Patent Office's Contract Renegotiation Behind Schedule
IMTEC-87-35: Published: Jul 31, 1987. Publicly Released: Oct 1, 1987.
In response to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the status of the efforts of the Department of Commerce's Patent and Trademark Office to renegotiate the current contract for the development and deployment of its automated patent system.
GAO found that: (1) an agreement between Commerce and the contractor to renegotiate included specific provisions and a two-phase timetable to complete the negotiation process; (2) the first phase modifications included a detailed statement of work that specified deliverables and delivery dates for work from December 1, 1986 through October 16, 1987, while the second phase will cover all work from that date to contract completion; (3) Commerce intends to negotiate for a reduction in the total contract length from 18 to 8 years, then readvertise for system maintenance after the second phase is completed; (4) renegotiation efforts are behind schedule because of the time involved to prepare the detailed statement of work; (5) weaknesses in the contractor's internal systems and procedures may affect the renegotiation process if the second-phase proposal has deficiencies similar to those in the original contract; and (6) Commerce officials do not believe that they can meet the October 1987 deadline, since several steps remain until contract modifications are complete.