Friday, April 24, 2009

USPTO Issues Request for Information
WWW.USPTO.GOV

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is seeking information from interested parties to participate in policy studies, conferences, and other development programs in support of fair international protection of intellectual property rights. The USPTO intends to competitively issue/award joint projects and/or cooperative agreements to conduct these programs. Interested parties are advised that information is requested subject to the authority contained in the FY2009 Omnibus Appropriations language and no contractual awards subject to the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) will be issued.

On March 11, 2009, the President signed the Omnibus Appropriations Act, 2009 (H.R. 1105) into law (P.L. 111-8). The law, in part, provides that no less than $4 million of appropriated amounts shall be available only for the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) contribution in a cooperative or joint agreement or agreements with a non-profit organization or organizations to conduct policy studies, conferences, and other development programs, in support of fair international protection of intellectual property rights.

In accordance with the law, three requirements must be met in order for an organization to be eligible to enter into an agreement with the USPTO. First, the organization must be a non-profit organization. Second, the non-profit organization must have been successfully audited within the previous year. Third, the non-profit organization must have previous experience in such programs.

The text of the relevant provision of P.L. 111-8 reads as follows:

Provided further, That from the amounts provided herein, no less than $4,000,000 shall be available only for the USPTO contribution in a cooperative or joint agreement or agreements with a non-profit organization or organizations, successfully audited within the previous year, and with previous experience in such programs, to conduct policy studies, including studies relating to activities of United Nations Specialized agencies and other international organizations, as well as conferences and other development programs, in support of fair international protection of intellectual property rights.

Additional requirements apply depending on the underlying authority for the agreement. The USPTO is authorized to engage in the various agreements described below:

15 U.S.C. 1525, which provides that the Department of Commerce may enter into joint projects with nonprofit, research, or public organizations on matters of mutual interest with costs equitably apportioned;
35 U.S.C. 2(a)(2), which provides that the USPTO may disseminate to the public information with respect to patents and trademarks;
35 U.S.C. 2(b)(6), which provides that the USPTO may use an international organization to perform functions on its behalf; and
35 U.S.C. 2(b)(11), which provides that the USPTO may conduct programs or studies regarding domestic and international intellectual property law and the effectiveness of intellectual property protection domestically and throughout the world.
It is anticipated that any agreement(s) will be structured as either a Joint Project Agreement or a Cooperative Agreement. It will need to be clear in your submission which you intend to pursue.

Joint Project Agreements, which are under the authority of 15 U.S.C. 1525, require substantial participation on the USPTO’s part as well as an equitable distribution of costs, though your share of costs may be paid by a third party or parties. Funds provided by the USPTO are to pay for actual costs only; generally, there may be no element of profit in the USPTO’s payment to you.

Cooperative Agreements entered into under the USPTO authorities listed above do not require an equitable distribution of costs and do not involve significant efforts on the part of the USPTO.

The following information is requested in response to this RFI:

A statement describing how the organization meets the initial eligibility requirements (e.g. non-profit status, successful audit, previous experience). Such description is limited to one (1) page.
A statement of preference for which type of agreement the organization would like to pursue and a description of how the organization meets the requirements associated with entering into such an agreement. If proposing a joint project agreement pursuant to 15 U.S.C. 1525, you should address the amount and type of shared contribution your organization will provide. Such description is limited to one (1) page.
A summary of possible programs (i.e. policy study, conference, other development program) that the organization has an interest in conducting. Summaries should include as much of the following information as possible: The program type, topic, purpose, audience, objective, measurements for success, and approximate costs. Such summaries are limited to one (1) page each.
This notice will be open for 3 weeks from the date of publication. Information must be electronically transmitted by April 30, 2009.

Responses and inquiries regarding this Request for Information should be sent electronically to Angela Maldonado Office of Procurement, USPTO or call (571) 272-6550.

For more information go to WWW.GAPATENTS.COM or WWW.GOOGLE.COM.

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