Notice of Roundtable and Request for Comments on Domestic and International Issues Related to Privileged Communications Between Patent Practitioners and Their Clients, 3953-3955 [2015-01241]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 16 / Monday, January 26, 2015 / Notices Council address: Pacific Council, 7700 NE Ambassador Place, Suite 101, Portland, OR 97220–1384. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Brett Wiedoff, Staff Officer; telephone: (503) 820–2424. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The primary purpose of the webinar is to develop a reasonable range of alternatives for the vessel movement monitoring (VMM) agenda item scheduled for the Pacific Council’s April 2015 meeting in Rohnert Park, CA. The EC will discuss options to monitor the movement of fishing vessels in the commercial groundfish fishery. The EC will also discuss options for fishpot gear deployment, derelict gear removal options, and fishery declaration enhancements. Other pertinent items that are on the Pacific Council’s agenda for the March 2015 meeting in Vancouver, WA may be addressed if time allows. Actions will be restricted to those issues specifically listed in this notice and any issues arising after publication of this notice that require emergency action under Section 305(c) of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, provided the public has been notified of the EC’s intent to take final action to address the emergency. Public comment may be accommodated if time allows, at the discretion of the EC Chair. Special Accommodations The listening station at the Pacific Council office is physically accessible to people with disabilities. Requests for sign language interpretation or other auxiliary aids should be directed to Mr. Kris Kleinschmidt, at (503) 820–2280, at least 5 days prior to the meeting date. Dated: January 21, 2015. Tracey L. Thompson, Acting Deputy Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2015–01261 Filed 1–23–15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648–XD736 emcdonald on DSK67QTVN1PROD with NOTICES Pacific Fishery Management Council; Public Meeting National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Notice; public meeting. AGENCY: The Pacific Fishery Management Council’s (Pacific Council) SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:48 Jan 23, 2015 Jkt 235001 ad hoc Ecosystem Work Group (EWG) will hold a webinar, which is open to the public. DATES: The EWG will hold the webinar on Wednesday, February, 11, 2015, from 1 p.m. until business for the day is complete. ADDRESSES: To attend the webinar, visit http://www.gotomeeting.com/online/ webinar/join-webinar. Enter the webinar ID, which is 103–198–035, and your name and email address (required). Once you have joined the webinar, choose either your computer’s audio or select ‘‘Use Telephone.’’ If you do not select ‘‘Use Telephone’’ you will be connected to audio using your computer’s microphone and speakers (VolP). It is recommended that you use a computer headset, as GoToMeeting allows you to listen to the meeting using your computer headset and speakers. If you do not have a headset and speakers, you may use your telephone for the audio portion of the meeting by dialing this TOLL number 1–480–297–0021 (not a toll-free number); phone audio access code 932–675–759; audio phone pin shown after joining the webinar. System Requirements for PC-based attendees: Required: Windows® 7, Vista, or XP; for Mac®-based attendees: Required: Mac OS® X 10.5 or newer; and for mobile attendees: iPhone®, iPad®, AndroidTM phone or Android tablet (See the GoToMeeting Webinar Apps). You may send an email to Mr. Kris Kleinschmidt or contact him at 503–820–2425 for technical assistance. A listening station will also be provided at the Pacific Council office. Council address: Pacific Council, 7700 NE Ambassador Place, Suite 101, Portland, OR 97220–1384. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Mike Burner, Pacific Council; telephone: (503) 820–2414. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The EWG will discuss agenda items in preparation for the Council’s March 2015 meeting in Vancouver, WA. The primary focus will be on Fishery Ecosystem Plan (FEP) Initiative 1: Protecting Unfished and Unmanaged Forage Fish Species. Other topics may include the review of FEP initiatives, the Annual State of the California Current Ecosystem Report, and one or more of the Council’s scheduled Administrative Matters. Public comments during the webinar will be received from attendees at the discretion of the EWG Chair. Although non-emergency issues not contained in the meeting agenda may be discussed, those issues may not be the subject of formal action during this meeting. Action will be restricted to those issues specifically listed in this PO 00000 Frm 00014 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 3953 document and any issues arising after publication of this document that require emergency action under section 305(c) of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, provided the public has been notified of the intent to take final action to address the emergency. Special Accommodations The meeting is physically accessible to people with disabilities. Requests for sign language interpretation or other auxiliary aids should be directed to Mr. Kris Kleinschmidt at (503) 820–2425 at least 5 days prior to the meeting date. Dated: January 21, 2015. Tracey L. Thompson, Acting Deputy Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2015–01260 Filed 1–23–15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE Patent and Trademark Office [Docket No. PTO–C–2014–0066] Notice of Roundtable and Request for Comments on Domestic and International Issues Related to Privileged Communications Between Patent Practitioners and Their Clients United States Patent and Trademark Office, Commerce. ACTION: Notice of roundtable and request for written comments. AGENCY: The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is seeking input on issues regarding protections from disclosure for communications between patent applicants and Their advisors. The issues include: Whether and to what extent U.S. courts should recognize privilege for communications between foreign patent practitioners and their clients; the extent to which communications between U.S. patent applicants and their non-attorney U.S. patent agents should be privileged in U.S. courts; and whether and to what extent communications between U.S. patent practitioners and their clients should receive privilege in foreign jurisdictions. The USPTO is hosting a roundtable and soliciting written comments to gather information and views on these questions. DATES: The roundtable will be held on Wednesday, February 18, 2015. The roundtable will begin at 10:00 a.m. and end at 12:30 p.m. Written comments are due by Wednesday, February 25, 2015, for full consideration. ADDRESSES: The roundtable will be held at the United States Patent and SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\26JAN1.SGM 26JAN1 3954 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 16 / Monday, January 26, 2015 / Notices Trademark Office, Madison Auditorium, Madison Building, 600 Dulany Street, Alexandria, Virginia 22314. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For further information regarding the roundtable or written comments, please contact Soma Saha or Edward Elliott at the Office of Policy and International Affairs, by telephone at (571) 272–9300, by email at ACPrivilege@uspto.gov, or by postal mail addressed to: Mail Stop OPIA, United States Patent and Trademark Office, P.O. Box 1450, Alexandria, Virginia 22313–1450, ATTN: Soma Saha or Edward Elliott. Please direct all media inquiries to the Office of the Chief Communications Officer, USPTO, at (571) 272–8400. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: emcdonald on DSK67QTVN1PROD with NOTICES 1. Background Innovators who seek patent protection in multiple jurisdictions may engage patent practitioners (attorneys or other registered representatives) in each of those jurisdictions. Currently, there is little consistency in whether the innovators’ communications with their patent practitioners will be recognized as privileged by courts. The rules governing privilege vary from country to country and between U.S. jurisdictions. As a result, innovators may be reluctant to share critical information with their patent practitioners because the information may be subject to disclosure in judicial proceedings. In addition, privilege issues also affect practitioners in the United States. U.S. district courts have inconsistent rules regarding the availability and scope of privilege for communications between clients and their non-attorney U.S. patent agents. The USPTO is interested in the following topics that focus on three different aspects of privileged communications affecting U.S. entities. First, the USPTO is interested in the state of U.S. law with respect to protecting communications between patent applicants and their non-U.S. patent practitioners from disclosure in U.S. litigation. The law in the United States differs from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Some U.S. courts do not protect communications with foreign practitioners under any circumstances. Other courts may protect those communications, but they employ a variety of tests to decide whether and to what extent to grant privilege. Factors that U.S. courts consider include: Whether the foreign practitioner acted under the direction of a U.S. attorney; whether the foreign practitioner would receive privilege under the laws of the country where the patent application VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:48 Jan 23, 2015 Jkt 235001 was filed; and how the competing interests of all involved jurisdictions are affected. The patchwork of rules between circuits and districts can make it unclear under which circumstances communications are privileged. Second, the USPTO is interested in how foreign courts treat communications between U.S. patent agents or attorneys and their clients. Problems arise most frequently in common law jurisdictions, some of which do not extend privilege to communications between a patent applicant and foreign patent practitioners. For this reason, Australia and New Zealand, both common law countries, recently passed laws extending privilege to foreign patent practitioners who are authorized to provide patent advice in other countries. Civil law jurisdictions generally impose professional secrecy obligations that function similarly to privilege, but secrecy issues appear to arise less frequently in practice. Finally, the USPTO is interested in the extent and nature of protection, if any, that U.S. courts accord to communications between clients and their non-attorney U.S. patent agents. In the United States, patent practitioners (whether agents or attorneys) must be registered to practice before the USPTO, e.g., to prosecute patent applications as an applicant’s representative. In order to register, both types of practitioners must demonstrate certain legal, scientific, and technical qualifications and pass a registration exam. However, patent agents, unlike patent attorneys, are not required to be separately licensed to practice law. Communications between U.S. patent agents and their clients are treated differently by various U.S. district courts, which follow their own precedents with respect to whether the communications are privileged. Some district courts have denied privilege altogether for patent agents, while other courts have granted privilege to agents only when their work is overseen by an attorney. Still others have recognized privilege only for communications with an agent regarding activities before the USPTO, or only when the communications concern a related adversarial process. To address the lack of uniformity for potentially privileged communications discussed above, the possibility of developing an international minimum standard for recognizing privileged communications between clients and patent practitioners has been considered in recent years by the Standing Committee on the Law of Patents (SCP) at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). Those discussions PO 00000 Frm 00015 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 have resulted in a compilation of relevant laws in WIPO member countries on this issue. For more information, please see WIPO document SCP/20/9, ‘‘Confidentiality of Communications between Clients and their Patent Advisors: Compilation of Laws, Practices and other Information,’’ available at: http://www.wipo.int/edocs/ mdocs/patent_policy/en/scp_20/scp_ 20_9.pdf. This document also contains a summary of U.S. law on this issue. Separately, several industry organizations from the United States and Europe have proposed an international framework that they believe would help mitigate some of the uncertainty that exists in the current system. A copy of their proposed framework can be found at: https:// www.aippi.org/download/ onlinePublications/Attachment1 SubmissiontoWIPODecember182013_ SCP.pdf. The USPTO is conducting this public roundtable to solicit comments from interested parties on protecting confidential communications between innovators and their patent practitioner representatives. The number of participants in the roundtable is limited to ensure that all speakers have a meaningful opportunity to present their views. Those who wish to participate in the roundtable should submit a written request, per the instructions below. Members of the public who wish to attend and observe the roundtable need not submit a request. Anyone may submit written comments for consideration by the USPTO on issues relevant to this notice or raised at the roundtable. The USPTO plans to make the roundtable available via webcast. Webcast information will be available on the USPTO’s Web site before the roundtable. The written comments and list of the roundtable participants and their associations will be available from the USPTO’s Web site. 2. Issues for Public Comment The topics and questions listed below reflect particular issues for which the USPTO would appreciate receiving input from interested stakeholders. Responses are not restricted to these topics; comments may provide any information the submitter wishes the USPTO to consider. The questions should not be taken as an indication that the USPTO has taken a position or is predisposed to any particular views. 1. Please explain the impact, if any, resulting from inconsistent treatment of privilege rules among U.S. federal courts. In your answer, please identify if the impact is on communications with E:\FR\FM\26JAN1.SGM 26JAN1 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 16 / Monday, January 26, 2015 / Notices foreign, domestic, or both types of patent practitioners. 2. Please explain how U.S. stakeholders would be impacted by a national standard for U.S. courts to recognize privilege for communications with U.S. patent agents, including potential benefits and costs. If you believe such a standard would be beneficial, please explain what the scope of a national standard should cover. 3. Please explain how U.S. stakeholders would be impacted by a national standard for U.S. courts to recognize privilege for communications with foreign patent practitioners, including potential benefits and costs. If you believe such a standard would be beneficial, please explain what the scope of a standard should cover. 4. Please explain how U.S. stakeholders would be impacted by an international framework establishing minimum privilege standards in the courts of member countries for communications with patent practitioners in other jurisdictions, including potential benefits and costs. If you believe such a framework would be beneficial, please also address the following issues: a. Please identify which jurisdictions have potential problems and explain the exact nature of the problem in each of those jurisdictions. b. Please explain what the scope of an international framework for privilege standards should cover. An example of such a framework can be found in Appendix 5 of the following document: https://www.aippi.org/download/online Publications/Attachment1Submissionto WIPODecember182013_SCP.pdf. 5. If a national standard for U.S. courts to recognize privilege for U.S. patent agents or foreign practitioners would be beneficial, please explain how that standard should be established. a. If Federal legislation would be appropriate, what should such legislation encompass? Please consider whether the Federal tax preparer-client privilege legislation, which statutorily extended attorney-client privilege to non-lawyer practitioners (e.g., certified public accountants) under 26 U.S.C. 7525(a), is an appropriate model and explain why or why not. Are there any noteworthy parallels or differences between Federally-registered accountants and Federally-registered patent agents in either policy or operation? Commenters are requested to include information identifying how their organization is impacted by privilege issues, e.g., whether they are patent attorneys, agents, owners, licensees, or any other type of entity. 3. Instructions and Information on the Public Roundtable The roundtable will be held on February 18, 2015, at the United States Patent and Trademark Office, Madison Building, 600 Dulany Street, Alexandria, Virginia 22314. The roundtable will begin at 10:00 a.m. and end at 12:30 p.m. The final agenda and webcast information will be available a week before the roundtable on the USPTO’s Office of Policy and International Affairs Web site at http:// www.uspto.gov/ip/global/patents/ index.jsp. Pre-registration will be available from that Web page, or attendees may register at the door. The event will be divided into two portions. The first part will feature a panel providing background on privileged communications between patent practitioners and their clients. The second part of the event will feature presentations by various stakeholders on privileged communications and their respective positions on this issue. Both portions will explore both domestic and international issues relating to these topics. Here is a preliminary agenda: Time Topic emcdonald on DSK67QTVN1PROD with NOTICES 10:00 to 10:05 a.m ............................................................................................................ 10:05 to 11:00 a.m ............................................................................................................ 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m .................................................................................................... Speakers: Individuals interested in speaking should submit their name, contact information (telephone number and email address), the organization(s) the person represents, if any, relevant biographical information, and a few brief comments on the topics to be discussed to ACPrivilege@uspto.gov by February 10, 2015. Selected speakers will be notified thereafter. Written Comments: Written comments can be submitted via the Federal Register’s Web site, www.federalregister.gov, or by email to ACPrivilege@uspto.gov. Comments may also be submitted by postal mail addressed to: Mail Stop OPIA, United States Patent and Trademark Office, P.O. Box 1450, Alexandria, Virginia 22313–1450, ATTN: Edward Elliott. Although comments may be submitted by postal mail, electronic submissions are encouraged. The deadline for receipt of written comments for consideration by the USPTO is February 25, 2015. Written comments should be identified in the subject line of the email or postal VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:48 Jan 23, 2015 Jkt 235001 3955 Welcome and introduction. Background panel on privileged communications. Presentations by interested stakeholders. mailing as ‘‘Agent-Client Privilege.’’ Because comments will be made available for public inspection, information that is not desired to be made public, such as an address or phone number, should not be included in the comments. Special Accomodations: The roundtable will be physically accessible to people with disabilities. Individuals requiring accommodation, such as sign language interpretation or other ancillary aids, should communicate their needs to Angel Jenkins at the Office of Policy and International Affairs, by telephone at (571) 272–9300, by email at angel.jenkins@uspto.gov, or by postal mail addressed to: Mail Stop OPIA, United States Patent and Trademark Office, P.O. Box 1450, Alexandria, Virginia 22313–1450, ATTN: Angel Jenkins, at least seven (7) business days prior to the roundtable. PO 00000 Frm 00016 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Dated: January 20, 2015. Michelle K. Lee, Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Deputy Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office. [FR Doc. 2015–01241 Filed 1–23–15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–16–P COMMODITY FUTURES TRADING COMMISSION Agency Information Collection Activities: Notice of Intent To Renew Collection 3038–0076, Risk Management Requirements for Derivatives Clearing Organizations Commodity Futures Trading Commission. ACTION: Notice. AGENCY: The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (‘‘Commission’’ or ‘‘CFTC’’) is announcing an opportunity for public comment on the proposed collection of certain information by the SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\26JAN1.SGM 26JAN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 80, Number 16 (Monday, January 26, 2015)]
[Notices]
[Pages 3953-3955]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2015-01241]


-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

 Patent and Trademark Office

[Docket No. PTO-C-2014-0066]


Notice of Roundtable and Request for Comments on Domestic and 
International Issues Related to Privileged Communications Between 
Patent Practitioners and Their Clients

AGENCY: United States Patent and Trademark Office, Commerce.

ACTION: Notice of roundtable and request for written comments.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is 
seeking input on issues regarding protections from disclosure for 
communications between patent applicants and Their advisors. The issues 
include: Whether and to what extent U.S. courts should recognize 
privilege for communications between foreign patent practitioners and 
their clients; the extent to which communications between U.S. patent 
applicants and their non-attorney U.S. patent agents should be 
privileged in U.S. courts; and whether and to what extent 
communications between U.S. patent practitioners and their clients 
should receive privilege in foreign jurisdictions. The USPTO is hosting 
a roundtable and soliciting written comments to gather information and 
views on these questions.

DATES: The roundtable will be held on Wednesday, February 18, 2015. The 
roundtable will begin at 10:00 a.m. and end at 12:30 p.m. Written 
comments are due by Wednesday, February 25, 2015, for full 
consideration.

ADDRESSES: The roundtable will be held at the United States Patent and

[[Page 3954]]

Trademark Office, Madison Auditorium, Madison Building, 600 Dulany 
Street, Alexandria, Virginia 22314.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For further information regarding the 
roundtable or written comments, please contact Soma Saha or Edward 
Elliott at the Office of Policy and International Affairs, by telephone 
at (571) 272-9300, by email at ACPrivilege@uspto.gov, or by postal mail 
addressed to: Mail Stop OPIA, United States Patent and Trademark 
Office, P.O. Box 1450, Alexandria, Virginia 22313-1450, ATTN: Soma Saha 
or Edward Elliott. Please direct all media inquiries to the Office of 
the Chief Communications Officer, USPTO, at (571) 272-8400.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

1. Background

    Innovators who seek patent protection in multiple jurisdictions may 
engage patent practitioners (attorneys or other registered 
representatives) in each of those jurisdictions. Currently, there is 
little consistency in whether the innovators' communications with their 
patent practitioners will be recognized as privileged by courts. The 
rules governing privilege vary from country to country and between U.S. 
jurisdictions. As a result, innovators may be reluctant to share 
critical information with their patent practitioners because the 
information may be subject to disclosure in judicial proceedings.
    In addition, privilege issues also affect practitioners in the 
United States. U.S. district courts have inconsistent rules regarding 
the availability and scope of privilege for communications between 
clients and their non-attorney U.S. patent agents.
    The USPTO is interested in the following topics that focus on three 
different aspects of privileged communications affecting U.S. entities.
    First, the USPTO is interested in the state of U.S. law with 
respect to protecting communications between patent applicants and 
their non-U.S. patent practitioners from disclosure in U.S. litigation. 
The law in the United States differs from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. 
Some U.S. courts do not protect communications with foreign 
practitioners under any circumstances. Other courts may protect those 
communications, but they employ a variety of tests to decide whether 
and to what extent to grant privilege. Factors that U.S. courts 
consider include: Whether the foreign practitioner acted under the 
direction of a U.S. attorney; whether the foreign practitioner would 
receive privilege under the laws of the country where the patent 
application was filed; and how the competing interests of all involved 
jurisdictions are affected. The patchwork of rules between circuits and 
districts can make it unclear under which circumstances communications 
are privileged.
    Second, the USPTO is interested in how foreign courts treat 
communications between U.S. patent agents or attorneys and their 
clients. Problems arise most frequently in common law jurisdictions, 
some of which do not extend privilege to communications between a 
patent applicant and foreign patent practitioners. For this reason, 
Australia and New Zealand, both common law countries, recently passed 
laws extending privilege to foreign patent practitioners who are 
authorized to provide patent advice in other countries. Civil law 
jurisdictions generally impose professional secrecy obligations that 
function similarly to privilege, but secrecy issues appear to arise 
less frequently in practice.
    Finally, the USPTO is interested in the extent and nature of 
protection, if any, that U.S. courts accord to communications between 
clients and their non-attorney U.S. patent agents. In the United 
States, patent practitioners (whether agents or attorneys) must be 
registered to practice before the USPTO, e.g., to prosecute patent 
applications as an applicant's representative. In order to register, 
both types of practitioners must demonstrate certain legal, scientific, 
and technical qualifications and pass a registration exam. However, 
patent agents, unlike patent attorneys, are not required to be 
separately licensed to practice law. Communications between U.S. patent 
agents and their clients are treated differently by various U.S. 
district courts, which follow their own precedents with respect to 
whether the communications are privileged. Some district courts have 
denied privilege altogether for patent agents, while other courts have 
granted privilege to agents only when their work is overseen by an 
attorney. Still others have recognized privilege only for 
communications with an agent regarding activities before the USPTO, or 
only when the communications concern a related adversarial process.
    To address the lack of uniformity for potentially privileged 
communications discussed above, the possibility of developing an 
international minimum standard for recognizing privileged 
communications between clients and patent practitioners has been 
considered in recent years by the Standing Committee on the Law of 
Patents (SCP) at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). 
Those discussions have resulted in a compilation of relevant laws in 
WIPO member countries on this issue. For more information, please see 
WIPO document SCP/20/9, ``Confidentiality of Communications between 
Clients and their Patent Advisors: Compilation of Laws, Practices and 
other Information,'' available at: http://www.wipo.int/edocs/mdocs/patent_policy/en/scp_20/scp_20_9.pdf. This document also contains a 
summary of U.S. law on this issue. Separately, several industry 
organizations from the United States and Europe have proposed an 
international framework that they believe would help mitigate some of 
the uncertainty that exists in the current system. A copy of their 
proposed framework can be found at: https://www.aippi.org/download/onlinePublications/Attachment1SubmissiontoWIPODecember182013_SCP.pdf.
    The USPTO is conducting this public roundtable to solicit comments 
from interested parties on protecting confidential communications 
between innovators and their patent practitioner representatives. The 
number of participants in the roundtable is limited to ensure that all 
speakers have a meaningful opportunity to present their views. Those 
who wish to participate in the roundtable should submit a written 
request, per the instructions below. Members of the public who wish to 
attend and observe the roundtable need not submit a request.
    Anyone may submit written comments for consideration by the USPTO 
on issues relevant to this notice or raised at the roundtable. The 
USPTO plans to make the roundtable available via webcast. Webcast 
information will be available on the USPTO's Web site before the 
roundtable. The written comments and list of the roundtable 
participants and their associations will be available from the USPTO's 
Web site.

2. Issues for Public Comment

    The topics and questions listed below reflect particular issues for 
which the USPTO would appreciate receiving input from interested 
stakeholders. Responses are not restricted to these topics; comments 
may provide any information the submitter wishes the USPTO to consider. 
The questions should not be taken as an indication that the USPTO has 
taken a position or is predisposed to any particular views.
    1. Please explain the impact, if any, resulting from inconsistent 
treatment of privilege rules among U.S. federal courts. In your answer, 
please identify if the impact is on communications with

[[Page 3955]]

foreign, domestic, or both types of patent practitioners.
    2. Please explain how U.S. stakeholders would be impacted by a 
national standard for U.S. courts to recognize privilege for 
communications with U.S. patent agents, including potential benefits 
and costs. If you believe such a standard would be beneficial, please 
explain what the scope of a national standard should cover.
    3. Please explain how U.S. stakeholders would be impacted by a 
national standard for U.S. courts to recognize privilege for 
communications with foreign patent practitioners, including potential 
benefits and costs. If you believe such a standard would be beneficial, 
please explain what the scope of a standard should cover.
    4. Please explain how U.S. stakeholders would be impacted by an 
international framework establishing minimum privilege standards in the 
courts of member countries for communications with patent practitioners 
in other jurisdictions, including potential benefits and costs. If you 
believe such a framework would be beneficial, please also address the 
following issues:
    a. Please identify which jurisdictions have potential problems and 
explain the exact nature of the problem in each of those jurisdictions.
    b. Please explain what the scope of an international framework for 
privilege standards should cover. An example of such a framework can be 
found in Appendix 5 of the following document: https://www.aippi.org/download/onlinePublications/Attachment1SubmissiontoWIPODecember182013_SCP.pdf.
    5. If a national standard for U.S. courts to recognize privilege 
for U.S. patent agents or foreign practitioners would be beneficial, 
please explain how that standard should be established.
    a. If Federal legislation would be appropriate, what should such 
legislation encompass? Please consider whether the Federal tax 
preparer-client privilege legislation, which statutorily extended 
attorney-client privilege to non-lawyer practitioners (e.g., certified 
public accountants) under 26 U.S.C. 7525(a), is an appropriate model 
and explain why or why not. Are there any noteworthy parallels or 
differences between Federally-registered accountants and Federally-
registered patent agents in either policy or operation?
    Commenters are requested to include information identifying how 
their organization is impacted by privilege issues, e.g., whether they 
are patent attorneys, agents, owners, licensees, or any other type of 
entity.

3. Instructions and Information on the Public Roundtable

    The roundtable will be held on February 18, 2015, at the United 
States Patent and Trademark Office, Madison Building, 600 Dulany 
Street, Alexandria, Virginia 22314. The roundtable will begin at 10:00 
a.m. and end at 12:30 p.m. The final agenda and webcast information 
will be available a week before the roundtable on the USPTO's Office of 
Policy and International Affairs Web site at http://www.uspto.gov/ip/global/patents/index.jsp. Pre-registration will be available from that 
Web page, or attendees may register at the door.
    The event will be divided into two portions. The first part will 
feature a panel providing background on privileged communications 
between patent practitioners and their clients. The second part of the 
event will feature presentations by various stakeholders on privileged 
communications and their respective positions on this issue. Both 
portions will explore both domestic and international issues relating 
to these topics. Here is a preliminary agenda:

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                Time                                                     Topic
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
10:00 to 10:05 a.m..................  Welcome and introduction.
10:05 to 11:00 a.m..................  Background panel on privileged communications.
11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.............  Presentations by interested stakeholders.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Speakers: Individuals interested in speaking should submit their 
name, contact information (telephone number and email address), the 
organization(s) the person represents, if any, relevant biographical 
information, and a few brief comments on the topics to be discussed to 
ACPrivilege@uspto.gov by February 10, 2015. Selected speakers will be 
notified thereafter.
    Written Comments: Written comments can be submitted via the Federal 
Register's Web site, www.federalregister.gov, or by email to 
ACPrivilege@uspto.gov. Comments may also be submitted by postal mail 
addressed to: Mail Stop OPIA, United States Patent and Trademark 
Office, P.O. Box 1450, Alexandria, Virginia 22313-1450, ATTN: Edward 
Elliott. Although comments may be submitted by postal mail, electronic 
submissions are encouraged. The deadline for receipt of written 
comments for consideration by the USPTO is February 25, 2015. Written 
comments should be identified in the subject line of the email or 
postal mailing as ``Agent-Client Privilege.'' Because comments will be 
made available for public inspection, information that is not desired 
to be made public, such as an address or phone number, should not be 
included in the comments.
    Special Accomodations: The roundtable will be physically accessible 
to people with disabilities. Individuals requiring accommodation, such 
as sign language interpretation or other ancillary aids, should 
communicate their needs to Angel Jenkins at the Office of Policy and 
International Affairs, by telephone at (571) 272-9300, by email at 
angel.jenkins@uspto.gov, or by postal mail addressed to: Mail Stop 
OPIA, United States Patent and Trademark Office, P.O. Box 1450, 
Alexandria, Virginia 22313-1450, ATTN: Angel Jenkins, at least seven 
(7) business days prior to the roundtable.

    Dated: January 20, 2015.
Michelle K. Lee,
Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Deputy 
Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
[FR Doc. 2015-01241 Filed 1-23-15; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-16-P