The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has been struggling to respond effectively to this sharp increase in workload. Between FY 1991 and FY 2001, the patent examiner workforce increased almost 80 percent to accommodate an 83 percent increase in patent applications.
But patent examiner recruitment and retention problems impeded this staffing expansion. Over this same period, the annual attrition rate for patent examiners averaged 10.5 percent, substantially above the government-wide attrition rate for technical employees.
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USPTO has asked the Academy to assist in this transformation process by:
Three previous Academy studies of USPTO concluded that the agency met the criteria for establishing a federal corporation and would benefit from the enhanced operational and financial flexibility accorded most government corporations. The current study team strongly agrees with these previous findings. While the PBO legislation was a step in the right direction, the study team believes that a government corporation remains the best organizational form for the USPTO because it could enhance significantly its capacity, flexibility, efficiency, and effectiveness.
In addition to gaining enhanced status and visibility as a government corporation, the study team believes a USPTO corporation should: