Owens, Shared Services, and an Independent USPTO

USPTO’s chief information officer – John B. Owens – has left the agency to join the government contractor CGI Federal.  Owens departure coincides with the governmental shift where the Department of Commerce is increasingly taking-over the “enterprise services” within the USPTO as part of the “shared services initiative.”  As part of this plan, USPTO user fees are being directed to the commerce department to handle IT and information services activities.  Several members of congress have questioned this approach.  And, an interesting feature of the 2018 Republican House Proposed Budget is shrink the Department of Commerce – currently “rife with waste, abuse, and duplication,” and “Establish the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office as an independent agency.”


7 thoughts on “Owens, Shared Services, and an Independent USPTO

  1. 5

    Having seen the capabilities of Commerce’s IT from the inside and knowing how confused they are in that building, I can say they are pretty much lost. PTO’s IT is way beyond and above what Commerce itself can do and currently does a lot for Commerce that the department simply is not equipped to handle. Would be a colossal waste of resources to consolidate in favor of Commerce running the show and just another excuse to divert funds to a bloated bureaucracy. HUGE mistake, folks!

  2. 4

    If the USPTO were to become an independent agency they would need to have their own Inspector General. Otherwise they would be free to become completely rogue. They are almost there anyway.

    For example, they don’t care about examiner misconduct. I am not talking about a difference of opinion with the examiner. I am talking statutory misconduct. But they are afraid of a complaint to the DOC IG.

  3. 3

    By all means make USPTO an independent agency if the goal is to increase the corruption. Right now the PTAB finds in favor of those paying the fees at an 80% clip. Imagine what salaries and bonuses could be under this scenario! ALJ’s will get paid three times what federal judges get. Specialized knowledge!

    Hamilton and the Founders were right. Oil States better win or this corruption continues and gets way worse.

    And thanks prof!

  4. 1

    The PTO being under the commerce dept at least appears on the surface to be a gigantic waste of time effort and etc. They try to run things through commerce for some reason in ways that at least on the surface make no sense barely what so ever.
    Although you can get into many supar secrit areas with a commerce ID that you get as a part of the USPTO. Which is kinda cool.

    1. 1.1

      Are you saying you can neither confirm nor deny the existence of E.T. in the basement of the USPTO building, or is that what you want us to think?

      Seriously though, the USPTO in Commerce makes a little sense on the surface, but it would be better as a standalone agency.

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