Comparison of ETA, Routing, PAP Proposals

The Agency was prepared in October to provide us with formal notice of its intent to implement changes to ETA, Routing and PAP.  Because these topics are management’s right to propose and implement, none of the management changes were substantively negotiable.  Even so, the Agency agreed to spend some weeks discussing their changes with us. 

Based upon those talks, the Agency agreed to modify the substance of their intended changes as part of a package that preserved our bargaining rights until after implementation for a period of up to three years.  While this permits the Agency to prepare for implementation, it not only locks in the improvements to the Agency changes listed below, but also allows POPA  to continue discussions on appropriate arrangements related to some reserved implementation topics and to bargain post implementation to ameliorate negative impacts once we have more information to rely onto defend our proposals.

Link to Word Documrent





ETA-Use of all CPC symbols on an application (this would include CPC symbols based on the family and the disclosure of the application)

ETA-Use of C* CPC symbols which is an indicator applied to claims of an application



Attributes for number of claims, pro se, specification size, interviews, restrictions and IDS


Attributes are the same but include written as well as oral restrictions


Routing:  Use of all CPC symbols on the application to get the application to an examiner

Routing:  Use of C* CPC symbols to get the application to an examiner based on the claims

Tallies are for all CPC symbols on the application

Tallies are only in C* CPC symbols on the application

120 hours of work on an examiner’s docket




120 hours of work on an examiner’s docket with the ability to get applications assigned when there are not at least two applications that are ready for an FAOM (for reasons such as having too many applications  restricted or applications that can’t be worked on immediately)


Replenishing docket biweekly


Replenishing docket weekly (or more frequently as needed)

Learning curves for GS-12 and above

Learning curves for those in the office at least 2 years


Pre-implementation portfolio preparation and USPC docket validation


PAP:  search


Errors may be charged when a manager determines the error can be charged

Clear error standard which recognizes honest and legitimate difference of opinion and reasonableness standard


In the 1st Q that the PAP is implemented examiners will not be charged errors in the quality major activities 3 (conducting search), 5 (planning search), 8 (restrictions) and 10 (appropriate line of patentable distinction is maintained between patents and/or applications) and may, at their election, receive advisory opinions on these areas.



No autocount



No autocount but junior examiners who don’t have actions returned or approved within 14 days will have the action counted and credited to the biweek of submission

DM – current 5-day pause became 7-day pause and 21 day pause for vacations

DM – all clocks are paused when the examiner is away 7 days or more for all reasons of absence (except AWOL)

DM – returns on DMP after 7 day correction period



DM – returns appear on return tab and if completed in 14 days then no score is accrued.  If the action is not resubmitted in 14 days, a 14 day score is added to the category from which the return came from.  After that the return goes into ceiling exceeded.

DM – SPEs could put any case on DMP

DM – DMP remains for ceiling exceeded cases only

DM – new oldest case was chosen and became a “1” on Sunday

DM – new oldest case is chosen and becomes a “0” on Sunday

Stakeholder element

Stakeholder element

Stakeholder – external as well as internal interactions were considered for item 6


Stakeholder – only internal interactions will be considered for item 6


Post agreement process:

Post agreement process:

No provision for post-implementation process or further bargaining

POPA receiving data as the process progresses


Transition adjustments for 2 years.  USPC will still be placed on applications and used to make sure examiners are not losing time on applications


Management will support and push for CPC revision projects


Training on the entire package as well as on restrictions


POPA does not agree to the contents or legal validity of the new PAP


Continuing discussions for three years after implementation as issues arise.  If issues are not resolved informally, the union has the right to invoke formal bargaining.


Specific issues will be discussed further before implementation including C* implementation, transitioning examiners to 120 hour dockets, developing IT required for the package and developing training and FAQs