In 2002, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) issued its 21st Century Strategic Plan. Then in August, the PTO released its strategic plan for the years 2007 through 2012, which expands on the ideals and goals expressed in the 21st Century Strategic Plan and proposes courses of action to meet these goals. Notable among the goals pertaining to patenting in the United States are optimizing patent quality and timeliness, and achieving organizational excellence at the PTO.

These goals are framed in the plan by certain guiding principles — quality, certainty, cost-effectiveness and accessibility. The reference to “quality” attempts to balance accuracy and good processes with timeliness. Also encompassed within the quality goals are the needs to continue to hire, better train and retain patent examiners.

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