What a perfect wrap-up for the week before a long holiday weekend. The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has released for public comment a draft five-year strategic plan designed to “foster American innovation and competitiveness at home and around the globe.” We’re fostering everyone else’s innovation now? The draft plan identifies quality and timeliness of the patent and trademark review processes through 2012.

The proposals included in this draft strategic plan include:

First, there must be a common understanding between the USPTO and its stakeholders of what defines quality. That definition must recognize the inherent realities of limited time and money, and must then be translated into concrete programs.

Defining an acceptable time frame from filing to final decision also is important.

Additionally, hiring, training and retaining highly skilled patent examiners, abolishing the one-size fits all examination system, focusing examination on the claimed invention, and leveraging state-of-the-art information technology are other important components to ensuring high quality and timely reviews of patent applications.

Included among the draft proposed initiatives designed to ensure effective and efficient review of patent applications are:

  • hiring at least 1,000 patent examiners annually for the next five years;
  • consideration of establishing regional offices;
  • creating partnerships with universities;
  • offering retention bonuses and new monetary awards to patent examiners for meeting goals; and
  • maximizing the potential of state-of-the-art electronic tools.

Jon Dudas says “The U.S. intellectual property system is critical to American innovation and competitiveness.” Apparently, that’s why he’s hell-bent on making it impossible to get a patent by introducing ideas like the proposed rules to limit the number of continuing, CIP and RCE applications that can be filed by patent applicants. We only wish they could put such efforts into the “Tanorexia Threat Level” panic.

A copy of the USPTO’s draft proposed five-year strategic plan can be found here.

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