Trademark ADP System:

Patent Office Should Analyze Alternatives Before Contract Award

IMTEC-87-44: Published: Aug 27, 1987. Publicly Released: Oct 1, 1987.

Additional Materials:


Howard G. Rhile, Jr
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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the need and justification for the Department of Commerce's Patent and Trademark Office's (PTO) procurement of replacement hardware and software for its automated trademark system.

GAO found that: (1) PTO did not compare alternatives before deciding to continue with its revised procurement strategy of relieving immediate capacity problems only; (2) computer response times and availability were not the cause of work-load backlogs; (3) PTO did not take action such as work-load levelling to improve response time; (4) PTO lacks an adequate computer capacity management program; and (5) the system's short-term disk storage capacity was sufficient for another year.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: PTO performed the analysis of alternatives and their related costs in compliance with regulations and this recommendation. The contract was awarded after completion of this formal analysis of alternatives by PTO and review by Commerce's Office of Inspector General.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Commerce should require the Commissioner of Patents and Trademarks to properly analyze the PTO alternatives and their related costs to determine the best solution for meeting the PTO computer capacity problems before awarding a contract.

    Agency Affected: Department of Commerce

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Staffing activities for a configuration and capacity management program are underway. The Mitre Corporation is installing a performance and capacity management system for PTO.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Commerce should require the Commissioner of Patents and Trademarks to establish a computer capacity planning and performance management program to better ensure efficient and effective use of PTO automatic data processing resources and to help avoid future performance problems such as those experienced with the Burroughs-7700 computer system.

    Agency Affected: Department of Commerce


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