The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in 2011. (Alex Brandon/Associated Press)

Recently the Government Accountability Office called on the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to further improve the quality of issued patents [“Patent office gets flak as lawsuits fly,” PowerPost, July 21]. Quality is a top priority for the USPTO. That’s why I launched the Enhanced Patent Quality Initiative, one of the most comprehensive efforts in recent memory.  

This multifaceted initiative builds on past efforts and includes almost a dozen plans aimed at improving the accuracy, clarity and consistency of patents we issue as well as how we measure patent quality.

We constantly strive to issue the highest-quality patents possible amid continuing changes in technology and law. Our highly skilled employees know that doing a good job ensures that innovators and the public have certainty in the boundary of issued patent rights. Certainty, accuracy, clarity and consistency of patent rights promote efficient investment in research and development, resulting in even greater innovation.

The GAO was right that the importance of issuing high-quality patents cannot be understated, noting intellectual property contributes $5 trillion a year to our economy and supports 40 million jobs. That’s why we are committed to further improving patent quality.

Michelle K. Lee, Alexandria

The writer is director of
the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.