USPTO Fiscal Year 2021 Performance and Accountability Report: A Clean Financial Record
Blog invited by Jay Hoffman, CFO
Madison Building at USPTO Headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia (Photo by Jay Premack / USPTO)
Here at the U.S. Innovation Agency, we place great importance on transparency and providing our stakeholders with the most recent information about our agency’s activities and goals. One of the ways we do this is by publishing our Performance and Accountability Report (PER). This document, now available online for FY 2021, serves as a comprehensive report on the state of the USPTO.
In addition to describing how the agency responds to administration directives and decrees on certain priorities, the PAR describes our progress towards our goals of optimizing the quality and timeliness of patents and trademarks, and national leadership. and global to improve intellectual property policy, enforcement, and protection worldwide. In short, it offers our stakeholders a detailed update on how we are using our financial resources responsibly to deliver organizational excellence to all who work with us.
Overall, the USPTO’s financial health is strong and we continue to closely monitor demand and income and work to establish a prudent spending and investment plan. The USPTO maintains operating reserves that allow us to systematically fund operations. We ended the year with strong and healthy balances in our patent and trademark operating reserves, which will position us well for the future.
One of our most significant accomplishments highlighted in the RAP for fiscal 2021 was the closing of a long-standing “material gap” associated with our internal information technology (IT) security controls. This gap had been present for several audit cycles and was based on the auditor’s finding that the agency could strengthen processes, procedures and technologies that not only help ensure that authorized people have access to our IT systems. , but that these systems are also properly configured to be secure to prevent unauthorized access. By successfully implementing a series of corrective actions over the years, the USPTO was finally able to resolve the IT deficiency first identified by the independent auditor dating back to 2015.
We recognize the trust our stakeholders place in us every day by providing us with information related to the protection of their intellectual property. That’s why the USPTO continues to focus on improving the security of our financial information and IT infrastructure to meet evolving risks.
This emphasis on security was found to be critical when, just last month, we proactively and deliberately shut down all external access to file systems for approximately 12 hours in light of serious concern and urgent issue related to the vulnerabilities of Log4j. The shutdown was necessary to perform critical maintenance to protect not only our infrastructure, but also the security of our registrants’ data. Stakeholders could still file documents through the email channels we created during the outage. In the new standard of continuous cyberthreats, we will continue to actively monitor, prevent and remediate cybersecurity vulnerabilities as quickly as possible to ensure the safety and security of our U.S. intellectual property system.
While the PAR highlights our accomplishments, it is also a candid assessment of the challenges we face as an agency. We will continue to address these challenges, including working to continue to provide stable and sustainable funding and investments to maintain and improve USPTO services, and ensuring that IT development and operations are agile, reliable and adaptable.
We take great pride in our long history of producing annual PARs that meet the highest standards of transparency, quality and accountability. Fiscal year 2021 marks the 29th consecutive year that the USPTO’s financial statements have received an “unmodified” (or net) audit opinion from an independent accounting firm. In addition, for fiscal 2021, the auditors did not report any material weaknesses or material deficiencies in the design and operation of the USPTO’s system of internal controls over financial reporting, and the financial system is in compliance with all relevant laws and regulations.
Last May, the Association of Government Accountants (AGA) also recognized the USPTO with its Certificate of Excellence in Accountability for the 19th consecutive year. The AGA awarded the USPTO the “Best in Class” title for displaying “a prominent, clear and concise page of its financial and performance highlights, including key financial metrics, trends, performance metrics and color-coded results ”. Our team has worked hard to ensure this year’s PAR continues to deliver this standard of excellence. I thank everyone who has contributed to this effort.
I hope you will find value in this document and that it will give you a better overview of the activities and accomplishments of the USPTO.
Posted at 9:19 AM on January 11, 2022 in USPTO |