USPTO Seeks Public Input Regarding Cybersecurity


The facts are alarming: the cybersecurity threat to the U.S. – and the world – is real and growing. The Economist Magazine reported early this year that one security firm estimated that cybercrime costs the world $113 billion per year and affects 378 million people, while a research institute estimated that malicious cyber-attacks in 2012 cost U.S. companies $277 for each customer’s or user’s account put at risk.

To combat the threat, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) and National Institute of Standards and Technology (“NIST”) have teamed up to explore viable cybersecurity solutions and are asking for help from the public.

NIST’s Request for Information is accessible at: The 45-day comment period ends October 10, 2014. All RFI responses should be submitted to and will be posted on NIST’s website.

Background Information

In 2013, the Framework for Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity call to action was introduced by President Obama in Executive Order (13636). The Department of Commerce is playing a crucial role to establish the framework and connect the government’s efforts to the business community. U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker said “The Obama administration and Commerce Department are committed to continue supporting this framework to ensure it keeps up with evolving cyber threats and the needs of American businesses.”

In response to the Executive Order, NIST developed Cybersecurity Framework Version 1.0, which includes standards, guidelines, and practices that organizations of all types can use to create, guide, assess or improve cybersecurity programs. NIST has recently issued a Request for Information to gain an understanding of organizations’ awareness of and experiences with version 1.0 of the Framework.

Upcoming Initiatives

Moving forward, the USPTO is pursuing initiatives to work with stakeholders to find ways new cybersecurity technology can be quickly moved into the marketplace and ensure patents related to the technology are of the highest quality.

The initiatives include:

  • Hosting a Cybersecurity Partnership Customer meeting on November 14, 2014 to discuss topics related to cybersecurity. Meeting participants will be invited to share ideas on what activities the USPTO should initiate or expand.
  • Hosting a roundtable discussion with cyber startups later in 2015 to increase awareness of the importance of protecting intellectual property (“IP”) and to promote the USPTO’s application programs. Participants will be encouraged to share information about hurdles or issues startups face when trying to implement an IP strategy – and how the USPTO can help them.
  • Working with industry experts to further expand training opportunities for patent examiners on cybersecurity standards and emerging technologies. The USPTO welcomes partnering on training with innovators in cybersecurity and network security from private industry, academia and other government organizations. Leaders in this important sector are encouraged to volunteer and share their expertise by applying through the USPTO’s Patent Examiner Technical Training Program.

Practice Tip #1
: The national and economic security of the United States depends on the reliable functioning of critical infrastructure, which has become increasingly dependent on information technology. Recent cyber attacks and publicized weaknesses reinforce the need for improved capabilities for defending against malicious cyber activity. This will be a long-term challenge.

Practice Tip #2: More information on the November 14 meeting will be forthcoming on the USPTO’s Initiatives & Events webpage within a month.

Practice Tip #3: For more information on the initiatives, you may also contact the USPTO at

Contact Information