[linux-elitists] Customer service bonuses for USPTO Commissioners?

Don Marti dmarti@zgp.org
Fri Mar 31 13:40:22 PST 2000


The US Patent and Trademark Office is reorganizing itself as a
"Performance-Based Organization" and is planning to pay two important
officials according to how well they meet "performance measures and
goals" according to Richard Maulsby, a USPTO PR person I talked with
today while waiting for a GNU/Linux distribution to install.

The measurements used to determine "financial incentives" for Nicholas
Godici, Commissioner For Patents, and Anne Chesser, Commissioner For
Trademarks, have not yet been decided. I asked Mr. Maulsby if the
process for deciding Mr. Godici's bonus will be made public. "I wouldn't
expect that. We've had a lot of customer feedback....and I'm sure that
will be factored in."

But who are the "customers"? When I read in a press release that "A PBO
[performance-based organization] is a results-driven organization that
delivers the best possible services to its customers." I got curious and
decided to ask USPTO who the customers are. Maulsby tells me that they
are patent applicants, which includes corporations, government agencies,
and individual inventors, and "finally, of course, you have the American
people as a whole."

I asked Mr. Maulsby what kind of service the commissioners will be
graded on, and he speculated "Obviously they'll be tied to the amount of
time it takes to get patents and trademarks." Wouldn't such financial 
incentives motivate commissioners to issue large numbers of bogus 
patents on demand? "Of course not."

"Commissioner for Patents" and "Commissioner for Trademarks" are
new positions.  Q. Todd Dickinson,  Assistant Secretary of Commerce
and Commissioner of Patents and Trademarks, is being promoted to
Undersecretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the
United States Patent and Trademark Office.


Original USPTO release (with contact info):
http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/com/speeches/00-21.htm

James Gleick on USPTO's new "customer" focus
("Our Patent Mission: To Help Our Customers Get Patents.")
http://www.nytimes.com/library/magazine/home/20000312mag-patents.html 

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