The U.S. Department of Commerce Office of Inspector General (IG) has issued a report after receiving anonymous whistleblower complaints alleging that certain U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) employees were being paid for not working. According to the IG’s investigation, “substantial, pervasive waste” at USPTO’s Patent Trial and Appeal Board “endured for more than four years and resulted in the misuse of federal resources totaling at least $5.09 million.” Apparently, a number of paralegal specialists were hired in early 2009 to address a growing backlog of appeals, but because only one judge was hired before a hiring freeze was instituted, many of the paralegals had “insufficient work to fill a full-time work schedule” and, working from home, filled their time instead with personal activities such as surfing the Internet, doing laundry, reading books, and shopping online. The report indicates that the employees’ managers were aware of the waste and even rewarded these paralegals with performance bonuses. Among other matters, the IG recommends better oversight, “clearer telework rules” and training.