of applications;
  • Rapid advances in technologies;
  • Necessity for global cooperation and protection;
  • Antiquated and decaying IT infrastructure;
  • Hiring, retaining and training Examiners;
  • Balancing competing objectives that interfere with strategic goals and priorities; and
  • The need for greater transparency in defining accountability metrics for agency objectives and performance.

In an attempt to overcome these challenges and achieve its mission and vision, the USPTO has laid out four goals - three mission-focused goals and one management-focused goal. The mission-focused goals are to: (1) Optimize Patent Quality and Timeliness; (2) Optimize Trademark Quality and Timeliness; and (3) Provide Domestic and Global Leadership to Improve Intellectual Property Policy, Protection and Enforcement Worldwide. The management goal is Organizational Excellence The USPTO considers the management goal and its objectives to be enabling and cross-cutting in that they are essential components of achieving all three mission-focused goals.

However, the USPTO acknowledges that there are external factors that may significantly affect the achievement of their mission and goals. These factors include:

  • Economic volatility that could affect workload and fee collections, and the ability to hire and retain high quality staff.
  • Court decisions that affect USPTO practices and procedures.
  • Completion of pending legislation, particularly patent reform provisions that address USPTO funding and fee-setting authority, and enhanced post-grant reexamination proceedings.
  • Outcomes of diplomatic conferences on topics affecting USPTO operations. These include various WIPO, Group B+, and bilateral meetings that may determine the extent to which the USPTO is able to realize operational efficiencies through work sharing and harmonization.

In the next installment, we will summarize Goal I of the Strategic Plan. To view the draft plan in its entirety, please click Here.