Patent Reform Now! Mail USPTO before 12 April 2001!

[This page remains here for historical interest; we will post the results of this campaign when we hear who has been put on the committee.]

3 April 2001

Only six working days remain until the deadline arrives to submit nominations for the US Patent and Trademark Office's Patent Public Advisory Committee. If you or someone you know has some helpful advice for USPTO and is a US citizen willing to serve, please submit a nomination. A letter and the person's resume is all you need to send. It doesn't take long, and you can do it by e-mail.

Richard M. Stallman, inventor of notable software innovations including the Emacs editor and the software distribution model “copyleft,” is our choice for the committee. Stallman has shown reasoned opposition not only to the current trends of patenting other people's work and trivial new developments, but also to the patentability of mathematical algorithms and business methods. “A serious bio” from his web site is the resume he offers; it summarizes his achievements.

If you a fan of other patent reform advocates, you might consider nominating one of them instead of, or in addition to, RMS. Lawrence Lessig, Eben Moglen and Tim O'Reilly might all make good committee members. Nominate your favorite. Or if you're ready to help USPTO fix its broken system, get someone to nominate you.

Last year, Acting Secretary of Commerce Robert L. Mallett appointed an initial complement of nine to the committee: six lawyers, two patent-holding inventors and two professors. (One of the professors is a professor of law, so it adds up to nine, if you're counting.) None are patent reform advocates.

Here is the original notice from the Federal Register (converted from the original PDF file on the USPTO site.)

Mail <> today.


United States Patent and Trademark Office
[Docket No. 000317075103502]
RIN 0651 XX22
Public Advisory Committees
AGENCY: United States Patent and Trademark Office, Commerce.
ACTION: Notice and request for nominations.


On November 29, 1999, the President signed into law the Patent and Trademark Office Efficiency Act (the “Act”), Pub. L. 106113, Appendix I, Title IV, Subtitle G, 113 Stat. 1501A 572, which, among other things, established two Public Advisory Committees to review the policies, goals, performance, budget and user fees of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) with respect to patents, in the case of the Patent Public Advisory Committee, and with respect to trademarks, in the case of the Trademark Public Advisory Committee, and to advise the Director in these matters. The USPTO is requesting nominations for three (3) members to each Public Advisory Committee for terms beginning on July 13, 2001.

DATES: Nominations must be postmarked or electronically transmitted on or before April 12, 2001.

ADDRESSES: Persons wishing to submit nominations should send the nominee's resume to Chief of Staff, Office of the Director of the USPTO, Washington, DC 20231; by electronic mail to for the Patent Public Advisory Committee or for the Trademark Public Advisory Committee; by facsimile transmission marked to the Chief of Staff's attention at (703) 305-8664; or by mail marked to the Chief of Staff's attention and addressed to the Office of the Director of the USPTO, Washington, DC 20231.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Chief of Staff by facsimile transmission marked to his attention at (703) 3058664, or by mail marked to his attention and addressed to the Office of the Director of the USPTO, Washington, DC 20231.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Under the Act, the then-Acting Secretary of Commerce appointed members to the two Patent and Trademark Public Advisory Committees on July 13, 2000. The Advisory Committees' duties include:

  • Review and advise the Director of the USPTO on matters relating to policies, goals, performance, budget, and user fees of the USPTO relating to patents and trademarks, respectively; and
  • Within 60 days after the end of each fiscal year: (1) Prepare an annual report on the matters listed above; (2) transmit the report to the Secretary of Commerce, the President, and the Committees on the Judiciary of the Senate and the House of Representatives; and (3) publish the report in the Official Gazette of the USPTO. Members of the Patent and Trademark Public Advisory Committees are appointed by and serve at the pleasure of the Secretary of Commerce for three (3)-year terms.

Advisory Committees

The Public Advisory Committees are each composed of nine (9) voting members who are appointed by the Secretary of Commerce (the “Secretary”) and who have “substantial backgrounds and achievement in finance, management, labor relations, science, technology, and office automation.” 35 U.S.C. 5(b)(3). The Public Advisory Committee members must be United States citizens and represent the interests of diverse users of the USPTO both large and small entity applicants in proportion to the number of such applications filed. In the case of the Patent Public Advisory Committee, at least twenty-five (25) percent of the members must represent “small business concerns, independent inventors, and nonprofit organizations,” and at least one member must represent the independent inventors' community. 35 U.S.C. 5(b)(2). Each of the Public Advisory Committees also includes three (3) non-voting members representing each labor organization recognized by the USPTO.

Procedures and Guidelines of the Patent and Trademark Public Advisory Committees

Each newly appointed member of the Patent and Trademark Public Advisory Committees will serve for a term of three years. Members appointed in the current fiscal year shall serve from July 13, 2001, to July 12, 2004. As required by the Act, members of the Patent and Trademark Public Advisory Committees will receive compensation for each day, including travel time, while the member is attending meetings or engaged in the business of that Advisory Committee. The rate of compensation is the daily equivalent of the annual rate of basic pay in effect for level III of the Executive Schedule under section 5314 of title 5, United States Code. While away from home or regular place of business, each member will be allowed travel expenses, including per diem in lieu of subsistence, as authorized by Section 5703 of Title 5, United States Code. The USPTO will provide the necessary administrative support, including technical assistance, for the Committees. Applicability of Certain Ethics Laws Members of each Public Advisory Committee shall be special Government employees within the meaning of Section 202 of Title 18, United States Code. The following additional information assumes that members are not engaged in Public Advisory Committee business more than sixty days during each calendar year:

  • Each member will be required to file a confidential financial disclosure form within thirty (30) days of appointment. 5 C.F.R. 2634.202(c), 2634.204, 2634.903, and 2634.904(b).
  • Each member will be subject to many of the public integrity laws, including criminal bars against representing a party, 18 U.S.C. 203(c), or acting where the United States has an interest, 18 U.S.C. 205(c), in a particular matter that came before the member's committee and that involved at least one specific party. See also 18 U.S.C. 207 for post-membership bars. A member also must not act on a matter in which the member (or any of certain closely related entities) has a financial interest. 18 U.S.C. 208.
  • Representation of foreign interests may also raise issues. 35 U.S.C. 5(a)(1) and 18 U.S.C. 219.

Meetings of the Patent and Trademark Public Advisory Committees

Meetings of each Advisory Committee will take place at the call of the chair to consider an agenda set by the chair. Meetings may be conducted in person, electronically through the Internet, or by other appropriate means. The meetings of each Advisory Committee will be open to the public except each Advisory Committee may, by majority vote, meet in executive session when considering personnel or other confidential matters. Nominees must also have the ability to participate in Committee business through the Internet.

Procedure for Submitting Nominations

Submit resumes for nominations for the Patent Public Advisory Committee and the Trademark Public Advisory Committee to the USPTO's Chief of Staff as provided above.

Dated: March 7, 2001.
Nicholas P. Godici,

Acting Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Acting Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

[FR Doc. 016238 Filed 31201; 8:45 am]