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GCN : May 2014
[BrieFing] The U.S. Patent and Trademark Of ce is lining up sources of IT services to meet the storage, engineering and virtualiza- tion demands from a huge upsurge in the number of patent applications it antici- pates will be led in the next three years. USPTO projects that it will be on the receiving end of more than 692,000 patent applications and 517,000 trade- mark applications annually by 2017, according to procurement documents. That marks a sharp increase from the 445,613 patent applications and 354,775 trademark applications the agency catalogued in 2006. Amid the rising tide of applications, the agency plans to hire 1,200 addi- tional patent examiners each year over the next ve years to reduce the time it takes to review an application. The new hires will place USPTO's systems and networks under additional stress, according to the agency. The agency's 2010-2015 strategic plan sets the context for the current struggle, noting that patent and trademark ling has increased signi cantly over the last decade. The upsurge "has resulted in increased demand for USPTO services," the agency said, and "put considerable strain on the USPTO's workforce, work- loads, information technology infrastruc- ture and management --- all of which jeopardizes the USPTO's ability to review and issue timely, high-quality patents and trademarks." On top of that, the federal budget environment complicates matters. The USPTO's Performance and Account- ability Report, published in November 2013, noted that the "sequestration experienced in FY 2013 impacted many IT improvements." Nevertheless, USPTO last month issued three awards for assorted IT services under its Infrastructure, Design, Engineering, Architecture, and Integra- tion (IDEAI-2) set-aside program for small businesses. The agency selected AEEC, eGlobalTech and Octo Consult- ing Group for IDEAI-2, which altogether could be worth more than $100 million. And earlier this month, USPTO also awarded a full-and-open IDEAI-2 com- panion contract to General Dynamics Information Technology. The contract has a ceiling of $50.85 million. Meanwhile, USPTO will be able to tap several other programs as it updates IT systems to keep up with the applica- tion volume. Beyond IDEAI-2, contracts include technical advisory services blanket purchase agreements (BPAs) and the Software Development and Integration --- Next Generation (SDI-NG) multiple-award contract, which was awarded in 2011. Under its BPA, Octo has been helping USPTO's Patent Trial and Appeal Board with business architecture, said Octo's Shah. The objective is to streamline paper-intensive legal processes. Overall, USPTO is looking for a higher level of automation as it anticipates an increasing workload. That shows few signs of abating in the coming years, but there's at least one upside to the volume of applications. An uptick in patent and trademark applications points to a healthier economy as inven- tors seek to protect their intellectual property. "It is actually a promising sign that they have this massive backlog," said Jay Shah, executive vice president at Octo. • BY JOHN MOORE 6 GCN MAY 2014 • GCN.COM USPTO preps for rising tide of patent applications Tasks to be awarded under IDEAI-2 cover a range of IT services, including, LAN/WAN networking, wireless technol- ogy, Voice over IP systems, virtualiza- tion and storage area networks (SANs), according to USPTO's statement of work. Network engineering, security engineering, public key infrastructure, unified communications engineering and video engineering services will also be sought, according to FedBizOpps. Under contract, Octo Consulting Group will provide system design and engineering for patent and trademark application processing and examina- tion, according to the company. It will also offer services that support USPTO's management and administra- tive systems for disseminating patent and trademark information to the public. In addition to IT service management, storage architecture is expected to be a key requirement for USPTO under IDEAI-2. Storage is critical for the agen- cy given the number of applications and supporting imagery it must manage. "As the number of patent applications grows ... storage is really going to be the life blood" of the IT infrastructure USPTO provides, said Jay Shah, execu- tive vice president at Octo. What's in the big IDEAI-2 contract