August 28, 2006

On Friday, the USPTO released its "STRATEGIC PLAN - 2007-2012" for public review and comment. The plan includes efforts to promote quality and efficient patent and trademark examinations, maintaining a rate of new examiner hires, and a focus on international IP protection. The first goal is to "Optimize Patent Quality and Timeliness," discussing new patent examiner hiring (978 hired in 2005, 1,200 planned for this year, and at least 1,000 over the next five years), examiner training, the need for an alternative patent examination system (noting that "[t]he current patent examination system in the United States is basically a one-size fits all process"), examination quality, awareness of IP rights, and the use of information technology in several areas of the examination process. These goals led to specific initiatives and planned accomplishments regarding high quality traditional patent examination, developing ("Patent suite of products") to improve quality and timeliness of patent examination, and improving and integrating existing electronic systems to assist with the examination process. The second goal ("Optimize Trademark Quality and Timeliness"), several objectives are discussed, including a three-month first action pendency (and reducing disposal pendency, exclusive of suspended and inter partes cases), improving examination quality by providing the examiners with quality search tools, providing electronic file management and workflow by the end of the third year of the plan, and developing interactive and online filing by the fourth year of the plan. The third goal ("Improve Intellectual Property Protection and Enforcement Domestically and Abroad") discusses the objectives of efforts and initiatives to strengthen IP protection and curb IP theft, focus on the development of unified standards for international IP practice, providing policy guidance on US IP issues, and fostering innovation and competitiveness by educating the international public and providing quality domestic customer service. USPTO management goals and objectives are also discussed, including functioning as a business partner to the IP community, improving operations (financial, HR, and IT) within the USPTO, and simplifying electronic access to USPTO information and data. A public forum on this strategic plan will be held on September 26th at the USPTO.

USPTO Strategic Plan Press Release: LINK
USPTO 2007-2012 Strategic Plan Website: LINK
Draft 6 of the 2007-2012 Strategic Plan: LINK
August 24, 2006 Federal Register Excerpt: LINK

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Mark Reichel
Reichel IP LLC

I am a patent attorney with Reichel IP LLC, where I concentrate my practice on patent drafting and prosecution, trademarks, and general intellectual property matters. I currently focus on the preparation and prosecution of medical device and other life sciences patent applications, and being actively involved in a number of local not-for-profit organizations.

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