Comment periods are ending soon for the following proposed rules:
• The Patent and Trademark Office within the Department of Commerce published a notice of proposed rulemaking that would replace the current “professional responsibility rules” for the office, adopted in 1985 and based on a 1980 model code of the American Bar Association, with the American Bar Association’s rules for professional conduct updated in 2011. The more recent version lays out specific ethical and legal provisions for attorneys and staff. Comments on the proposal are due by Dec. 17.
• The International Trade Administration within the Department of Commerce has issued a rule that would extend the agency’s ability to track steel imports with the Steel Import Monitoring and Analysis (SIMA) System, which is set to expire in March 2013. Aside from giving the agency the ability to track imports, it “provides the public with greater knowledge to evaluate current market conditions,” according to the agency. It proposes some modifications and an extension of the program to March 2017. Comments are due by Dec. 13.
• The Federal Railroad Administration within the Department of Transportation issued a notice of proposed rulemaking that would require railroads to send information about highway-rail crossings and pathway crossings to the Department of Transportation. The amendment, which according to the regulation is required by the Rail Safety Improvement Act, would require the account of new and unreported “public and private highway-rail crossings and pathway crossings,” which include areas where public roads and railway tracks intersect. The agency says this will improve safety and the “potential benefits from the proposal would likely equal or exceed total costs.” Comments are due by Dec. 17.