USPTO lawyers: Don't penalize us for system problems

Computer systems downtime has emerged as a bone of contention in labor negotiations between trademark attorneys and senior U.S. Patent and Trademark Office officials.

At issue in the negotiations is a proposed performance appraisal plan that federal trademark attorneys say would fail to take computer systems downtime fully into account in measuring attorneys' productivity. Senior management officials contend that the new appraisal plan is fair and necessary for the agency to meet higher production and quality standards.

Under the plan being negotiated, computer downtime is built into the work appraisal model by which trademark attorneys would be rated. It would replace a plan that lets managers exercise discretion in dealing with computer downtime.

Current rules let USPTO managers take attorneys off the clock when systems are down for a couple of hours, said Howard Friedman, an attorney adviser who is president of the National Treasury Employees Union Chapter 245, which represents trademark attorneys. Taking attorneys off the clock, he said, avoids penalties for systems downtime.

Friedman said he lacks confidence that a new appraisal model in which systems downtime is precalculated and built into the model would be fair to patent attorneys. Trademark attorneys, however, welcome having computer systems to do their jobs, he said.

"As a fairly young, progressive bargaining unit, we like using the computer, we like using different technologies, different software

Featured

  • Cybersecurity

    DHS floats 'collective defense' model for cybersecurity

    Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen wants her department to have a more direct role in defending the private sector and critical infrastructure entities from cyberthreats.

  • Defense
    Defense Secretary James Mattis testifies at an April 12 hearing of the House Armed Services Committee.

    Mattis: Cloud deal not tailored for Amazon

    On Capitol Hill, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis sought to quell "rumors" that the Pentagon's planned single-award cloud acquisition was designed with Amazon Web Services in mind.

  • Census
    shutterstock image

    2020 Census to include citizenship question

    The Department of Commerce is breaking with recent practice and restoring a question about respondent citizenship last used in 1950, despite being urged not to by former Census directors and outside experts.

Stay Connected

FCW Update

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.